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The essential guide to choosing good project names

Blog: How America Became a Superpower

jimmy wilson

@ Blogger | | others

ames have power. They indicate tone and the intent. They can, if chosen well, inspire and unify action. They’re an important part of a company’s brand and tone of voice. That’s why branding consultants are so highly paid, if not always highly valued.


There are many routes to choosing good project names, for example:


Turn to naming guides

Look at past project names

Get inspiration from other places

Don't panic or overthink it

This article contains essential tips for choosing a cool name and you can also try our free name generator if you need extra inspiration.


Articulate's free project name generator:

Try your hand at creating your next project (or product) name with this spiffy name generator! Project Jive-theory is just around the corner...


Your next project's name:

Mercury-Bang

 GENERATE A NEW NAME

Naming guides

I have always found Igor’s Naming Guide to be very helpful guidance for coming up with good product and company names. (Read how I picked Articulate as a name for an example. My colleague Katelyn also has some good advice on how to choose a great name.)


Learn more about modern content marketing techniques

Even with small, internal projects a good name can be a useful tool. And that is what this article is about: choosing good project names.


Right now, at Articulate, we have the following projects underway:


Bay Bridge – refactoring this website to improve conversions

Mini-Ninja – refactoring our HubSpot landing pages, emails and calls-to-action

Moonshot – documenting and improving our sales process

Code names from the past

The most common use of code names is for military operations. We British have uninspiring names. For example, Operation Herrick (Afghanistan) and Operation Granby (Gulf War I) sound more like Monty Python names than operations of war. Apparently there’s a computer in the MOD building in Whitehall that spits out random names. Personally, I like to imagine that it’s actually an elderly civil servant who spends his days setting crossword puzzles until he’s called on for a random name. In contrast, after a period of automation, American code names since 1989 have been designed for PR value as much as obscurity – Desert Shield and Just Cause, for example. There’s an interesting list of US codenames online here.


Great sources for project names

Here are some other interesting sources of names:


WW II military operations

Astronaut names

Female scientists

Animals (like Apple who have used Jaguar, Leopard, Panther etc for OS X versions)

Myths and legends, like American rockets (Apollo, Mercury etc.)

Random code name generators

Dinosaur names

Muppet names (we used these as computer names at Intelligent Games)

Culture ship names (as used by Elon Musk). My favourite: ‘Ultimate Ship The Second’

Jeff Atwood over at Coding Horror has another great list. I like the idea of using Ikea product names.