How important is your name?
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    Question How important is your name?

    This might seem like a odd/silly question, but it's one I've been seriously wondering about lately.. How important is uniqueness in your name for branding purposes as an illustrator/artist? I'm not good enough to consider myself having a 'career' yet, but someday when I am, I'm worried about having such a common name (both first AND last - we're talking as common as the name 'Smith' or 'Jones' would be) and was wondering if maybe branding myself under something like a pseudonym or a nickname would be more helpful in making me easier to find?

    When I google my name, I pull up at least five or six other artists/illustrators, a few photographers, a musician, etc. If people do wind up googling me down the line, trying to find my main site, they're going to have a heck of a time..

    Is this something anyone else has had to deal with? It is anything I should even be considering doing? I know your artwork should be what hook people and not your name so much, but I would think that having a slightly more unusual (not necessarily hard to spell or anything, just less common) would help people in finding you and remembering you (aside from your artwork).

    Thoughts?

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    I've never attempted to sell my art or even so much as put together a website, so I can't speak from professional experience, but my sense tells me:

    Is it going to kill you to have a really common name? No.

    Will you still be able to make a decent career out of art, in spite of a common name, so long as your other factors are accounted for and you've got the skill? Yes.

    Will it perhaps make it a little more difficult for your name to stick in people's minds, or make it harder for people to find your website and know it belongs to you? Yes.

    Is it going to amount to more than an occassional inconvenience? Probably not anymore than it has for the other aspects of your life.

    I changed my last name when I got married, and I'm giving very serious consideration to changing my first. But I just like creating things, and feel that every aspect of my life needs to be something I've created or had a hand in.

    It's nice to have a unique name. But do what feels best for you. It's your name, it's more than just the thing people call you. It's what you sign your checks with, the name you see on all your mail, your website, your emails. Do what you must to be happy with it.

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    LORD M is offline That guy from the cheer me up thread Level 13 Gladiator: Retiarius
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    Carl Larson is one of Swedens most loved and known artists, and both his forename and surname are like on the top 5 of most common names. The person behind the name is what really matters.

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    thank god no one has my name............

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    You're young and female, right? Make sure you marry someone with an interesting last name.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Well put it this way, 'Android' is more memorable than Andrew Jones. However, I was able to recall his pretty common sounding name aswell. But then I think thats because his pseudonym still has the essence of his name in it.

    What I'm trying to say is personally I think it would be a good idea to use a penname, such as Intrinsik, but if you feel like its not personal enough then make a new one based around your name. Works for Two Listen

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    @ Elwell - I'm already married and my married name is wicked common. So was my maiden name - I didn't trade up in that respect. LOL

    @ Two and Lord - you both have good points. I know the name isn't what sells the art so much as the art itself. However, in the case of Carl Larson, there probably weren't a ton of other Swedish artists who had his name so the pool was a lot more shallow, despite the common name. I've got at least several other artists/illustrators that people would be pulling up when they are trying to find just me. (Especially since so much is done online these days, it just seems like a problem when it comes to new clients or trying to network, etc.)

    I wouldn't be changing my actual name for day-to-day life -- I actually like my name. I was just thinking something a little more catchy/unique for branding, specifically.

    @ Sulphur - Android was the one who actually started the thought process. Well, not entirely.. It was when I started looking at domain names and couldn't find ANYTHING close to being easy to remember that involved my name or my name and any sort of combination of it and words like 'art' or 'illustration' or 'design' etc. They're all taken. (So, unless I came up with something more unique or abstract, it was a no-go.) I knew that Andrew Jones was a fairly common name, but the name Android does stick in the brain. (It also goes well with his style so it's all easy to remember as a whole.) So, I was thinking if I came up with a pseudonym or a nickname it might help in making me easier to find/remember when I try to network and such.

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    For what it's worth I've come to know you by your screenname well enough.

    The way I see it, you don't need to worry on it. Just make sure your website url isn't www.jennielastname.com

    Come up with a website URL that suits you, and totally kick ass. Get some nice business cards made up with your URL clearly printed on them, perhaps even in a little bigger text than your first/last name, and you'll be fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by intrinsik View Post
    @ Elwell - I'm already married and my married name is wicked common. So was my maiden name - I didn't trade up in that respect. LOL
    Too bad. You should have both changed your name to something cool. Mr. and Mrs. Wolverine-Lightsaber, for example.


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    @Elwell - HA! That would actually be appropriate. I loved Marvel comics as a kid and my husband is a huge Star Wars geek.

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    I too suffer from the common name problem, made worse by the fact that my first name is a slightly-less-common variant spelling. My solution was to use my initials, which leaves a much smaller margin for error and is a bit easier to remember. (I think)

    The one good thing about my name is that I share it, down to the middle initial, with Ash from Evil Dead. That always made me feel slightly more bad-ass by association.

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    My last name isn't so common, but that only means people tend to screw up the pronunciation. :/

    Another thing you can do is to create a unique studio name. Even if you are a one person team, like me, you can still be called a studio. Many people do this, and at least that will start a brand-name of sorts for your work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LORD M View Post
    The person behind the name is what really matters.
    BLASPHEMY!



    On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.
    - George Orwell


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
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    I think pseudonyms are a great idea! Be creative and come up with one you like. But if going under a fake name feels weird to you, don't.

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    You could always do it like the UFC fighters do and insert your pseudonym in between your first and last name. For example Jane "Intrinsik" Doe.

    As far as names go I got lucky or unlucky considering my name is John Conner.

