The naming process of your design studio

Through the story of how Pencilbox found its name possibly others can be inspired.

June 7, 2022


Design education

The naming process of your design studio

Naming Pencilbox Studios

Naming a company takes deep soul searching and headache-producing brain power. It’s important that the name reflects the core of your business philosophy yet you also want a good response from your colleagues. At Pencilbox, we have always been pleased with the response to our name (at least to our faces) from our friends, clients and colleagues.

The development of the Pencilbox name was early in the company’s history but even at this early stage it epitomized the Pencilbox idea of teamwork.

Bill Thompson and I met at a local restaurant with the goal to name our new design studio. We were to come prepared with a list of possible names. This was our third meeting to discuss the name. It was time to finalize. In prior meetings, we  identified the core principles the name should communicate. At this point, Bill and I were not leaving the restaurant until we had a name.

Being Kathleen and a creative director, I was fully prepared with a list of names that were thought out and had a back story.  I read them to Bill explaining the meaning of each—just like a design presentation.

Being Bill, a photographer, comfortable with quick visual recognition, he began to read his ideas. They were a list of free flowing word associations. My first thought was “is he kidding? This was his soul searching?”

But then I heard it. I asked, “Did you say Pencilbox?”

“No, I didn’t,” said Bill, “I said ‘pencil’, then 3 words later, ‘box’.”

It worked, it was simple.

As we discussed the name more, we found that the name reflected our concept for a studio more then we ever thought it could.

Bill and I both believe in strong concepts. Every good idea comes from a sketch, a rough mental sketch or physical sketch that starts with a pencil. For us, the pencil represents the genesis of an idea that eventual grows to a full development and implementation.

Pencilbox has always been about people. Good people. We work with exceptional artists that we call our friends, as well as exceptional clients, we also call our friends. The box in Pencilbox represents the bringing together of creative people into one cohesive group with the objective to do good work—together. Like pencils in a box, willing and waiting to get to work.

We named the studio together. Perfect. Neither of us can lay claim to the name. It was pure collaboration that in the end belongs to the studio and all who work within Pencilbox.

Our name is a core commitment to a philosophy of good work, good clients and good success.

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