Halo: Naming

We were hired to develop the name and visual language for Halo, an app we built and designed for Dealers1. It's now available in the App Store.

The naming process began with some focused discussion about the product’s value proposition, which centered around making car ownership better. Our client had already done a lot of solid research around how best to position their product as part of the car buying process. Our initial plan was to help clarify their observations and begin to turn these insights into a clear brand identity, which included visual identity, logo design, and app design. Naming the product was one of the first crucial steps of that process.

Key Characteristics: Define the Sandbox

We led our client through exercises that helped them articulate the qualities that best embody their product. This is a highly abstract part of the process and, while often challenging, can  help narrow the conceptual sandbox that the product lives in. We came away with the following key characteristics:

- delightful / fun

- personal

- practical

- promising

- lovable

Set the Mood

We provided our client with three discrete mood board directions to begin to determine the look and feel of the app and also to provide a springboard for ideas about other ways the app should be represented in structure, design, and copy. Each of the directions seeks to articulate a general visual language for the app based on the established key characteristics.

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Produce… A Lot!

Our rule of thumb is to generate as many names as time permits. With our tight deadline, we came up with several hundred. We met several times with the client to present our recommendations, along with rationale, as well as our runner-up names. We also provided the client with an online platform for ongoing discussion so we could capture their thinking around our work. This exchange provided a vital forum for collaboration and expanded the insights into how they view their product, the car dealers selling it, and their end-consumers.

Test Your Theories

After much discussion, and some feedback from our client's legal advisor, we had a handful of candidate names. In an effort to come to consensus, we agreed to look at how the best three names might be envisioned in an icon, logo, and on-boarding screens. These distinct, but related, design directions, combined with copy that reenforces the naming concept, help to show how the name helps to position the product and provides an additional anchor for the concept.

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Keep the Process Flexible

The process of testing the front-runner names didn't exactly follow the neat linear path we had envisioned. Instead, we found ourselves at an impasse. Far from stopping work, an impasse can be crucial in steering additional discussion and fine-tuning a concept. In this case, one of the names that did not make it past the first round was given new life. Suggesting protection, a guardian looking out for you, safety, security, peace of mind, and a trusted advisor, the name "Halo" added nuance to the key characteristics that positioned the product in an ideal way for our client.