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Freelance business names can be hard to decide on. Should you use your own name? Should you create a brand-new name to freelance under? How can you know if a freelance business name is already taken?
All of these questions (and more) are what make naming your freelance business a real challenge. So today, I’d like to share with you over 100 real-life freelance business names I collected in our freelance FB group (join us!). These are freelance business names of real freelancers running real businesses.
Below the list, I’ll add some of my best advice for naming your freelance business as well so keep reading. Without further ado…
Here are 128 real-life freelance business names to inspire you:
- Altered Space Design
- Away with the Moon
- Big Peach Marketing
- Bluesky Websites
- Bourne Creative
- Bridge Creative
- Custard pie creative
- Design Half Full
- Designers Up North
- East Raven Design
- Frsh Labs
- G Squared Studios
- G’day Frank
- Genetic Lemon
- Mad Moo Studio
- Made By Dave
- Moonman Studio
- Nova Studio
- Nuevo Studio
- Peppercorn Creative
- Pepperjack Media
- Running Spark
- Shiift Creative
- Single Space Design
- Solar Flare Design
- Studio Civico
- The Gypsy Studio
- The Middle Ground Designs.
- Unforsaken Creative
- Unraveling Studio
- Violet Visual
- Yellow Rhino Studio
- Yote Design
- Alley Cat Studios
- Click Dekk
- DaftDog Design
- Dijital Ninja
- Gamma Designs
- Holly Hill Graphics
- Holy Mountain Studio
- Kreative Eye Design
- Lionwolf Studio
- Mad Dog Design Inc.
- Miel Design Studio
- No Boundaries Design
- Pink Palm Creative
- Purpose Made Design
- Radiant Resolution
- Rosepapa Creative
- See Sweet Creative
- Sumack Loft
- Sunshine Creative, Inc
- Taboose Graphics
- The Color Me Studio
- The Design Booth
- Three Monkey Chaos
- Total Brandits
- Aether Creative
- Art inspire Studio
- Ashley Lynn Designs
- Azure Designs
- Bridget Goldsmith Stationery+Design
- CODA Design
- Collective IQ
- Ebon Wave Design
- Jamie the Creative
- Let’s Create Kait
- M.Ryland Co
- Mass Appeal Agency
- Perfect Evolution
- Purposely Designed
- Raghu Design
- Sonya Contino Graphic Design
- The C|Suite Agency
- Tolbert Graphics
- Weiher Creative
- [double b] design + copy
- 3rd Degree Digital Development
- A Montez Design
- Alvalyn Creative
- Apisz Design Consultant
- B Steiner Design
- Be Pro
- Bicefalo Brand Studio
- Chamie Castillo Studio
- Creative Assets LLC
- Design & Marketing Solutions
- DL48 Studio
- Donna Masson
- Élishia Sharie Creative (ESC)
- Elizabetify Presentation Design Studio
- FaRa Graphics
- Gibran Design
- HS Creative Co.
- Infamous RAD
- Jack M Design Co.
- Jessica Boudreau Creative
- Joely Lara Digital
- K.Kristine Designs
- Kalavruksh Design Consultancy
- Libby Sinclair Design
- Liz McCall Design
- Mari de Baudus
- Mellane Creative Designs
- Meredith Paige
- Mrdzyn Studio
- Mrs. Kristine Palmer illustration & design
- Nadya Valish
- RR Sanchez
- STB Design
- Tina Garcia Design
- Wayne Scholtz Design
Should you use your own name for a freelance business name?
As you can see from the list above, many freelancers decide to name their business by their own full name. We’re frequently asked whether this is a “smart” choice when coming up with your own freelance ideas.
Using your own name
One option that a lot of freelancers take is to use their own name as the business name. There are clear benefits to this approach. Some of which include:
Using your own name allows you to appear affordable
Many people choose to hire a freelance designer over a design firm because they know they can get a better price most of the time. If you want to make sure your potential clients don’t get any mixed messaging, just stick with your own name.
Using your own name makes your company transparent and personal
People hate interacting with huge corporations. There’s nothing more annoying than never being able to get a hold of the person you need to when you need to. Using your own name as a business name is a great way to say, “I’m always going to be available for whatever needs you have.”
Using your own name can be memorable
You won’t ever find a client saying “Hey, maybe we should hire whats-his-name from John Smith Design.” If people can remember your business name, they can remember your name and vice-versa.
It can be easy to find a domain name
Depending on your name, it can be much easier to find a domain name to match. For example, let’s say your name is Frank Appleton. At the time of writing, FrankAppleton.com is available (which you can see using Bluehost’s domain checker below). You could also use FrankWAppleton.com or Fappleton.com or DesignerFrank.com.
To be honest, I secretly hope the real Frank Appleton finds this article by Googling himself and then snatches up the domain. You’re welcome, Frank. 🙂
Using your own name can make you seem inexperienced
Unfortunately, some people associate the small feel using your name can create with inability to perform. The truth of the matter is, anyone can work from home and start a business call “Jane Smith’s Design Company”, for all they know, you’ve only been designing for a few weeks and they are your first real client.
