Catchword’s Naming Manual – Part 1 of 10

By Laurel Sutton

October 10, 2008

Here’s another excerpt from our handy dandy naming manual – it’s like a car manual, only about naming! We’ll be posting 10 different sections on a weekly basis, so please come back every Friday for more. If you like what you see, please download a copy of your very own, or write to us and we’ll mail you a paper copy (it has a glossy cover!).


The Construction is the body of your brand name, the shape it takes during manufacturing, including length and ease of pronunciation. While not quite as fortunate as our design brethren, name developers do have several Constructions to work with, including the real-word (e.g., Legend), the coined word (e.g., Camry), the composite word (e.g., Land Cruiser), and even alpha-numerics (e.g., A6). Domestic namers may also consider the non-English word a recognized construction (e.g., Paseo).

Not all brand names come equipped with a Metaphor, but many of the best vehicles possess one. The Metaphor is a symbolic representation of the Messaging, and it can be a real head-turner. It’s not always engineered into the vehicle because it does require a little more thought and naming expertise, but names equipped with Metaphor are often the most sophisticated and sturdy names on the road. Just some examples of names that come equipped with Metaphor are the Ford Mustang, the Honda Prelude, and the Chevy Corvette.

The core idea or ideas communicated by your name. Not to be confused with the Metaphor (available on select models), the Messaging is usually the most important concept that your brand name conveys. Fast, Comfortable, Luxurious, Adventurous, Environmentally-Friendly, Quiet. These are all examples of Messaging communicated by numerous car brand names. Some brand names come equipped with very overt Messaging, such as the Toyota Comfort (interestingly, 90% of all taxis in Hong Kong are Toyota Comforts) while others boast more suggestive Messaging, such as the Honda Passport. Still others come standard with more abstract Messaging, such as the Volkswagen Touareg.

Next week: How to Change A Flat Name

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