Practice what you preach
We advise customers to base their decisions on facts. And we practice what we preach. When we had to come up with a name for our design studio, we followed a fact-based process. With an surprising outcome.
Starting a company involves a lot of actions. And one of them is coming up with a name for the company. If you’re starting a studio together, you look for something that resonates good with both, reflecting your personal ambitions, as well as your goals as a duo. And of course the name needs to be easy on the ear, simple to write down without instructions, and memorable.
It helps if the domain is still available or obtainable, and commerce registers have to be checked, but first you need to find a candidate name.
Diversion in every direction
We had a lot of ideas. Most of them not that good. We started by jotting down every name we thought of during evenings hours and every now and then compared notes. We found out that most names or words triggered completely different reactions and associations for us.
We concluded that probably other people might have entirely different associations as well. So how to avoid choosing a name that resonates with us, but not with anyone who was not part of the process of getting through two hundred options. And how to avoid picking a name that does not match other peoples perception of us?
A creative session for the shortlist
Time to call in the help of our spouses. Both are familiar with the techniques of brainstorming and creative facilitation, so we had a productive evening with the four of us. We abandoned our long lists and started a focussed search for names and words that would fit us and the ambition we had for our studio.
Prior to the session, Caroline had asked us separately to characterize ourself and each other, and together with the assessment form our partners that formed a sharp brief of the qualities we were looking for.
The requirements for the name were rather brief:
- understandable without repeating
- easy to write down - even if you heard it for the first time
We went through quite some post-its that night. Apart from very productive and amusing, it was instructive as well. Since we had already processed a lot of potential names, most favorites surfaced somewhere during the evening. But in the new context new candidates emerged our of nowhere, and established favorites were put in a different perspective.
At the end of the session we had a shortlist of four:
- Rex Creative
- Crux Company
Apply collective intelligence
Now it was time to put our candidates to the test. We sent the shortlist to people in our personal network and asked them for a recommendation on our company name. And we asked them to support their advice with an explanation. And also if there were any names on the shortlist they would recommend against, we asked them to motivate that as well.
Names are more than word marks and look different in context. So we included an url to a small tool we created to randomly display the candidates in a sentence.
We received enthusiastic responses from everyone, so we immediately started a tallying. But it turned out the motivations we received where the real gold. Long live qualitative research!
There were significant differences between the recommendations from Bart’s network and from Meike’s. Understandable, since most people knew only one of us. But the thing that was very consistent from everyone, was their association with the different names.
‘Straque’ for example was considered a trendy, creative and chique name by all. But interestingly enough, for some that was a reason to recommend it as a company name, for others a reason to recommend another name.
‘mbstudio’ was described as easy on the ear, bright, sober and rather neutral. For some this made it a boring option, for others it oozed professionalism.
It was remarkable to see how - despite the differences in recommendation - the effect each name had on our panel was rather consistent.
The numbers clearly show how some names resonate better with Meike’s network, and others better seem to fit Bart. But they also show a clear advice.
Walk the walk
We found a winner. It was clear that the runners up where very different for Meike and Bart. But that there was one consistent recommendation: mbstudio.
So that’s how we named our company.
Thanks to Govert and Caroline for the creative session and all the great input. And of course many thanks to all our friends and family who where kind enough to share their thoughts and advice us on our company name.
is a no-nonsense UX bureau.
As creative engineers, we love complex challenges. We design solutions that feel logical for users. We focus on quality. We choose to be a small agency, so we can give each client our full attention.
We bring over 20 years of experience to each project.
Bart van Lieshout designer—architecture (with honors), TU Delft. Bart worked 10 years as an architect, designing complex buildings such as hospitals. He is fascinated by grids and typography and always in pursuit of elegant solutions. Bart sings as a tenor soloist in classical music. His daughter is called Domino.
Our specialty is fact-based design.
We base our designs on facts and insights. We research the needs of the people who are going to use the product or service. And we merge these user needs and ambitions with our clients’ ambition in a concept.
Concept a strategic foundation for the design. We sketch solutions for the core user interaction. From here we design the main functionality, outlining principles and structure.
A solid concept is half the battle. It forms the basis for prioritising and planning features, helps to convince stakeholders and guides the product roadmap. For agile teams the concept provides a clear high-level context, essential during large or complex projects.
We help ambitious organisations to make online projects successful.
Our work is often of strategic importance to our clients, so we can only show a selection.
Design for online services of a pension administration
Ideation for purchasing tools for the government
Design for a website and mail service for lawyers
Design Sprints is a format developed by Google Ventures to create a user validated prototype in only 5 working days. The ideal compact (and low-cost) innovation kickstart for corporates with challenges and ambition.
Concept for a new public service portal
Implementation of UX research for a sports brand
I.A. for a telco app
Information Architecture a design for the organisation of information. What information will be displayed where? What screens are necessary and what form of navigation aligns best with the user goals and needs? A well though out I.A. forms the basis for a successful interaction design, layout and visual design.
Coaching in-house UX teams
UX-rescue help for design teams and product teams in doubt or in trouble. Sometimes it’s hard to see if your working in the right direction. Is this the best solution for the problem? Or are you fixing the wrong problem?
With the refreshing perspective of outside professionals we help teams to identify their problem and choose an adequate solution, empowering the team to get back to work with renewed energy and focus.
Strategic pressure cookers for teams
Strategic pressure cookers facilitating sessions with stakeholders and business owners to outline a clear product vision. Strategic sessions result is a shared understanding and insight of the bottle necks, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Branding for a dental practice
Design and code for a bridge club website
We build websites on a regular basis. This keeps our knowledge up-to-date about what can be achieved in the browser—and how much effort is involved. We believe that good design takes into account how things are made. Online products are not clickable images, but responsive layout systems that work well on small and larger screens alike. So we need to understand the code that makes the design.
User research in public transportation
First website for mbstudio
Naming our company
Because we believe that digital products make life better.
Why you do something is just as important as what you do. We believe in human-centered design: products and services designed from the perspective of the human who uses them. We believe that good websites, apps and online services make our life easier and more pleasurable. And that the impact of digital products on our life—and that of our children—will only increase.
That is why we choose to use our talents and energy to make digital products as good as possible.
Are you facing a challenge? Contact us.
We like to think along and can usually help. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org