7. Use sounds to create a brand personality.
Sound symbolism can convey a range of desired qualities. For instance, names with “hard” consonants—like Jack and Kurt—come across as more testosterone-y than names like Ralph or Jeffrey. On the other hand, names like Ava, Isabella, Mia—among the most popular girls’ names of 2009—have a graceful, light feeling, thanks to open vowels and soft consonants (the cushiony “v” and lilting “l”).
8. Make it easy to spell.
Grace. Brandon. Jacob. If you look at the most popular boys’ and girls’ names of the last decade, most of them are intuitive to say and spell. There’s a reason for that. You don’t want your child to be forever spelling her or his name for people. Think Madison vs. Madyson. Katelyn vs. Kaitlyne. Erica vs. Erykah.
9. Exercise care when recycling old brands.
Well-worn names that have been around for decades—or in some cases, even a few years—can have some pretty musty baggage. If you want to use the name of a relative or ancestor and it’s an old-fashioned one, consider freshening it or giving it a new twist. Edie instead of Edwina. Gene instead of Eugene. Skyler instead of Schuyler—you get the idea. You’ll still be paying homage to your ancestry—but your child won’t be paying penance.
10. Avert public relations disasters.
Kids can be cruel; don’t saddle yours with a name that lends itself to embarrassing nicknames or jokes. Consider the initials of first and last names together; possible homonyms (a colleague was almost named Dustin Uriah); closeness in spelling to other, less savory words; historical and cultural associations (Adolf or Hannibal: not), etc. And it
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