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How to name your design firm

One the first things you must consider when starting your new architectural firm, is what to name it. The choices are varied and the ramifications staggering. If the personality of the firm is going to be projected by the name, you had better take it seriously – every one else will. That’s where Life of an Architect can help (not really) – because I am a creative and critical thinker and somebody has to think about these things.

Originally, before architects were licensed professionals and to add some credibility to the profession to help distinguish themselves from the other trade crafts (like carpenters and contractors), architecture firms turned to law firms as an example and starting stringing together the last names of the founding individuals or partners (i.e. McKim, Mead & White). This method is still wildly used simply because it is the easiest albeit least creative method. It doesn’t take much to recognize that some of the older more established firms have chosen this method:

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Safe? Boring? I don’t know but maybe classic is a better word  – at worst these certainly aren’t very exciting, nor do they display the panache and overwhelming creativity that many of the younger firms are trying to project. Eventually, as the initial leadership

retires and the next wave of partners take over, the names are reduced down to initials to help ease that transition. Here is a consideration for you: In the beginning when you open your doors for business, everybody gets to work with the person whose name is on the door. After a while, if you have experienced some measure of success, new clients will invariably meet with a variety of people who don’t have your name and those clients are going to wonder why are they not getting you? Despite the talents of the people they are dealing with, they came to Bob Borson Architects … so why aren’t they getting Bob Borson? (And really, who doesn’t think that ?) There is a methodology I am working on to help you make your decision and it is based on a practice perfected by the owners of Chinese restaurants and Multi-family apartment complexes.

If you are going to have a Chinese restaurant, you have to work with certain words. The way this works is that you must have at least two of the following words used in any combination:

Panda,  Dragon,  Gate,  Royal,  Jade,  Happy Golden,  Garden,  Wok,  Lucky,  China .

starting with, or followed by:

Restaurant,  Buffet,  Super,  Caf

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