Descriptive. Suggestive. Metaphorical. Invented. Choosing the best naming type


When you start a new naming project, there are a lot of name types where to choose from. But four of them are the most used and known options. From this article you will discover more about each of these types. Besides the differences between them, we will share with you some important information like:

  • When to choose any of these naming solutions
  • Which are the characteristics of each of these name types
  • Strengths and weaknesses for each of them
  1. Descriptive names

They directly identify the origin and meaning of the product or service without making use of the client’s imagination. When somebody simply hears the brand name, he just knows what’s behind the brand, which is the product and the utility of it in his life. Hearing a descriptive name, a person can already know if he needs the product or if it’s beyond his interest area. Examples?  

  • Toys “R” Us
  • General Motors,
  • Whole Foods
  • Pizza Hut

Descriptive names are functional and have the ability of offering a fast positioning of the brand.


They tend to be flat and unremarkable. They have no room for creativity or for stimulating the inspiration and imagination of its target audience. Descriptive names are also very difficult to register as trademarks due to their nature of relying on common words which are already used in different trademarked naming constructions on the same registration class.

We recommend descriptive names especially for technological products which have as main target audience engineers or very specialized technical persons.

  1. Suggestive names

They are indicating a quality or functionality of the product, but you must use your imagination to make the final connection with what the product really does. Suggestive name can function as an analogy, or an association. They stimulate the creativity of the target audience, but they are also working to position the brand from the simple hearing point of the name.


  • Airbus
  • Twitter
  • Buffer
  • Pinterest
  • Netflix

For sure, suggestive names are the most popular option over the world. They have two important characteristics which make them a proper option for almost any product: they are in the same time original and functional. You have the chance to position your brand by making your potential customers to understand what you are doing, but also you have the opportunity to distinguish your product in the competition pool.

  1. Metaphorical names

They are usually existent words with common meanings but are applied to products or services unrelated with the common meaning. Metaphorical names are unique, creative and have the power of becoming a strong differentiator on the market. Being multidimensional, it means that they are forcing the imagination of the audience for finding the true meaning of the brand, or even making the audience to believe that the meaning of the brand is bigger and deeper than it seems at the first look. Because of their originality and creativity, metaphorical names are a lot easier to register as a trademark than descriptive names.


  • Amazon
  • Blackberry
  • Apple
  • Nike

A metaphorical name is like an empty spot. You can fill it with anything. It can mean a lot, anything or…nothing. The biggest challenge is to make your target audience to give to the brand the meaning which you have chosen for it. Investing in this type of education and promotion can cost you a lot in terms of finance. It may be the next jackpot or it may be the next bullet in the budget of your company.

Metaphorical names fit very well with innovative and new products.

  1. Invented names

Invented names are made-up words which have no meaning other than serving as a trademark. When you don’t find the perfect existent word, the best solution is to invent one! Invented names are highly distinctive, original and unique. These types of brand names are the most creative option for a new product. In 90% of the cases, it’s available for trademark registration which is really great. Also a very important advantage is the following: In most of the cases, you can find a perfect match .com web domain. So if your business is mostly based online, maybe an invented name is the perfect solution for you.


  • Kodak
  • Accenture
  • Exxon
  • Viagra

When can you choose an invented name? When you have a leader position on your market, and everybody knows what you do. Or when you are a pioneer in your field, and you are in the trend-setter position.

Disadvantages? People are unable to associate the new name with your product and with the field the product is belonging to. That it’s why you must invest a lot of money in promoting the name in order to be associated with the new product. In some cases, you must also invest in radio and video commercials to teach your customers to pronounce correctly the brand name.

One of the most dangerous traps when it comes about invented names is how to avoid the “pharmaceutical sound”. In pharma industry, invented names are the basic rule. In many cases, many invented names have the sound of a new medicine.

As we have told you in the introduction of this article, there are many other types of names like: Acronyms, founder’s name, geographical related names and many others. Still, the four presented types are the most common and suitable to use in a naming project.

Trying to understand them, when to apply each of them will give you the creativity power. We may help you too. If you have a naming project in mind and you want to discuss about it, drop us a line.

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