In evaluating possible company names I have come up with the following criteria which I used to choose a name for our new game engine.
Spelling and Pronunciation
The name should be unambiguous in spelling. This helps promote word-of-mouth promotion because when someone hears the name for the first time, they can easily find it online. Similarly, the name when read should be unambiguous in pronunciation. This helps the name travel from written to spoken word and back. Can you imagine telling someone else the name of this...establishment...and having them successfully type the name into a web browser?:
Shorter is Better
Everything else aside, fewer letters is generally better. Here is a very long company name:
And here is perhaps the shortest software company name in history. Which do you think is better?
The Name Should "Pop"
A good company or product name will use hard consonants like B, T, K, X, and avoid soft sounding letters like S and F. The way a name sounds can actually influence perception of the brand, aside from the name meaning. The name "Elysium", besides being hard to pronounce and spell, is full of soft consonants that sound weak.
"Blade Runner", on the other hand, starts with a hard B sound and it just sounds good.
The name should communicate the nature of the product or company. The name "Uber" doesn't mean anything except "better", which is why the company Uber originally launched as UberCab. Once they got to a certain size it was okay to drop the "cab" suffix, but do you remember the first time you heard of them? You probably thought "what the heck is an Uber?"
The Leadwerks Brand
So according to our criteria above, the name Leadwerks satisfies the following conditions:
- The name "pops" and sounds cool.
- It's not too long.
But here's where it falls short:
- Ambiguity in spelling (Leadworks?)
- Ambiguity in pronunciation. Leadwerks is pronounced like Led Zeppelin, but many people read it as "Leed-works".
- The name doesn't mean anything, even if it sounds cool. It's just a made-up word.
These are the reasons I started thinking about naming the new engine something different.
New Engine, New Name
So with this in mind, I set out to find a new name for the new coming engine. I was stumped until I realized that there are only so many words in the English language, and any good name you come up will invariably have been used previously in some other context, hopefully in another industry or product type. Realizing this gave me more leeway, as I did not have to come up with something completely unique the world has never heard before.
Our early benchmarks indicate the new engine is a performance monster, with incredible results I did not even dream were possible. Together with the rapid development pipeline of Leadwerks, I knew I wanted to focus on speed. Finally, there was one name I kept coming back to for weeks on end. I was able to obtain a suitable domain name. I am now filing a trademark for use of this name, which requires that I begin using it commercially, which is why I am now revealing the name for the first time...
How does this name stack up?:
- Unambiguous spelling and pronunciation.
- It's short.
- The name "pops".
- It communicates the defining feature of the product.
Now think about our goals for the new engine's name. Will people have any trouble remembering this name? Is there any ambiguity about what the product stands for, and the promise it makes? If two developers are at a Meetup group and one of them says "I made this with Turbo" is there any doubt what the promise of this product is, i.e. massive performance?
The name even works on a subconscious level. Anyone having trouble with their game performance (in other slow engines that aren't Turbo) will naturally wonder how fast it could be running in ours.
The fact that the name has a positive emotional response for many people and a strong connection to the game industry is a plus.
Turbo Game Engine is an unambiguous brand name that takes a stand and makes a clear promise of one thing: speed, which is incredibly important in the days of VR and 240 hz screens.