Using your own name can make it TOO personal
Using a business name for your freelance company can create an imaginary barrier between you and your clients. This barrier can prove useful at 2 am when they are pacing in their home office trying to decide whether they should call you about a typo on their web site or not. Maybe you don’t want to seem that approachable to your clients.
Using your own name can create confusion in the future
If you plan to grow your business to include other employees, using your own name could get confusing. Not to say it hasn’t been done effectively before (take Ogilvy, Sam’s Club, Smith’s, or Johnson & Johnson to name a few).
Using a business name
Of course, many freelancers opt to name their business more creatively—not using their own personal name anywhere in the business. There are upsides and downsides to this option as well.
Using a business name enables you to charge more
A business name makes you sound more experienced and more dedicated to the design work you do. Because of that, it’s possible clients are willing to pay higher rates than if you give off a one-man show aura.
Using a business name can make you more marketable
It’s a lot easier to separate your personal life (especially online) from your professional life when you have a unique business name. After all, you probably don’t want your future clients to have access to your latest family vacation photos when are looking for information about your business.
Using a business name can make you seem experienced
Using a business name makes you seem well-established and experienced (only if you choose a good name. See here) so people could be more likely to hire and trust you.
Using a business name allows for growth
If you plan to hire employees one day, choosing a name that can grow along with your business is the right solution for you.
Using a business can make it impersonal
Just like using your personal name as a business name can make your designer-client relationship too personal, using a business name can make it too impersonal. Most people want to know they have someone (a real person) they can rely on to answer their questions and resolve their concerns. If you decide to choose a unique business name, make sure your marketing materials boast available and personal attention.
Using a business name could make you appear more expensive
If potential clients feel like they are going to have to pay for design time plus expensive overhead costs your fancy-pants business incurs, they are going to be less likely to hire you.
Using a business can be less memorable
In addition to remembering the name of their designer (you, of course), your clients will have to remember the name of your company whenever they receive invoices from you, write you a check, or recommend you to other potential clients. It could be worth it to have them remember just one name: yours.
Using a business name can be a trademark headache
As soon as you decide to use a business name for your freelance business, you enter the world of potential trademark infringement. If you do choose the business name route, be sure to consult someone like LegalZoom in order to register your business or trademark your name.
You can invent a random word no one’s heard before which makes finding a domain easier.
- Ultimately, the decision of whether to use a personal name or business name depends on the individual freelancer’s goals and preferences.
- Using a personal name can help establish a personal brand and make it easier to connect with clients on a personal level. It can also be simpler and less expensive to set up than a business name.
- Using a business name can help create a more professional image and make it easier to scale your business in the future. It can also provide additional legal and financial protections.
Which do you use? A business name or your own personal name?
I’m curious to learn what the tendency of Millo readers is. Do you use your own name to market your design business or have you come up with a business name? If it’s the latter, tell us what business name you chose and why. Share with us in the FB group.
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When I started out as a graphic designer 7 years ago, I had already been an artist for many years under my own name, Michele Fraichard. I didn’t want to confuse my fine art with my design work, so I chose a business name, Flux Appeal Creative, where I use my first and middle name, Michele Alise.
The thing is, I’m a solo designer and not an agency, and I would like to start promoting my personal style to align myself with agencies for freelance work. Is using a company name a turn-off for agencies? And can I build my personal style under a company name? I still have the problem of not wanting to use my legal name for design work. Any suggestions from designers who work with agencies?
How interesting! I’m using my name right now but have been thinking about rebranding with a business name, or perhaps a mix of the two so it still seems personal. I like the idea of having my personal life and business life separate, though.
I’ve been battling with this myself, I’ve never really liked my name and I like the separation, but it does seem that people want that person connection so I’m considering catrinadean
Thanks for this great post! I’m in the need to take this “important” decision too and I have found your stories very useful but anyway I’d like to share my own story with you so you can give me your opinion, if you feel like.
My complete name is Diego Esteban Perez and what I do is mobile apps / web / software development and I’m feeling like starting my solo career so decided to start promoting myself with a nice web but first I need to choose an appropiate domain for it.
Reading this article I’ve thought I’d go for my own name as I love to have a more “personal and warm” relationship with people but I would have multiple choices like diegoestebanperez.com, diegoperezfreelance.com, diegoestebansoft.com, diegosoftwarecreations.com…
I think I shouldn’t stick to any particular suffix like apps of soft as I can do both things so maybe diegoperezapps.com or diegoestebanapps.com is not appropiate but it’s being difficult to me to find a general term that embrace apps / web / software creations.
So, what do you think? Any suggestion?
My name is Elisabeth Almekinder. I am a freelance writer. What do you think of LizWrites?
I was thinking to have the card say “I write stuff” to keep it simple and clear. EVERYONE asks to spell Almekinder, and Elisabeth is not the usual spelling.
I like it!
My surname is PLANT, I have come to the realisation that I cannot use my name for my freelancing as people thought I was a gardener. Do you have any more tips on including your name so it’s personal without being misleading? Thanks!
Hi, my name is Bhuvaneshwari Nadar, a freelance Graphic Designer. Should I name it as “Bhuvana Nadar” as Bhuvana is my short name or should I go with “BN Graphics”? Please suggest. Thank you.
i’m trying to decide what i want to do. Is it bad if your social media doesn’t match up?
