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What's in a name?


People often ask why we chose the name Sonnet for our brand consultancy and design studio. The answer, like any good story, speaks to what we do but, most importantly, to why we do it. This is the story behind the Sonnet name and our take on naming.

From the very first conversation we had a clear idea of the sort of studio we didn’t want to be. We drew our red lines first. We didn’t want to get too big too fast. We wanted to remain in close and direct contact with our clients. We didn’t want to rely on an obscure, ‘give us a month and we’ll come back with an idea’ process. We wanted to make simplicity and transparency our currency. We wanted, in other words, to start an anti-agency.

A sonnet is something purposely small but packed with meaning. Light and nimble, a Sonnet relies on a seemingly rigid structure to enable freedom and experimentation. A sonnet is a perfectly curated piece of poetry: each word plays a role and everything is there for a reason. This apparent simplicity is the gateway to some of the most powerful stories ever written. Ultimately, a sonnet is a bite-size piece of beauty.

This combination of ambition, love for simplicity and an eye for the extraordinary is what powers our work at Sonnet. This is why we come to work every morning.

Storytelling is at the heart of what we do for our clients. Be it with inspiring words or captivating images, we believe every brand has a story to tell and this story often begins with a name. However, and this is often forgotten in naming exercises, names don’t make brands. A name is just the continent. What matters is inside.

Think of a vase full of marbles. The vase can be dramatic or understated, a loud statement or a subtle one. The marbles inside are like small pieces of content, from a tweet to an annual report. They are the layers that build the real story, the one you want your customers to remember, the articulation of what you do for them and the value you bring to the market.

At Sonnet we believe that the more transparent the vase, the better one can see the marbles. This doesn’t mean brand names should be bland or dull but it does mean that names are vehicles for something else, something more meaningful: a story. Vase and marbles, name and stories, should work together and complement each other to reach where neither can reach by themselves.

Your name should reflect the story you pack as a brand, it should enhance it and allow it to breathe. Whether you choose a promise (Visa), a puzzle (Google) or a legacy (Ford), make sure you opt for the right vase.

Every so often, empty the vase and take a good look at the marbles. Clean the vase and make it shine. Discard any dated marbles and polish the important ones, those that were there from the very beginning. Go get some new ones and arrange them again. If you’re struggling, give us a shout. We’re happy to help.