10. Punny Business
I realize this is coming from a guy who named his blog Pr*tty Sh*tty, but that’s why this sits at number ten. Sometimes it’s ok to use a pun, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the reputation or image a business might be trying to build. Salons seem to like puns a lot, who knows why. But Funeral homes are perhaps not well served by this device, even if it’s a family name.
9. Placing the Name
There are countless small businesses that name themselves after the street they’re on, or the neighborhood they’re in. It’s not such a bad idea, except when you move across town. One of my favorite architecture firms is called Leroy Street Studio... they’re on Hester Street, of course.
8. Name Diarrhea
Speaking of architecture firms, even great ones (like the example above) can go a bit overboard with the list of names. Law firms are most guilty of this, I suspect. I get it. You want, or need, to recognize all the partners. But let’s face it, in everyday usage, no one is getting past the first or second name when mentioning your business. So the third, fourth and fifth guys/gals might as well not be there anyway.
7. Thy Neighbor’s Name
It’s a pretty cheap and lazy tactic to steal or imitate the name of another business in order to get some collateral recognition. The countless Ray’s Pizzas in NYC are a great example of how bad this can get. But the other example shown above is one of my favorites: a restaurant one block from the NY Times Building, that even had the gall to use the Times logotype on their canopy, which as you can see they were made to patch over.
6. Dead On Arrival
Let me be clear about this: Heaven is a place you go when you’re F*CKING DEAD! Ergo, you sell dead sh*t. And no, I’m not buying the argument that Burger Heaven is where burger lovers go when they pass on. You’re telling me regular heaven doesn’t have good burgers? Puhlease!
5. Kool Namez
It’s not possible to trademark or register a word from common daily usage, so businesses often change up a word by spelling it with a Z or a K or whatever. It makes sense, but it smacks of trying to be clever, and I still mostly hate it.
4. Xtracted E
Similar to number 5, but in a category of obnoxiousness all its own, is the use of an X in place of an Ex. This became especially prevalent during the rise of extreme sports, and is still a pretty surefire signal that whatever it is, it’s closer to Xcrement than Xtreme.
3. N ‘n’ R Us
Continuing in that vein, businesses often replace an And with an N. It’s not cute. It’s just tired. But even more tired is the poor dead horse that is R Us. The toy store guys own that, so let it go already.
2. Stuff & Things
That Linens-n-Things image for number 3 hits on another of my naming pet peeves. Either decide what you’re selling, or go do something else. Don’t cover your what-might-I-sell-in-the-future ass by tacking on a lazy, catch-all modifier. Did you know Linens-n-Things also sold solid gold anal beads? Right next to the shower curtain rings and novelty plungers. Kinky!
1. Is That a Name in Your Pocket?
Man alive, can I segue or what! Seriously, do I even need to say anything else?
By the way, Lucky Wang is a kids’ clothing store... you can’t make this stuff up.