I’m going to have my social media be @theresaburdenbeauty
I don’t know if i want my business to be called
Theresa Burden Beauty LLC
or have it just be
Theresa Burden LLC
My name is Peter Feaver (pronounced like fever).
I’m thinking of using my own name, because my thing is small, simple and personalised sites.
Some ideas like:
….or because I’m (currently) based in france
What do people think??
Hello! I like more the option of a business name but I wonder if registering for one this implies also VAT registration. I mean, as start up, my expected revenue will be below the threshold and I want avoid any tax implication at this stage.
I run a Recruitment / Talent search business out of Cape Town, SA. I am considering a name change from duePoint to something using my name, for a few reasons. Just unsure of exactly what the new name will be.
Possibly Simon Whyte Connect? OR Simon Whyte Talent / Recruitment ?
Great article! I’m currently setting up a freelance business and I’m finding it hard to decide on a name. I was originally thinking Alexandra Evans Design (and I have the domain for it) but I don’t think it’s catchy enough. I’m now thinking of Happy Elephant Creative, though I’m not sure it shouts what I do. The reasoning behind it is there…I collect elephants as I’ve always loved them and I’d like to do illustration as well as design, hence creative, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to make sense for clients.
Great blog! I have two business names: 1) DesignTiff; 2) Tiffani Armstead (which is my personal name). I plan to target solo-prenuers and small-to-medium businesses. Any insights will be great!
I use both my name and a company name.
I’m using my own name, besides my name is very exotic…
In honesty I’m not sure which one to do, I’m still wanting to do graphic design as a career and I’m still learning but for when I’m more experienced should I go with full name or a business name? Also I’ve heard some designers use an alias name using myself as an example with a nickname I had
My name is Richard Robertson but I had a few people call me Ru, or Virga. so would it be an idea to use an alias like that so it’s potentially not to personal and not to business like? Or would it seem to childish?
I did a business name because I found it much easier for marketing… Creative Concepts. After doing so, I found 2 others :/ And just today seen that there are dozens on facebook 🙁 There is nothing “creative” about copies! I’ve had the name since 2014 and now I find myself wanting to change it because there are soooo many! Trying to come up with something that says unique and creative without having to add my initials seems impossible… I’m stuck for now, but I definitely feel the need to change it. I have 7 kids so at the moment I wrote down their initials trying to create a name out of them…. it’s not working out but I’m sure I’ll figure something 😉
another thing I would add is that it depends what KIND of last name that you have. for example, “Smith” will do a lot better than my last name “Szczerbaty” which looks unfriendly, foreighn, difficult to pronounce and thus difficult to work with.
I’m stuck with mine. I can’t decide if I should go with “Eli Vasileva Design” or come up with a different name since my name can be hard to remember and pronounce correctly. Also, to a certain extend it doesn’t sound creative enough. What do I do?
I tried to use my name as my company name but then one day I thought I want to have a more interesting name for my company and I came up with – It’s Her Idea.
This is the confusion that drove me to your blog. Got some insight. May be A/B tasting will help.
Great article 😉 I’m starting a website to do part-time designs and I’m wondering if I should use a pseudonym (in addition to the actual business name) since my name is just….very unprofessional-sounding. (After all, I was named after a nickname). Would that be okay?
After using the name Pixels and Paper for 3 years as a part time freelancer I decided to become a full time freelancer only to find out that a lady in my are has the same business and goes by the name of Paper and Pixel. I decided to register the business name as Kleyn Media (my surname) as I do marketing / wesite design / print etc and did not want my clients to be confused when googling me. But I really miss my original name as i have great sentiment to it. What do I do?
I’ve have had my own business with a business name for about 10 months now, but I’m starting to think if I should change the name and the whole aspect of my business to more personal. I’m confused on what to do! I have a business website and on there i have my personal bio and personal portfolio and I feel this can confuse clients. I am debating if I should make a personal website ontop of my business site. Any advice would be appreciated! TIA
Hi Great Article,
I have read all the comments below and all are great points.
But now I find myself having a dilemma. I started out wanting to use my name for my freelance company but my name is unique and people find my name difficult to remember at times and pronounce. FYI it was going to be ‘Kariless Design Company’, like I said unique right. So then I thought I would use my initials instead, however I decided different.
So I decided to create a business name and I have been using it to promote my services so far. But after reading this article I am kind of rethinking the whole idea and wanting to using my name or initials as my company/brand name.(FYI currently I am using the name ‘CreativeFootprint’ as my business name.) So as an upcoming designer what do you guys think?
I am a freelance graphic/web designer and very new to starting my own business! My business will be a creative name, separate from my own.
Am not sure whether I should market myself as working on my own or say I collaborate with other people to give clients more security?? I don’t want to make out I’m a big company because I work from home yet I’ve been told its important to mention you have more support..?
For example is it weird to use the term “we offer ongoing technical support” if it’s just me..?
