How to name a new application: Originality vs Functionality


Nomen est omen. This saying is based on the belief that a person’s name determines their qualities. It’s no wonder that famous actors and singers often go by their stage names instead of their birth-given ones. The same is true for different products, including software applications. A name can make or break your app. Naming a brand new software app seems easy, until you actually start brainstorming the possibilities. Here’s how we got through it.

It all starts with an idea 

An idea for the product, that is. We usually know most of the functionalities that our software is going to deliver before we go into development. And somehow, naming that specific piece of software is always left for later. Until the official name is given to our app it has a kind of an internal nickname that we use for it in order to distinguish it from our other projects. But, as the development gets closer to the finish line and the product is starting to take its final shape, the nickname is insufficient and incompetent to shed the light on the great things about our software. That’s when the time is right to do the naming. (And also, that’s when we realize that we’re head over heels in love with our apps.)

Be original

When you’re developing a new software you’re doing it because you want to transform and innovate, and enrich your customers’ lives with powerful digital solutions. Your greatest wish is that they’ll be showing your app around among each other, telling their friends about it and sharing it on social media. But first, they have to find it. If you do your SEO right, we’re sure you’ll find those magic keywords that will drive traffic to your app on the app store. But even if that is the case, you also want your app to stand out and be a thumb stopper to the store visitors that are just browsing. You’ll need an original and appealing name to achieve that.

horreum competence app banner

Besides the originality, a hint of functionality is desirable. 

For instance, when we named Horreum Competence we tried to hint that it’s an app related to human resources, employees and their skills. Our hint was also backed up by the app logo. Of course, before the launch, we checked that the name isn’t already in use. Don’t be a copy-cat! Horreum is developed as a brand that incorporates three project management applications under its wing. The name originally came from an ancient Roman public warehouse facility, where all the valuable consumables were kept in storage: grain, wine, olive oil etc. Our version of Horreum is a repository of useful software meant to help IT businesses manage their project effectively.

Rely on functionality

App users, including us, are people of habit. Have you noticed that when you browse different websites the HOME button is almost always in the upper left? Or that the social media icons are mostly in the upper right? That’s not an accident. Webmasters are aiming to give visitors the best user experience while they’re on their websites, and in most cases, this means to give the people what they need. If your hand goes to the lower right automatically when you want to send a message, this is where the SEND button should be placed. 

All of the above is related to naming your app in the following way: when you need an app for something you will type your needs into the search bar. Some of the first three or four results will be the app you download. But what will those results be? The mechanism is meant to present you with the search results matching your query the best. Possibly word to word. That’s why there are so many Photo Collage apps or Text on Picture apps or Bug smashers. The exact name doesn’t necessarily mean that the app is right for you, but closeness to your typed in search terms gives you the confidence to investigate and install it.

There is, of course, room for creativity in this approach in app-naming also. Customize, try synonyms, investigate keyword search volume. Maybe you’ll get lucky and come up with something like:

an image of dres snap app on iphone

Be appropriate in every sense

Naming your new application is a fun and creative process. But it shouldn’t take too long. Toss ideas around, you’ll know the right one when your ear detects a catchy name and your mind can visualize what it stands for. 

Don’t be vulgar or deceiving. 

And although the name will mark your app on the market, some apps exceed their names. What does the word Instagram stand for? Or Viber? What do they mean as words, without the association to the specific products we now all use on an hourly base?

Think of that, and let us know if you need any help in developing and naming your app, or optimizing it for the search engines. You can easily reach us on Facebook, too.

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