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Topic: Student Questions

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Name A Powder Coating Company

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points
I am an Art Major going into graphic design working for a man who's starting a powder coating company. He wants a name, logo, and slogan from me. I'm going to be doing business cards, letterheads, stationary and the works.
He will be powder coating motorcycles/motorcycle parts and car/truck parts. He wants a name and logo that car and motorcycle enthusiasts would be happy to sport on there clothing.
Here are some names I was considering to get the ball rolling:
Wild Ass Powder Coating (then using a mean looking donkey in the logo)
Jabber Cat Powder Coating (creating a logo something like the cheshire cat in American McGee's Alice)
Boss Man Powder Coating (He has been a boss of a foundry for years
Anything you've got for me would be helpful! Thanks!

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    Wild Ass Powder Coating - I wouldn't recommend it unless the target market is appropriate.

    Jabber Cat Powder Coating - I don't know what a "jabber cat" is, but the name isn't commonly used (a good thing).

    Boss Man Powder Coating - This has some negative connotations.

    People wear logos either because they: like the image, like the company, and/or like the association with the brand. First focus the business on doing a bang-up job on powder coating. Then, help people who are fanatics to spread the word about your work.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    Dear Regina,

    As an art major about to go into the world of graphic design, and someone that's about to do a major design job for someone, you appear to have your work cut out.

    As Jay has already pointed out, the names you've picked all have baggage associated with them. Brands need all kinds of things, but that they do not need, is baggage.

    Baggage is bad. Avoid it as you would a venomous toad.

    Your client worked in a foundry? Why not use words from the foundry industry? And for a name, a single word might work better than a four or five word name. It's easier to remember.

    I'm suggesting this because I'm all named out for this week. Been at it since dawn on Monday and I'm shot.

    But what your client (I'll call him Bill), what Bill needs to wrap his mind around is that he's not putting logos on clothing, if that's what he wants to do, he ought to be in the garment industry.

    No. See? Bill's doing metal work (ooh, just thought of a name: heavymetal. Too obvious? Never mind. Where was I? Oh yes, Bill.

    Sorry, lost my thread a little there.

    Bill's powder coating things made of metal. Bits of trucks. Bike frames. Manly, guy-type stuff. This isn't a burger joint we're talking about, this is specialized stuff. Narrow in its focus. Tight.

    This means Bill's proving a necessary, niche-driven service that's bought by people with specific needs. Which in turn means his clients are a tightly knit group of people. Clannish, but in a good way. Mechanics. Engineers. Gear heads. Great people all.

    Niche-driven. Very important, that. Don't forget. All right?

    So why not ask them—the people needing this niche service—what would appeal to them in terms of a service? Not a name, mind you. A service.

    The company name can come from the guy's name if need be.
    But first, he must line up the ducks of his service, the benefits he offers, the skill and quality of his people. The value to his clients. These are the things that matter. Not his company name and not the work you'll do.

    Here's a tip for you that will, if you're wise, serve you well throughout your career. Ready?

    Before the wrapper goes on, the quality's got to go in.

    Simple, I know. But important. Here's why:

    Without quality as a core, all you've got is a wrapper.
    A shell. An identity.

    The stationery (psst, it's got an "e" in it. Think "e" as in envelope, otherwise, it's not moving. A copywriter friend of mine taught me this just before I presented a piece of work to a really picky grammarian client. It's a lesson I've never forgotten!) you're designing is a great project to whet your edge, so to speak, and I urge you to give it your all.

    But before you go wild, go over some of the many examples in brand identity books in your local book store. You never know what inspiring stuff you'll find.

    Sorry I can't be of more help before June 1. But I hope what little I have offered is of use to you.

    Good luck.

    Gary Bloomer
    Wilmington, DE, USA
  • Posted on Author
    Thank you both so much for your response. You've given me quite a bit to think about. You both seem to have hit on the same point, that I should focus on the company doing quality work first and then worry about the name and logo later. I am a little confused by this. My job is to come up with the name and logo. Aren't I supposed to be coming up with a name that leaves room for the company to grow? I can't help the quality of the work coming from the company, but I do have some control over the image of the company. Every business starts somewhere, and they need a good name then too don't they? I don't like the names I came up with either, which is why I decided to get on here and see if I could get some suggestions. I personally am not encouraging the use of Brian's name (Brain Shawgo is his name) because to hear it, it just doesn't "grab me" (for lack of better words). I understand that the name, logo and everything else doesn't matter if the company does poor quality powder coating, but why not have some faith in it from the beginning and name it as if it is going to be successful and become well known? Shouldn't the company live up to it's name instead of the other way around? I don't know I'm still stumped. I just want to do well since this is my first and I just can't shake the feeling that there is a great name I'm not thinking of. By the way Mr. Bloomer, thanks for the spelling tip! That is a good way to think of it. Again, I really appreciate both of you taking the time to respond to my question.

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