Any thoughts would be much appreciated! Thanks
This is a good article (wow good lord the font color in this comment box is SO FAINT I had to pull this into notepad to craft my reply). To Preston D Lee, author – I like this article and it is very well done and covers gosh darn everything that goes through my mind in the last few months. Literally every point – boom-boom-boom, one after another… you hit all of them. But quite honestly I wish you had taken a stance even if it was 51/49.
I’m reading this article as I sit in front of tax form literally making the decision, hoping to learn from a thought leader. You come up as one – this article comes up as one. I am going with my name.Results. So, GeorgeWashington.Results. EvanGarner.results. Something like that. it implies the little internet syntax there with the inline dot – and is a callback to the importance of the client. In my new logo the word results is larger than my name – showing the contrition for/to the client. I’m going to make a run at it that way. Please wish me luck.
I don’t really like to use my name, but I don’t want to make my freelance services impersonal eather. So I was thinking like ‘I doubleyou’ or ‘IWA’ + design. But I’m not sure…
Thank you for your post Preston… it helped me a lot, however I still have a question. I have designed a business around assisting small business owners with a multitude of tasks. My passion is graphic design / advertising however I am a trained office administrator. I formed a company using my name lzweifel graphic design and then in trying to re-think the idea of what my entire concept was I created a website which is simple loriezweifel.com… my name! Now I am growing the business but the administrative side more than the graphic design. Can I form a business that is simply just my name?
Great post! I’ve been debating this for a while, but i’ve gone down the business name route. 1) to appear more professional & 2) to keep my private life separated. I’m still a little confused whether I need to register it as a business or how the whole freelancing world works (as I am employed full-time) if anyone could point me in the right direction for information I would be extremely grateful! 🙂
I personally use both!
I run as a freelancer under my own name on several networks such as Upwork & Freelancer, and I run my own personal website under a business name (Writers Hired) where people can go and order packages that are actually cheaper rates than my Upwork rates.
Question: working on a trust in my own name and myself also as beneficiary and trustee however appointing my freelance paralegal services name as secondary trustee, however how can I word that the first trustee is in control of secondary
Great input, I currently trying to decide to use my last name and add photography,(Andrade Photography). still on the fence, Seams like nothing really has appealed to me that does not sound cheesy.
I’ve been using a company name “Lionstar Creative” but am thinking about changing back to Lisa Bailey Design – any thoughts. I had stopped freelancing for a couple of years and now that I’m going back to freelance again, I need to make a decision.
Lionstar sounds solid and professional compared to Lisa Bailey.
I think this makes some valid points and i’m currently under the name Luke Wiggs Design. I feel okay with it but I was thinking of changing this to a play on words on my surname along the lines of ‘Wiggsy Designs’, would this be a good idea or making a mistake?
I used to operate under business names
My first 5.5 years in business and then in 2012 I decided to go under my name plus description.
I went from Duran Photography and Duran Bridal Films to Sky Simone Photography + Film and consolidated both!!
Best decision ever.
Great article! I’m taking the leap into full-time graphic design freelancing (practically from scratch as far as clients go). I’ve just canceled my Squarespace portfolio as I’m wanting to be more of a business rather than just another designer with an online portfolio. My website is practically complete. I’ve just been trying to think of a name so that I can design a logo and register a domain as well as register the business in my state’s registry. My portfolio was just FirstNameLastNameGD.com and I didn’t really like it. I’m hoping to have it figured out soon. Thank you for giving me some perspective!
My plan was to use my last name but Loheide would get lost in most spellings so thinking initials or an actual business name. It would be an accounting firm got to start somewhere
Thank you so much for bringing this subject up!! I’m a freelance illustrator, and I sell my humorous wall art online. My legal business name is Wee Five Designs, which came about while developing mom/baby products for the marketplace, and that name made its way into my art business, as well. My name is Susan Drawbaugh, and people are constantly commenting on how ironic it is to have that last name since I draw for a living. Now I’m leaning towards dropping Wee Five Designs from all of my marketing material, and going with my name for more memorable branding. I’m in the throes of building a new website, and designing all new marketing materials with my name as part of the logo. Any constructive thoughts on this would be much appreciated!
Thinking of calling mine “SleetCreative” or “SleetStudio” – what do you guys think?
“Williams Design” is already taken and I don’t really like the sound of “DanW-Design”
I like both…sleetcreative rolls off the tongue much easier however sleetstudio looks cooler 🙂
I would love to have a business name rather than my own name and have been toying with the idea since 2007!!!! At Arty farty University we were heavily encouraged to use our own name for our websites and also to only go for .co.uk (so years later I am now unable to get the .com as someone now has it, yet it was available back then!!)
I love all of the points mentioned but do definitely sway towards the pros of using a business name specifically the part saying you can appear more experienced and well established etc etc. I hate that I have my own name as my brand as I really do feel that I have that one man band aura…. (not what I thought would happen after a four year degree..LOL)
My dilemma is that I am somewhat established in my field which is contemporary jewellery but I’m really only known in that Contemporary Jewelley World and not very much further afield. So do I change that somewhat slightly established name or go for a catchy business name? I’m just worried because I have been in the press and in some wonderful published jewellery books, magazines. blogs etc etc under my own name so that’s why I’m worried to change the name…..help !!! LOL
Great article! I was originally going to use my personal name for my freelancing illustration and design, since I would like to do children’s book illustrations along with other projects. However, most people misspell and mispronounce my name (it’s pronounced like “aisle” with an “st” at the end). They like to slip in an “i” for the “l” when they type in my name. Should I still try to use my name, or go with a company name?
