How to Create a Memorable Brand Name with Milanote

Follow this step-by-step guide to learn the modern process of naming a brand in Milanote, a free tool used by top creatives.

How to create a brand name in 6 easy steps

Creating a brand name from scratch can feel like a daunting task. You're required to pick one or two words that perfectly represent a company and appeal to its target audience. No pressure!

Luckily, there's a process that brand strategists use to come up with unique, creative names. Whether you're naming a company or a new product line, the steps involved are the same.

In this guide you're learn how to brainstorm and evaluate names that connect with your target audience and help your brand stand out from the competition.

1. Write a simple brief

Every brainstorming exercise benefits from a brief. And brand naming is no different. Start by describing what the name should convey or represent. This will serve as a handy reference as you're generating ideas.

Try to be descriptive without suggesting solutions (that part comes later). Include links to the target audience, your competitive landscape, brand personality and any other research that will help and inspire you.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Create a new board for your brand naming exercise.

    Create a new board

    Drag a board out from the toolbar. Give it a name, then double click to open it.

  2. Choose the Brand Naming Template

    Choose a template

    Each new board gives you the option to start with a beautiful template.

2. Create a framework for generating ideas

Generating name ideas is hard work, especially if you're staring at a blank page waiting for inspiration to strike. But using a simple framework can help kick-start the creative process, or at least serve as a handy thought-starter.

Begin by creating a few categories or themes to explore. Here's a list of the common types of brand names you can use as a starting point:

  • Combined words (or portmanteau): Two words blended. E.g. Dropbox or PayPal
  • Descriptive names: Describe the product or service. E.g. Trip Advisor or Toys R Us
  • Invented names: For when there's not a suitable existing word. E.g. Pixar or Google
  • Themes: Words that represent the category or aspirations of a company. E.g. Nike (The greek goddess of Victory), or Tesla (after Nikola Tesla, the electrical engineer/inventor)
How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a Column for each Category of name ideas

    Drag a column onto your board

    Name it, then drag any relevant notes, images or boards into your column to stay organized.

3. Invite others to collaborate

Next, invite others to brainstorm with you. If you're in a team, you might invite other designers or your client. Often, it's the mix of perspectives that leads to unique ideas.

Brainstorming online means they can contribute from anywhere. It helps to send access to the board ahead of time so everyone can become familiar with it before you start.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Invite others to brainstorm with you.

    Invite editors to your board

    Open the "Share" menu from the title bar of your board. Add email addresses of the people you'd like to collaborate with—they'll receive an invitation via email.

4. Brainstorm name options

Now it's time to get creative! Start adding options for your brand name. Refer to the brief and branding research for inspiration. Build on ideas that other people have added to the board. This is where the magic of brainstorming happens.

Don't worry about evaluating your ideas yet, that will come later. Just add as many as you can. Setting a timer for 5 minutes is a great way to create a sense of urgency and prevent people from judging their ideas.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add a note for each name idea.

    Drag a note card onto your board

    Start typing then use the formatting tools in the left hand toolbar.

5. Choose a shortlist of possible names

Next, take off your creative hat and review the ideas through a critical lens. This is the perfect opportunity to ensure everything you've added ties back to your original brief. Ask each person to choose their favorite names and explain why. Be prepared to share your thinking and welcome suggestions and alternatives. Encourage constructive debate.

How to do this in Milanote
  1. Add comments and feedback.

    Start a comment thread

    Drag out a comment from the toolbar on the left and place it on your board. Other editors can reply to your comment.

  2. Mention a teammate to get their attention.

    Mention teammates to get their attention

    Type '@' in any text field to mention someone who has access to your board. They'll receive a notification and be able to respond to your comment.

Pro tip:

Try your name on for a few days. Every name sounds strange at first. It's handy to remember that all iconic brands began as just a scribbled word on a page.

6. Evaluate your chosen name

Finally, see if your name passes the test. First, the practical and legal checks. Is the ".com" available? Is your ideal name already trademarked?

Next, try saying it in a conversation. Ensure it's easy to spell and remember. Word of mouth is a powerful way to grow a brand, but an awkward name that requires spelling will limit its use. Finally, does the name answer your initial brief?

It's critical to run this evaluation before presenting the name to a client or getting others excited about it.

And you're done!

You should now have one or more strong options for a unique brand name that will stand out in your market. If you're just starting the daunting but exciting task of naming a brand, use the free template below to get started in minutes.

Start generating name ideas

Get started for free with Milanote's easy to use Brand Naming template.