Insights from 30,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

How To Use Abstract Names For Your Business


Xerox, Vivo, Hulu. These names would just sound like a random jumble of sounds to many people if they were unfamiliar with the brands associated with them. These are abstract brand names, meaning they have no obvious connotations or roots and no direct association with the service or product the business is selling. Abstract brand names are rich with potential due to their originality, versatility, and clean association. 

Abstract names have become increasingly popular as names and trademarks grow limited due to more and more business names being registered. The shortage of available names presents a challenge, but also an opportunity for creativity.

There are several advantages to giving your business an abstract brand name.

+ Abstract names don’t compete for attention in your head.

Free from association, abstract brand names are clean names. When you think of Xerox, the only thing that comes to mind is information related to Xerox products. Xerox is such a powerful brand that it has become synonymous with “photocopying.”

Comparatively, if we take a look at a non-abstract name like “Craftsman,” our minds generate of a multitude of associations. We wander over images of builders, artisans, furniture makers, tools, and the sounds and sensations of wood working before finally, if at all, reaching the brand of tools called “Craftsman.” Although the associations can work to the brand’s advantage, the internal noise surrounding the word “craftsman” also has the potential to distract from the brand.

The flexibility of an abstract name creates a clean slate to build an image on. This lays out a solid foundation for a business to build on.  

+ It’s easier to find a short URL for an abstract name.

There’s no denying the power of a short URL. Easy to remember, write down, and search, a short URL bolsters your brand.

There is a growing shortage of good URLs. Many real-word URLs have already been claimed, and the ones that are available sell for tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands.

Picking a solid abstract brand name mitigates this issue because your abstract name is likely going to be unique enough that no one has claimed the URL (or at least it can be acquired at a much more reasonable price point).

Squadhelp name “Zivi” is short, snappy, and memorable. It is versatile and captures energy and playfulness, making it a strong abstract name with a short URL. 

+ Abstract names are easy to remember.

Abstract names stand out for their brevity, energy, and creativity. Once you remember a strong abstract name, they’re hard to forget.

Additionally, abstract names are free from brand associations. Sometimes classic names like “Eagle River” can be difficult to remember because the words can be confused with synonyms or the order can be flipped. Even more worrying, names like these sometimes run the risk of not standing out enough. However, a name like Xerox has a unique, engaging composition that can be heard once and remembered.

When it comes to abstract names, it is vital that it is easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and pleasant to hear. Otherwise, the name runs the risk of being forgettable, unappealing, or confusing. If the name is difficult to pronounce, people will avoid saying it altogether.

That being said, there are a few drawbacks to abstract names. Thankfully, with careful planning, most of them are avoidable.

– Your abstract name may share sounds with something negative.

In the rush of coming up with a name, sometimes you won’t catch negative aspects of a name you came up with. For example, you might decide to name your new produce store “Rotto” without realizing that some potential customers will be driven away by the cognate sound “rotten.”

To avoid this, it is always good to get outside opinions. Here at Squadhelp, we offer targeted audience testing so you can rest assured that your name is strong, memorable, and appealing.

– Abstract Brand names have no positive connotations.

Although abstract names have no negative connotations, they also have no positive ones to help built a brand story and aid in memorability.

Where classic names like “Touchstone” are strengthened by the sensation of “touch” and the weight and stability of “stone,” an abstract name must invent these connotations for itself. However, this can still be done through the use of sound and rhythm.

V, P, and Z sounds impart energy and motion. Long A sounds and S sounds instill relaxing sensations. Think about how your product or service should make your audience feel and work your way up from there.

An example of a name that uses sound well is “Vivo,” a Squadhelp name for a digital delivery platform. Vivo has a sparking energy to it that communicates speed, convenience, and liveliness.

– Abstract names have no obvious roots.

Using roots in names can lift a brand or business through positive alignment and direction. Some people falsely believe that names like “Zappos” [zapatos-Spanish for shoes and zap for speed] and “Marketo” [a tweak to the word “market”] are abstract when they are in fact what we call transmutations. Transmutations have obvious roots in real words–think of them more as abstractions of real words than abstract names themselves.

Though abstract names have no roots, they can still utilize sound connotations, as discussed above. The lack of roots creates an opportunity for creativity, and the more creative you are, the more memorable your name will be.

“Zivasa,” a Squadhelp marketplace name, is an abstract name that utilizes sound to create a memorable name. It has no obvious roots, but its subtle sound relation to the yoga pose “savasana” implies balance, peace, and flow.

Abstract brand names have almost limitless potential, providing plenty of opportunities in our world of shrinking name availability. Abstract names use creativity, brevity, and memorability to keep people engaged with your brand.

Try searching for abstract domains for sale in our Marketplace!

About the author

Meghan O'Toole
Insights from 30,000+ Naming and Branding Projects

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