Great article, but I am now just as confused as I was before 🙂 Thank you for starting the conversation!!
Nice read! I am equally torn between whether to use my real name or a fictitious name after reading these points (all valid) — as I was before reading it!
A number of years ago I freelanced with a fictitious name thinking I would grow out of a one man studio faster than I ever did and I wanted to give that impression that I was bigger than I was.
This time I am going through the process of an actual legal name change for personal reasons (re-claiming my last name from birth). I am planning on using my personal name when I start my new freelance adventure.
I freelanced for 6 years, then went back to work on bigger enterprise level projects for 6 years, and now I am ready to go back to the world of freelance for good.
I am heavily leaning toward the “my actual name” approach because my intention this time around is to build relationships with smaller clients and projects of a smaller scope than the work I currently do (with teams of 30+ people). I feel the fictitious name will just feel fake and impersonal.
If I grow to the point where I have some employees / colleagues / partners and it just sounds arrogant that I still have my name attached to the business, I’m completely fine with changing it when the time comes.
I never felt like it ever HURT me having a fictitious name, and a lot of my clients liked the name. However, I was in a meeting with an executive one day who was making comments about “When are all of these fly-by-night ‘ad-hoc agencies’ (in a condescending tone) going to finally just DIE!!!!!”
And he started rattling off a slew of the small design shops in town one by one making fun of all of them for trying to pretend that they are bigger than they are by picking a fancy name.
That meeting has always stuck with me because I’ve seen a LOT more of the same attitude toward small agencies who try and make themselves look bigger than they really are vs. just being honest about what they really are over the years — in situations where I was privy to what people REALLY think because I wasn’t a small shop anymore and they weren’t trying to shield me from their real opinions.
Great post and tips!
I work in the fitness and health industry both serving customers (as a trainer etc) but also companies (as a consultant) So instead of having one site that has content that are for both customers and businessinformation, then I’m going in the direction of having my own name as a personal blog where I can share my different content from my niche sites.
Hi! I know it may have been a while since you wrote this post – but I’m struggling to find a name for myself too, my name is Lauren Rasberry (missing the p – I know!!) and I really didn’t want to use my name because that’s the easy option.
Yet I’ve been told that I MUST use my last name as it’s so unique.
I would rather have like something clever and punchy, something well thought out.
I just don’t know though! I can’t think of anything.
I loved the idea of something italian – and I always like to be known as the queen or the boss or something really powerful – but translated them and they don’t sound very good.
Raspberry translated is lampone. Not good.
But I’d love something like “la” and then another word. Like “la femme” or something.
What about ” La Reine”?
It means The Queen in French and looks like Lauren.
I’ve been struggeling with this ever since I started my own freelance business. I’m a graphic designer and my main focus (when I started out) was mostly print design. But now, I’m seeing my way through the digitalized world as well, of course.
My real name is Michelle Wighman. I don’t really like my last name, people in school always called me ‘wigwam’ -and not like a good thing-.
I always liked having a business name instead of using my own name. When I finished school, I immediately started my freelance business, the current name of my company is muteprint designs. I got it from a song title of a band I used to like. But it never really sat right with me, i could never really form a right logo with it.
I want something that catches on better. I’ve had things in mind like Stingray Studios or something with which I could form some kind of image logo that would work as an eyecatcher. I don’t want the name to be dull or formal, I want something playful, cool and something that sticks. I also like a play on words, but I find it hard to come up with such things that haven’t already been used. There was a illustrator/graphic artist I used to like who called himself El Jefe. I thought this was such a great name, which obviously translates into ‘the boss’ and refers to being good at what you do and being your own boss, it sounds cool and you can definitely play with it in terms of creating a logo. He recently changed the name though, I think it’s because he’s been expanding, but I’m not entirely sure.
Anywhooooo I’m still thinking of a fitting name!
Thanks for posting this! I’m having some trouble with this and hoping that someone could give me some advice.
My name is Brian Hoddy, which I originally was going to use for my graphic design company name. My last name is pronounced “Hottie” or at least that’s how people say it, and the dd’s and tt’s just blend together when saying it. Even though it is a bit entertaining to most people to hear this is my last name and how it’s pronounced, I’m not a huge fan of it and have been steering away from using my name for my business. Plus I don’t want peple to get the wrong message and ask “why is he calling himself a hottie?” before they read how my name is spelt…lol. It happens all the time trust me. I did come up with an alternative that does use part of my name, but I’m still unsure if it would be good to use.
“B Vibrant” is the name I came up with separate from my actual name, “Brian Hoddy Design”, but I’m not sure how I feel about it…Could anyone help me out with some feedback please? I would greatly appreciate it 🙂 Thanks!
What about “B.H. Design” or “Brian H. Design”?
P.S. I pronounced it haw-dee. :s Saying it aloud, however, I hear how it can sound like “hottie”.
