Brand Design


Navigating the creative and legal process of finding a unique moniker for your brand.

What is naming?

Brand naming is the process of choosing a name for your new or evolved business. In a world saturated by businesses it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a unique moniker, so it’s imperative you engage a professional to ensure you choose a name that is not just suitable for your brand, but one that is also available. Not just as a Trademark, but as a URL and a consistent username.

Frequently asked questions

What do you need to consider when naming your business?

When choosing a name for your business there are multiple things to consider. If you’re not going with something literal e.g. Joe’s Plumbing — is a tagline needed to make it clear what it is you do? Picking names based on trends and memes should be avoided as they will quickly date.

How does it sound & how does it look?

When considering naming options, think about how it will sound when said out loud. You will find yourself saying where you’re from when meeting people and over the phone often so this is an important step not to overlook. Does the word have any special pronunciation? Is it confusing the first time you hear it? Avoid ‘clever’ spelling or adding numbers in place of letters as inevitably it will be spelt wrong leading to lost emails and missed site visits.

Do I need to consider social media?

Inconsistent usernames across platforms is a big no-no. You never want your customers to be inadvertently tagging the competition or missing out on priceless referrals because your Facebook and your Instagram tags are not consistent. Utilise a service like NameChk to see what’s available then register to your heart’s content. Don’t just get what need now but as many platforms as possible. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are three that you will non-negotiably want to be consistent. If your full brand name isn’t available consider adding a one word description which will also help with SEO e.g. ‘building’, ‘flowers’, ‘design.’

What do I need to consider when picking a domain?

Similar to inconsistent usernames, a clear domain is a key element to your businesses success, and in this instance, the more the better. If .com and are both available — get them. Talk to us about the language you are using to ensure it is clear and consistent with your branding (matching your usernames is even better). Avoid hard to remember anagrams or long winded domains that won’t fit on a business card. You can purchase a domain from a variety of platforms, we recommend Newcastle based Webolution. When purchasing, there’s no need to purchase hosting at the same time, that can wait until your website is ready to launch.

Do I need a Trademark?

We’ll complete searches both nationally and internationally to see if you’re likely to find any roadblocks from existing businesses. IP Australia is a fantastic tool to get your head around some key terms and once you’ve found your name, getting the application process underway. Just note, Trademarking can take time so prepare for a waiting period. You can also choose to trademark just your name, or your logo as well — if you’re not sure call IP Australia to guide you through the steps.

What if someone else is already using my name?

Before settling on a name it’s worth spending some time on Google to see who else is using it. Not all businesses take the time to register — this can apply to blogs, political movements, campaigns and promotions. Are you comfortable being associated with what you find? A lot of these results will be temporary but still need to be considered.

Do I need to register my name?

Who you need to register your business with is determined by your country and where the business will operate. In Australia, that is the Australian Business Register where you can register a business or company.

Our naming process

1. Discovery

We begin by asking the right questions, getting a good understanding of your business inside and out.

2. Positioning

From here we distil down our learnings to determine your position in the market place.

3. Peer Analysis

We take the time to understand who your peers are in the space and identifying strong 
and weak names.

4. Conceptual Development

We draw on information gathered to develop raw concepts; developing three name concepts; and undertaking intellectual property searches

5. Concept Delivery

Delivery will include three name concepts, each with a short tag-line, and a name strength scorecard that demonstrates the relative strengths of each.

6. Feedback & Refinement

Refinement of a single concept, or development of two further names based on review and feedback.

About Shorthand

A design studio

Shorthand is a design studio based in Newcastle, Australia. We blend expertise in brand, digital and graphic design to help businesses define and communicate their brands to their audience. Our name, taken from the classic writing-system of abbreviation using symbols represents the fundamentals of our work – distilling down the essence of a brand and expressing it visually.

Shorthand was founded in 2014 by Amanda and Scott Kirkman. After spending several years working at top creative agencies in Melbourne, the pair brought their unique experience back home to Newcastle. We are a design studio – not an agency. We don’t have account managers or a sales team, so you know you will be working directly with us. Shorthand was started the intent of staying small, favouring quality over quantity. Today we still stick by that ethos, partnering with brands both small and large from Newcastle to Sydney, Melbourne to San Francisco.

Interested in partnering with us on your next project? Let’s talk!

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