Catchword co-founder Laurel Sutton to judge newest category for London International Awards



Catchword’s own Laurel Sutton has been tapped to serve on the first-ever Verbal Identity jury for the prestigious London International Awards (LIA) to begin next week in Las Vegas. She will be the first full-time professional namer at LIA.

LIA invites “the most talented, recognized, and awarded individuals from within their respective fields” to serve on its juries. With her background in linguistics, branding, and naming, Laurel will be a significant addition to the Verbal Identity jury, which includes branding experts from Verbal Identity Ltd. (London), Panic (London), CBX (New York), Eat Creative (Tokyo), and the Wall Street Journal.

“Laurel is one of the foremost namers on the planet, with more than two decades’ experience as a naming-firm principal, name strategist, and linguist,” said Catchword co-founder and Executive Creative Director Maria Cypher. “We are thrilled that she will share her wealth of verbal branding insights on this debut panel.”

LIA (formerly known as London International Advertising Awards), now in its 31st year,  is a worldwide award honoring excellence in Advertising, Digital, Production, Design, Music & Sound, and Technology. This year marks the first time Verbal Identity will be treated as a medium, with its own jury. In addition to Naming, categories include Campaign Tagline/Endline, Tone of Voice, and Use of Copywriting.

“LIA’s promotion of Verbal Identity to a medium is a ground-breaking move for the branding business,” Laurel explained. “Verbal Identity — especially naming — is an often-overlooked part of branding. Namers don’t even have a professional association, like the AIGA for design. There is an academic organization, the American Name Society, of which I’m a member, but nothing for people in the industry.”

LIA juries consist of 6-11 members who judge entries from around world in the 16 media. Last year, 14,106 entries from 78 countries vied for the gold, silver, and bronze statues. This year’s judging takes place October 6-14 at the Encore Hotel in Las Vegas.

“I was honored to be selected as a juror,” Laurel said, “and I’m delighted to be collaborating again with Ben Zimmer, a linguist and Wall Street Journal columnist. He and I have been working with the Linguistic Society of America to educate linguistic students about jobs outside of academia. I’m really looking forward to meeting the other jurors and getting down to work.”

Laurel will also participate in a panel discussion titled “Only Words: Is language there to fill the gaps between the pictures or a branding superhero power?” which will be attended by top young creatives as well as the press.

The LIA shortlists will be announced as each session concludes (mid-October) and winners November 2.

Congratulations, Laurel! We can’t wait to hear all about it!

Stay tuned for Laurel’s behind-the-scenes report from LIA October 11.

[To Our Naming Competitors: Note that jury members do not participate in the judging of their own company’s work, so Catchword’s four Naming entries will not receive any unfair advantage from Laurel’s participation — they will rise to the top on their own merit.]


Laurel Sutton is a linguist, strategist, and co-founder of Catchword. Her love of language began with a BA in Linguistics at Rutgers University and continued in graduate school at UC Berkeley, where she specialized in both sociolinguistics and phonetics. She enjoys the challenge of working out strategy and architecture issues with clients such as Cisco, Plantronics, Corning, and Keysight.

Despite being born and raised in New Jersey, Laurel speaks excellent English, and has studied French, German, Japanese, and ASL. She is an active member of the American Name Society and the Linguistic Society of America, and has served as an expert witness on naming and branding issues.

Catchword’s own Laurel Sutton has been tapped to serve on the first-ever Verbal Identity jury for the prestigious London International Awards (LIA) to begin next week in Las Vegas. She will be the first professional namer at LIA.


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