“B Vibrant” sounds good! I like it! Though I would put a “.” behind the B, making it more obvious that it stands for “Brian” not just a simple way of saying “be”.
I know it’s been a couple of months since you wrote this but should you read this let me know how you decided. I’m curious.
This is a real tough one. Although I market myself under my own name, I still have in the back of my mind that I should change to a company name. I feel sometimes that my own name is holding me back from working with bigger companies. There is no happy medium. I guess I need to decide if I am going to expand at some point and that might give me my answer.
I am in serious need of a name change. I was recently interviewed by a local magazine and I want to be able to take advantage of any potential publicity. My “OMG I need a name RIGHT NOW!” name for my thrown together wordpress was MarketCHI. I chose it right when I moved to Chicago because I just needed something right away to direct clients to.
Now I’m struggling to come up with a more permanent solution. The name I want to use (Hoss Creative) is one that I am mostly happy with. Its an homage to my dad, who passed away in ’99 and was a graphic designer, the reason I became a designer, and just generally all around my hero. His nickname was Hoss. Unfortunately Hosscreative.com is taken, and my fiance thinks it may make me sound too ‘provincial’. I am considering hosscreativesolutions.com or hosscreativellc.com but I’m afraid they sound forced/too long.
I want my brand to be a one stop marketing shop. I do everything from product photography to web design to social media. I also do all of my own printing. I want to be seen as professional, creative and clever. I’m just really struggling with this name thing.
Oh, and I HATE my last name (Dobbs) and my first name is incredibly generic. My initials are AND, so I’ve tried to come up with something there, but just can’t seem to find the right fit. ANY feedback would be much appreciated!
Have you thought of Hoss & Dobbs ? & being symbolic of your initials 🙂
ANDmarketing or ANDdesign implies that you cover marketing or design plus more, which you do… I like it!
I somehow love Hoss & Dobbs!! Sounds like a thing! 🙂
I have always used my own name as it is short, quite different and easy to remember! It does sound of positive as well as it can be used in the same way as WOOOOHOO!
Great article! I’ve been using my (maiden) name, Chhaya Joynt, for my freelance business with Graphic Design tagged on for years now. Am now shifting towards a rebrand and rename, and am cheered by the comments regarding using your surname only, as being the best of both worlds. That’s probably what I’m going to do now, become Joynt Creative.
Anyone have an opinion on using ‘Creative’ instead of ‘Design’ in a business name? I do both graphic and web design, illustration, and could possibly branch out even more in future.
I know I pondered my decision for quite a while (way too long.) For others struggling with the same dilemma I’ve created a nifty questionnaire helping you to decide between using your own name or a business name. I made it especially for freelance designers. 🙂
(click the “Decide YOUR situation”-image to open the questionnaire)
Hope it helps! 🙂
I’m currently rebranding from using my initials to a company name.
I live in a small farm town but it’s close to a large city so I need to reach small local businesses as well as larger firms in the city.
I figured I would get around this dilemma by using a business name but then use a tagline of “the design portfolio of Josh Stevens”
Hey, awesome article! I’ve been tossing up on changing my business name as well but I’m having heaps of problems deciding on a name. My current business name is JKDM (Jennifer Kathy Design & Marketing). Jennifer Kathy is my first name and middle name. But this name has never really felt like ‘me’. I don’t really do that much marketing to warrant having it in my business name… I do more website and online work than anything I suppose. I want to go with something a little ‘cutsey’ but still professional (mainly because that’s pretty much me)! Would anyone have any suggestions?
Thanks in advance…
I make beats for sale, perform live, but do more graphic design for web and print than audio. I’ve only spent a minimal amount of effort on my portfolio for the last 10 years because I’ve been employed and busy. I’ve only recently decided to go full freelance (un-employed).
MEH are my initials, and I had the tagline “Make Everything Happen”.
Pretty catchy….Until now. The social networking world started using “meh” to meen “so-so”.
As in: “how do you feel? Are you still sick”
Response: “meh, I’m doing okay I guess”.
That leaves me in a state of necessary change. And the graphics work is flying in right now. Mostly logo packages and website re-designs.
Everybody calls me Beatfarmer or Farmer, because there are way too many Matts in my circle of friends – and because I always introduce myself as that (ego).
Also, my studio/pad has always been known as “The Beatfarm” among rappers, DJs, bands I’ve played in, and people needing to get recording time or production lessons. This has played a big part in getting new business. A DJ friend of a friend comes to check it out, then asks about a new logo. Boom. $.
So I need to kill the “MEHgraphics” and do a new DBA ASAP to get some proposals and invoices out. I plan on continuing to sell beats and do vocal production, but graphic design brings in more $.
There are potholes with some of the obvious choices for names.
1. “The Beatfarmer’s Productions” – apostrophe, and people screw it up
2. “Beatfarm Productions” – taken
3, “The Beatfarm” – taken
4. “The Beatfarmer’s Studio” – apostrophe
and many more…
I also want to leave open the ability to have multiple employees and still have the name make sense. This is already in the works with some other designers and recording engineers.
