Dana Martindale
Director of Strategy

Moving beyond words: Using visuals to spark creative in naming

 

As much as people like to believe they have perfect command of the English language, the truth is that words don’t always cut it. Sometimes a particular word can be so close, on the tip of your tongue, but just out of reach. Other times it’s an idea itself that can be hard to pin down in words, yet you can see it clearly in your mind.

“If you see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand.”

In our experience, visual cues are a vital catalyst for expanding creative boundaries and are a key component in helping teams create together at a conceptual level.

Concepts first, then names
It’s tempting when building and naming creatively as a team to just start throwing around potential names. Do not fall for that trap. Nine times out of ten, you’ll walk away from the meeting with nothing more than a list of sub-par words on paper.

Instead, the best way to start is by talking in concepts and metaphors first, then transitioning into thought-provoking visuals. In our experience, finding the right image can make such an impact that it propels you to that next phase so much faster than moving immediately into the names themselves.

Finding new metaphors
How do we move beyond the thesaurus to find the right metaphors? Again, this is where using images can have a big impact. Take for example, the broad concept: “possibility.” A thesaurus might give you “options” or “opportunity” – a new flavor on the word perhaps, but pretty flat-footed creatively. Compare that to an image of the night sky. That image could conjure the ideas of space, exploration, science, or astronomy. Or an image of railroad tracks, which might take you into transportation, networks, journeys, or pathways. Each image relates to the notion of “possibility,” but expands that concept in different ways. One creative territory. Two images. At least eight new concepts to explore.

Jumpstarting creative
The best part? These images spark these metaphors instantaneously. So, while we might eventually land in the same place without a visual aid, it is a much more frustrating road to get there. An image can be the shortcut past questions such as “What are things that are vast?” “Things that lead somewhere?” What’s that word for . . .?” thereby jumpstarting creativity and allowing for the quick discovery of new concepts.

So, the next time you’re searching for that perfect name, rather than diving into an endless sea of words consider starting instead with a search for that perfect inspiring image.

 

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