Rules of pronunciation, sound and words combination in naming


The phonetics, sound and the rules of words combination in brand naming are very important aspects to be taken into consideration when we are creating a new name. The sound and audibility of a brand name can affect you in the following ways:

  • The name can sound similar with other brand names even if it’s not written in the same way.
  • The sound of a name can create negative connotations and confusions for your target audience
  • Respecting a certain guidance about phonetics, sound and words combination can help you to create a distinctive and unique brand name

In this following article we will present you the most important rules you should study before starting to create a brand name:

  1. The sound of your name

The sound of a brand name is not the most important naming criteria, but still represents a very important one in order to make the name “likeable” by your target audience. Besides the likeability factor, it’s mandatory to avoid confusions or negative sound connotations. You should take into consideration the following phonetics rules which are applied in most of the languages (but not in all of them):

  • Some letters may be easily confused with others inside of a naming construction. Examples: “M” can be confused with “N”, “R” with “L”, “D” with “T”, “B” with “P” and “S” with “Z”.
  • There are some letter combinations which can be tricky or misspelled. Like: “S” with “C” when is followed by “E”, “I” or “Y”, “K” and “C” with “QUE”.
  • If your brand name represents an oronym, determine if the constructions has a positive meaning despite the pronunciation alternative. Example: The most known English oronym example is “Ice Cream” versus “I Scream”.
  1. Audibility or visuality?

Tough decision. The best is to have them both. A name which has an incredible powerful sound implemented in a wonderful eye-catching visual way. But if you would have to choose between them, what’s the best solution?

A brand name like Exxon may be visually striking but not necessary audibly distinctive as Pepsi, Reebok, Coke or Nike.

As a hint from us: Double “X” letter in the middle of a word makes the word incredibly powerful as a visual mark. From the sounding point of view, it does not have any impact if we have one “x” or double “x”.

Instead, long vowel sounds tend to be a lot more ear-catching than short ones. Examples:

  • Google or Goggle?
  • Reebook or Rebbok?
  • Jeep or Jepp?
  • Häagen-Dazs or Haggen-Dazs?

Also, lesser-used consonant sounds may be more audible distinctive. Examples: “Y” in “Yahoo” and “Yamaha”, “SM” in “Smirnoff”, “PR” in “Prada”, “TW” in “Twix”.

  1. What means “easy to pronounce”?

Pronunciation is one of the most important naming criteria taken into consideration by us as naming specialists. But what it really means to create a name easy to be pronounced across many languages?

There are some basic rules like:

  • Do not cluster in the same part of a word a higher number than three consonants because the word gets too difficult to be pronounced and in some specific languages it may not be pronounced correctly at all. Examples? Grolsch, Deutsche-Bank, Schwarzkopf, IWC Schaffhausen.
  • Some brand names may have a wonderful sound and an astonishing visual appearance but are very difficult to pronounce due to the length of the entire construction. Examples: Yves Saint Laurent, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Salvatore Ferragamo.
  • There are letters difficult to pronounce if they are followed by certain other letters. Examples: “B” followed by “R”, as in “Umbro”. Clustering “L”, “T” and “R” like in “Jaeger-LeCoultre”. “L” after “T” as in “Breitling”. The usual pronunciation instinct is to cut the second letter when you spell the entire word.
  • In two-words brand names, it’s difficult to pronounce the entire name if the second word starts like the end of the first word or if it’s quite similar. Examples: Baume & Mercier, Piggly Wiggly, Harmon Kardon.


  1. Best letter to start and finish

In English, some letters are pronounced pretty the same. Like “I” and “Y”, “C” and “K” and “C” and “Q” in some cases. How to choose the best letter to start and to finish a brand name?

Let’s see some examples in order to better understand:

  • Kodak versus Codac

Starting or finishing a word with “k” instead of “c” gives to the brand name a boost of strength and it’s making the name to look more original and distinctive from the visual point of view.

  • Sony versus Soni

Sony is a name which already has a “playful” sound. The “y” gives a note of power and uniqueness.

  • Prozac versus Prozac

Starting the brand name with “Pr” already makes the name to sound very powerful. The naming construction had to be balanced by finishing the word with “c” not with “k”. If “k” would have been the final choice, the name would have been too tough for a calming medicine.

  • Kraft versus Craft

An obvious connotation problem and a trademark registration difficult situation.

  1. Word order

The rule is quite simple. For obtaining a better rhythm, sound and dominance, if you have a name consisting of two words, the longer word comes first.


  • Audemars Piguet
  • Mercedes Benz
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Goldman Sachs

The rule may change if we have “&” between the words.


  • Marks & Spencers
  • Smith & Williamson
  1. Words division

When a brand name consists of two words, you have two major choices to make: Combining them into the same word or separating them.

The combined one-word name may be more difficult to read, but if this combination is not a well-known word, it has the capacity to become more powerful and distinctive as a brand name. Also, it may be easier to register it as a trademark. The one-word combination form is less descriptive than the two-words separated combination and becomes more original and unique.


Palmolive versus Palm Olive

Facebook versus Face Book

Goodyear versus Good Year

Another interesting naming construction to be taken into consideration is the one-word combination with the second component capitalized as: BlackBerry instead of Blackberry and MasterCard versus Mastercard.

Phonetics, sound, word order, pronunciation are fascinating if you learn to use their rules wisely. The greatest brand names have almost a perfect equilibrium between these rules. If you need help to apply them to your brand name creation, we are here for you. Just write us.

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