I’m leaning toward:
1. “Beatfarmer AG”, (for audio and graphics)
2. “Beatfarmer Creative” (kinda lame)
3. “Beatfarm Designs” (kinda like it, but people might think it’s BeatfarmER designs, and I do more than design. Would you hire a Designer to master a song?)
I need the All Encompassing Name for two main things:
(web, print, even CSS and HTML coding and hosting. So I don’t really like “design” in the title)
2. Audio Production (recording, mixing, mastering, beats for sale)
Is this not your more challenging case Preston? I dare you to solve it!
One way or another I need to DBA a name in order to get paid from one of my clients this week, so if I pick a name tonight I’ll post it here.
Beatfarmer AG – you’re bang on about ‘design’ not making sense when you’re also producing audio.
Even though ‘audio design’ is a thing, the ‘design’ part didn’t chime with me at all. And yeah, also think you’re right about ‘Beatfarmer Creative’ sounding a bit…meh. (*ducks*)
Good luck! =D
Beatfarm Studio or just Beatfarm. With the tag line: audio and graphic design
I usually wont hire anyone unless I first am able to view their profiles on social networks. I don’t want to hire someone to only find out that they’re getting drunk every weekend and posting pictures for the public. I also don’t want to hire someone that feels they have something to hide.
Welcome to the real world. I don’t have to hire anyone I don’t want to for whatever reason I choose.
Any potential employer that says they don’t do their own online background check is a liar. They care more about the content you put online then the resume you turn in. Your facebook page will tell them a lot more about you. (Hint: Take advantage of this fact.)
Here’s a link to my website: http://jacobwilliamsmodeling.com
And my personal facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jacobdanielwilliams
I see neither of these links is active any more. Not sure what that means…
I’ve been considering a few for myself, and I like the idea of a high end classic typeface
name called orange bicycle…a design firm.
It’s creative, quirky, professional and high end all in one.
Kind of like plaid tuba…
i love it
AAAH this thread has helped me feel a lot like the “Sybil” of my new design world. I have used hobbies, my dog’s name, variations of both…. ugh ! After, torturing myself for maybe the past 2 years, trying to find a name that sounded professional and cool. And while I did get good feedback on my ideas, they still didn’t fully resonate with me. I finally realized (for me), being independent, that using my first and middle name sounded personal and professional ( Henry William Design) . I have gotten a thumbs up from everyone and more importantly it makes sense to ME. I’m so glad I found this post. 🙂
This has been always a concern of mine… what to do with my name when Im going professional, cause Im spanish, but live in Norway now, and here they have “Benny” as the closest to my name, but I hate it, cause it reminds me of “Benny Hill”. So, using Beni would not be possible, and my last name: Rodriguez is hard to spell to a lot of people, not only norwegians but aswell in US… A lot say it like: RodrigUes <– there "U" is pronounced.
Im soon to be an established portrait photographer, and my customers primarily would be families and single persons, and if possible some companies/magazines in the future.
What do you think is the best way to go here? Use my name or play with it until I find something more commercial, or just find an artistic name I feel good with (even if its totally different to my name), or would a "company" name be the best option?
I will read your article about "naming businesses" now 🙂
most of the people using the service will be norwegians i wouldnt use a foreign name.
I think the name Beni would make a good iconic name for a design company.
I had a friend called Rodriguez, and everyone used to call him “Dig”. It was in France so Dig had no meaning at that time, but it may have an interesting meaning for you now.
Ive always been told that my name was unique…so I decided to do a play on it…I’m stuck between “Graphic Booze” “Artistic Booze” “Digital Booze” “JBooze” or just my name “jasminebooze”
Jasmine, depending on your style, I think using just your last name could be a lot of fun, especially if you want to attract edgier clients! However, if you have a more conservative clientele, they may not like the connection to alcohol. (I could see this being the case in the conservative Midwest town where I live.) Using Jasmine Booze is more straightforward, but also loses some of the quirkiness the other names have.
Graphic Booze is outstanding! Love it.
GRAPHIC BOOZE!! =D Unforgettable…
I agree with Erin. Graphic Booze got me right away!
sounds cheap,tacky and low class
I think Jasmine is a nice sounding name and I’d look to use it because it has nice connotations. Jasmine Booze on its own is strong and then I’d have design or illustrator depending on your speciality; in smaller more fluid font, centered underneath in a fainter colour.
Graphic Booze is really catchy.
Definitely, if your name is difficult to pronounce, or may have several pronunciations, it behooves you to come up with a moniker that either makes your name simple to say or only uses part of it. Check out the post on this blog about naming a business for a good discussion on how others have dealt with this problem.
Hi April, a belated thank you for your reply – you’re opinion is much appreciated (I only just noticed it!). My friends call me Kozy or Quoz, so it’s probably easier to use one of these – perhaps I’ll flip a coin!
No worries! It’s great you’ve got a nickname to work with. Both have a lot of possibilities.
(Sorry moderater, got cut off)
My main problem concerning my own name is that it isn’t pronounced as it is spelt, nor is it too memorable! Spelled Akosua, pronounced Aquozia and my surname is pronounced Aday but spelled Addei. Is it only worth using your name professionally, if its easy to spell or shorten?
