Creating your project’s identity: What’s in a name?
For my last CHI blog pre-project launch post for April, I want to include a short discussion of the thought process and decision making that goes into creating a title for a digital project. It has been the part of my project that I’ve been sitting on for the longest time, deliberating between different titles that would best capture the attention of a wider audience and reflect the overall premise of my project. In the end, I decided to go for both catchiness (at least, in my perspective) and connection to the overall basis of the project and the narrative of the website design, both of which are based upon my use of and exploration of Norwegian literature for national identity markers. Therefore, borrowing from the sometimes-wordy, yet descriptive and fun, titles of Norwegian folktales, I decided upon a title that reflects my personal quests for exploring Norwegian literature while also explaining (in a subtitle) the purpose of the project. Stay tuned for next week for the project launch and you’ll see what it is!
But this garners a larger discussion, for this project and future projects, regarding the process of choosing a title for a digital project, or any project that matter, that embodies the essence of your work while also maintaining uniqueness and that ever-present axiom of the hook. But especially in the digital world, digital projects need these tenets in their titles to intermingle and flow together in order to find a unique place in the continuously growing sea of websites, find their place within web searches, and accentuate their web presence (and get that traffic), yet also be simple enough to fit into a short URL. So how does one go about this process of finding a title that fits these criteria? I did a bit of searching and I want to compile a couple tips that I used for figuring out what may be one of the hardest parts of a digital project – coming up with a title.
One point includes keeping it simple and easy to say, yet memorable. Now, I’ll admit, my currently is a bit verbose and there is a reason for that (harkening to the long titles of some Norwegian folklore titles), but it is simple enough in the word choice and the familiarity of the word choice to be easy to remember. It should also be something you can easily translate into a URL; in my case, I was able to create an acronym from the title to make it a simple URL. So – easy to pronounce and make into a URL, but also something memorable.
The second thing to consider seems obvious, but don’t forget to Google the name and make sure someone else doesn’t have it! I actually made the mistake of coming up with this really clever and simple title that I absolutely fell in love with – and then I Googled it, only to find the name, a play on the word natur, was taken by a Finnish company. I was so disappointed. So – come up with that first idea and check it first to make sure it isn’t taken. It also will help to avoid possible copyright or trademark issues down the road.
So of course you have these guidelines, but what if you are just stuck on coming up with a name in the first place? Here are a few resources from the worlds of marketing, digital technology and music, gaming, and programming to get those creative gears going if you need a little boost in coming up with the perfect title for your digital project: