Coming Up With Names for a Startup – Piktochart

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This is a short candid post about the naming process of Piktochart. I am Ching (co founder) and I’m also a mentor at Founder’s Institute and recently shared a presentation about naming a startup.

“Do’s and Dont’s” with Naming

In my recent presentation in Kuala Lumpur, there were some short notes that I pointed about naming:

  • Maximum of 2 syllables, e.g. bay-leaf
  • Try not to have nonsensical words, e.g. “boodoo”
  • Combine 2 words together to form the best names, e.g. “air” + “bnb” or “drop” + “box”
  • Does not exceed 10 characters in total
  • Exists as a .com

The irony of Piktochart

The funny thing is that Piktochart actually broke 3 out of 5 rules above, i.e.:

  • Maximum of 2 syllables, e.g. ba-be-bi
  • Try not to have nonsensical words, e.g. “boodoo”
  • Combine 2 words together to form the best names, e.g. “air” + “bnb” or “drop” + “box”

Why did We Break Our Own (Naming) Rules?

The answer is not a mystery: It was our first startup and we all got driven to over-drive when it came to excitement- the harder you think about something, the more difficult it is. There are some funny comments that users wrote in regards to the name:

  • “Sounds like a fuzzy ball that came out of Pokemon”
  • “Piktogram, Pictograph, Pick-a-what?”

We came up with a list of about 100 names but rejected most of them because the .com’s were not available.
🙂 When we finally had a “Eureka moment”, it was because Andrea (technical co founder) had an obsession with a “Picross” game on Nintendo DS at that time. It’s a game where you can basically “knock” tiny blocks based on mathematical calculation to come up with a final picture (available in 2D and 3D). We loved the representation of many tiny little blocks coming up to a big final picture, like 1 picture speaks a thousand pixels.

From Pictochart, (pick-to-chart), it morphed to piktochart.
Piktochart Infographic Picross

The funny part is, we found that with all the “mis-spellings” and different formats of Piktochart, the name still manages to stick in the user’s head. (Proof? We looked at Google Insight Trends). What broke 60% of naming rules, actually managed to stick around for time to come.

Have fun naming your startup. We had loads with ours.