Any opinions would be happily received 🙂
After saying it in my head I think your last name plus the word design or graphics sounds good.
Wow, Akosua and Shanthi are lovely names! =)
But yes, people are a bit pants when it comes to pronunciations… I like Addei Design, or something similar.
Some very valid food for thought here. I agree that it mostly depends on who you’re desired clientele are & if you may want to sell your company one day.
Re: Alison Gorman, potentially I think it may do you more harm than good to use a shortening of your name that has such strong associations already – unless you only intend to have quirky clients who treat you in a familiar way. My own initials are AA, so
Hi. I have been kind of going with Ali G Design… which is the short version of my first name and “G” is the first letter of my last name. Also “Ali G” kind of makes up for a somewhat humorous nickname (some of my closest friends call me “Ali G”). However, I often wonder if it’s bad marketing to call my “name/business” this? Will people not think I’m serious about my work or will they get it and/or not care either way? I’ve been looking for an article like this because I’ve been debating about what I should do. I’ve often think about coming with a whole new business name, mostly for the same reasons as Andrea Schultz. I just like the idea of a creative original name and not just “insert name here” + design. The only bad thing is coming up with a good enough creative business name that I’ll want to use permanently. There were actually points listed here that I’ve never really thought about, such as the personal/impersonal thing… Hmm, any advice anyone can give me?
I would advise against Ali G, because it’s a popular British TV show!
Though, of course, you could advise FOR it for the self-same reason… =)
Its better to have a portfolio site and a company site. The portfolio site increases the value of your name and while the company site do the business. If it is a success, big heads may take over even the company. :). OR can merge with the biggies. Any of these may happen. So I believe in keeping the sites seperatly.
Wow! A nice idea. Like you create portfolio with your name and company with a company name/domain. Right? Or the other way round?
Hmm.. Interesting article, thank you for this information. I will definitely try this.
I think it depends on the clients you are (primarily) servicing. For instance, if your primary target market is mostly solo-preneurs, sure, they may be intimidated by a “design firm” (firm/agency = $$$). But the flip side to this is that naming your design business is a fabulous opportunity to demonstrate your creative ability! There’s nothing creative about using your own name. A little imagination in naming your design business can go a long way. People hire us BECAUSE we’re creative. I say, use that to your advantage. And try a unique title while you’re at it. We’ve all seen the title Creative Director (blah!) 😉
Although I’m freelance, I went with a business name. I just don’t like the idea of using my name. It’d definitely a personal thing!
Good post with some very valid points!
I use all the letters of my maiden last name + design to create “Adrinah Design”. I think it gives me the pros of both the personal name and business name.
Adrianah Design does sound really nice and catchy.
Great article! I use my own name as well. I think it’s working well in a small town and I don’t feel a need to make it sounds like I am a larger firm when it’s just me.
Plus you have a cool name.
Actually, I just changed from business to personal. I think there is no right or wrong, it depends on the market you’re targeting. I’m aiming at small companies, so I think a more personal image is appropriate.
This is what I’ve been looking for. I was offering by self-help eBooks and freebies writing services at elitebookwriter.com but I felt that I needed something more personal. I plan to go with either petercreatives.com or petermurage.com since my domain name will determine the name I register with my business. What do you think?
Go with petermurage.com sounds more exclusive, there are tons of creatives and designers out there man.
What about in terms of issues of liability? Isn’t one more protected/insulated if incorporated?
I kind of have a hybrid going: My name is Devon Gilchrist and my business name is devon.g …so I guess I sit somewhere in the middle of your pros and cons!
I think using just your last name achieves the best of both worlds.
My last name is Wood…if I make it “Wood Design,” I really doubt anyone will realize I do graphic/web design.
Katie that’s so true you never want to send the mixed messages across unless you do have woodworking skills.
I’ve been debating on this topic before as well. I have a company with a proper business name (F-Sharp Media), at the same time looking to start a photography side project, which I want to put my name on as I’d like it to feel personal and approachable.
How about WoodWould
Witty and Original ; )
What about for women whose last name may change?
I use my name with the word ‘design’ tacked on at the end. I’m a freelance designer in a small town, so one of the major factors in choosing my business name (which isn’t mentioned in your post) is recognition. Most of my clients are local, and perhaps have heard my family name around before (my husband’s family has been in the area for a very long time). My business name (Katy Dwyer Design) simply states both who I am and what I do. Simple and to the point.
I don’t know if I should use my name or come up with a business name, So far I’m using ZJP Designs which is my full name initials, is it catchy or if not do you have any suggestions.
I like ZJP Designs. It’s a good name and business name,
Hey Katy, I just visited your facebook page and I love your logo, I am a designer as well, and I too have that jewel/low-poly design to my logo. I have always changed names. it was dezzthemcrlover from deviantart, then Neutron Graphics, to Neutron Graphics art by Desirey Wester, and then now I will change it to Desirey Wester Design
Really like what your saying here and was having to make a decision about this a while ago.
I find most designers in the UK are using their own name in some sort of aspect to their freelance name to make it personal yet professional.
For example aboydesigns is my own by shorting my own forename and surname.
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