Difficult Names = Bad?

Lets try a little experiment. (Try to) read this.

Sykhronics Entertainment

Anyone that’s followed my work probably won’t be miffed by that mean looking first word. But if you stuck around, you stuck around for my work, not my clever name. You probably have your own pronunciation of it too. I’ve certainly heard some interesting ones from telemarketers that whois’d my domains for a phone number.

Lets see if we are thinking the same thing. Here’s me saying it.

How did we do? Drop me a comment.

That crazy invented word “Sykhronics” is something I came up with some 9 years ago, in 1998 I believe. At the time, Gamma Flare Games just didn’t seem cool anymore. It’s been a branding for personal productions, and when I started my own company, it became my company name. Having worked under the branding for so many years, I never really thought about it twice. I simply saw that registering it as a business was the next logical step.

Oh, and it has a silent “H”. Whodathunk.

To me, the name sounds (sounded?) cool. Kinda like a bastardization of Psi or psyche and electronics. Brain or mind technology, or something. Growing up a nerd, you tend not to be the cool kid, so you invent your own cool.

But you see, I was generally oblivious to the idea that difficult names are hard to say. You see, I have another difficult name to deal with. My own last name. Kasprzak. Spell check likes to tell me that I spelled Kasparov wrong. Here’s how my family says it.

I’m sure the Polish have their own pronunciation, but this is the Canadianese bastardization my family and I use.

There are pluses to obscure names. If it’s not too similar to anything people have heard before, then it becomes memorable. But that’s the trick. Lets take a fictional company, Muttant Games. Without a dog for a logo, you might miss the “Mutt” aspect. If you have any sort of comic or cartoon background, you probably see it as Mutant Games. But in fact, you were being clever, so your logo is a deformed dog thing. This is a pretty tame case.

But lets hop over a more obscure. Xanyatkiera Industries. WTF!? It’s nearly as bad as one of those ridiculously bad sci-fi names with all the apostrophes (Nak’tyla’i of Zya’ka’dal’ee). If anything, I’m just trying to encourage people stay away from the obscure.

That goes for character names too, not just companies. There’s something to be said for the clarity of phonetically consistent names. I don’t know about most people, but if I come across an Apostrophe Name, I tend to glare away and make something up that matches the apostrophe pattern. That’s bad for storytelling, as it’s a strike against your immersion. My apologies to the lizard people and aliens that do have them in their names, but you can find an adaptation that’ll please everyone if you try. Spaces, extra e’s, whatever.

Back to companies, picking a name that’s available in .com form is ideal, since it’ll only cost you $8 to claim your professionalism. Obviously the more obscure you get, the better the chances it’s available. There’s a reason catfish.com is taken, but fishycat.com isn’t (*yoink*).

Names are important. Just a few a things things to consider, before you end up beginning every business meeting with the pronunciation game.