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    I think it's important to a certain extent and definitely avoids confusion in the future, not crazy pen names like some artists use in Japan but a portmanteau of two names may work better.

    Even Moebius uses his real name for the western (read cowboys) work to avoid confusion with his science-fiction work to which he uses a different drawing style.

    Also to all the people who say a common name isn't important, what if you were named Dave Lynch? Would you go with it or choose a different name? Yeah thought so.

    Last edited by Portus; September 5th, 2010 at 10:29 AM.
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    I like the idea of a different name that acts as kind of a "brand name" for you as an artist.

    I use both names though. Everything online tends to be Ivory, but then I use my real name when dealing with people (like if I meet someone, I don't say "Hi, I'm Ivory"... or if I send an email, i use my real name).

    I think the name you use can help frame the first impression people get of you.

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    Well, the problem with my name is that it's fairly uncommon and non-scandinavians would probably have trouble both spelling and pronouncing it

    So I figure I'll just go with some sort of catchy alias or something.

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    I've been wondering about this too... My name isn't too wierd or too common (Ian Barker), so I think I could get away with "ianbarkerart.com" or something. An alias/studio name would be a lot more fun, but I'm afraid that I would grow out of whatever name I chose in a few years and be stuck with it.

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    Everyone has some really great points.. I definitely have to think about this a bit and try to decide how I want to handle things. I'd like to get big decisions like this out of the way before I actually get good enough to start networking/putting myself out there for a career. (I think it's good to know a definitive direction for where you're taking things before you start trying to do important things, that way there's never any confusion from the get-go. That being said, I've got a while to think about things. XD)

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    I'm a 64-year-old hairy fat guy named "Mary" who looks like a serial killer/unmade bed in a cheap wh*re house. What should I do to become more memorable to the buying public?

    No position or belief, whether religious, political or social, is valid if one has to lie to support it.--Alj Mary

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    I'm a 64-year-old hairy fat guy named "Mary" who looks like a serial killer/unmade bed in a cheap wh*re house. What should I do to become more memorable to the buying public?
    Wear a bow tie.

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    When I was younger kids made fun of my name. Now I just get that "that cant be your REAL name?". I always wanted to change my name because it is so uncommon and it means something (easy to pull jokes). My last name is even more rare. Only recently I've started to appreciate my name and I'm starting to see the benefits.

    To anybody with a common name and dont like it...be creative with it?

    Rihanna - real name Robyn Rihanna Fenty
    Erykah Badu - real name Erica Abi Wright
    Tori Amos - real name Myra Ellen Amos
    James Blunt - real name James Hillier Blount
    John Legend - real name John Stephens
    KiD CuDi - real name Scott Ramon Seguri Mescudi
    Pete Rock - real name Peter Phillips

    ..ya know?

    My name is Lumi and I want to be associated with the name Lumisade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Too bad. You should have both changed your name to something cool. Mr. and Mrs. Wolverine-Lightsaber, for example.
    Thanks, that gave me a good laugh


    But all seriousness though. Although my name isn't that unique, I intentionally choose to use my real name when making all my professional or art related accounts such as this so that my name gets asociated with my work and my personality.

    I'm kinda quiet in person but I'm told its hard to forget a red head so guess I got lucky there

    Last edited by Amber Alexander; September 6th, 2010 at 02:56 AM.
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    Well type my name into a search engine and you come up with:

    English Footballer
    American President
    This lad singing on Britains Got Talent
    The all the others are the president and footballer again...

    So I was thinking instead of Andrew Bloody hell Johnson I would have Anjoh. Just dont knick it, ya see? But to be honest I was thinking about developing my own company with its name becoming popular instead, i'm shy that way Always jumped when someone said my name and i didn't know them.

    And yes my CA name has no relevance to any of my art. In fact I thought it up because I was fed up of the gamer immature name 'fl3wk'. And at the time I was drawing anatomy. I wanted Wrist, but had to have Rist.

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    Andrew Johnson...? You own a large lumber industry in New England, then? You must be my dad's old boss!

    Yes, I can see where a common first-and-last-name could be kind of a nuisance... Almost like having a recycled name... A company name might be good, even if it's just a company of one. It looks more official, you know?

    (I admit I most definitely don't have this problem. How many people are named "Gwenevere"?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    (I admit I most definitely don't have this problem. How many people are named "Gwenevere"?)
    You're lucky in that respect. Everyone and their sister who was born in the 80's around here was named Jennifer. XD

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    Andrew Johnson...? You own a large lumber industry in New England, then? You must be my dad's old boss!

    Yes, I can see where a common first-and-last-name could be kind of a nuisance... Almost like having a recycled name... A company name might be good, even if it's just a company of one. It looks more official, you know?

    (I admit I most definitely don't have this problem. How many people are named "Gwenevere"?)
    Well I guess your popular in Fantasy novels

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    I do both. I use my real name for a lot of stuff (including my CA account), because it's somewhat unique just in the way it's spelled... I do have "Painted Sky Illustration & Design" as a registered company that I run all my freelance through, though.

    Having the name "Karyl" growing up, and always having teachers say "Karol" instead of "Karl"... You can imagine the other kids thought it was so funny. I got used to it though, doesn't bother me... In fact, I now enjoy having a slightly more unique name.

    And although I agree that it would be nice to have things squared away before you start putting yourself and your work "out there", don't overthink it. If you have to change your name or your company name, these things can and have been done, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

    Last edited by KarylGilbertson; September 7th, 2010 at 09:26 AM.
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