How to find a name for a startup, what do dolphins and phones have in common, why lick and sniff logos, and how did Dr. Frakenstein help us.
While our engineers were actively working on the next prototypes and thinking of how to improve our device, the creative part of our team faced a serious dilemma: what to call this little magic thing?
So, we were faced with a difficult task:
1. The name must be related to water, sound or swimming.
2. The name mustn’t be taken on the Internet. If someone is googles it, our brand should appear among the first search results.
3. A .com domain must be available for it. Although this is unlikely …
4. The name should be short and easy to pronounce.
Brainstorming began. Ideas came in packs and immediately died out, not having passed even half the filters:
Zoper, Opora, Ozuzo, Luvul, Gogog, Trort, Avuc, Nool, Zuuz, Nulez…
In parallel, we generated random names and checked their availability among .com domains:
Cimeh, Pahac, Nobef, Febih, Pabih, Napih, Hetir, Bomib, Girof, Ferap, Wolug, Wavof, Woxez, Nokih…and hundreds of them, sounding very similar.
We were delighted by some of them, some made us laugh at how silly they sounded, while others baffled us. This method didn’t bring us any results. Even with an available domain such as bomib.com, it sounded irrelevant of an underwater transmitter. That’s why we decided to play the associations game: grouping words from different languages into several categories:
Sound and Technology, Water and Swimming, Training and Speech, and Marine creatures that use biolocation for underwater communication.
And now, by combining two words from different categories, we create new Frankenstein words:
Aqwox = Water + Voice
Voxshell = Voice + Shell (similar appearance)
Inowater = In Water + Innovator
Aseastent = Sea + Assistant
Seagnall = Sea + Signal
Beluho = Beluga + Ear (ru)
Coachalot = Coach + Cachalot
Dolphone = Dolphin + Phone
Swonar = Swim + Sonar
Whalkie = Walkie Talkie + Whale
Interwhale = Intervals + Whale
Amphiber = Amphibian
Whalena = Whale (en) + Balena (ro)
After a survey with our American friends, we picked 5 names: Aqwox, Amphiber, Balena, Whalke and Swonar, and we started to taste them to understand which one is more promising.
All names that have been chosen were unique for the boundlessness of the Internet but were unpleasant by ear and hard to pronounce to native speakers (this was proven after a survey of 200 Americans).
In the end we decided that Swonar captures the attention. The combination of Swim and Sonar seemed quite logical to describe our device. But the word sounded weird to English speakers, so we decided to reduce it to Sonar.
We had to figure out what to do with the originality. Sonar is a very popular word on Internet and since brevity is the soul of wit, we reduced the name to Sonr. The beauty of it is that the word Sonar without the letter “a” is read the same way as with it. Voila!
We register the www.sonr.pro domain and a trademark in the USA.
The boat is ready to set sail. All hands on deck. Sway the sail, ahead full speed!
Next step after naming comes the logo. It will be everywhere – from the device case to the presentations for investors.
So, we are looking for a concise readable image that can be associated with water, sound or bioacoustics.
We generate dozens of logos, smell them, lick and touch them.
We strain the remnants of exhausted brains and find that unique shape, meant to bring together the essence of our underwater sound receiver.
Excellent. Nothing in excess.