What Makes a Bad Name Bad?

It gives me no pleasure to discover brands with bad names. I believe every company and product deserves a distinctive, memorable name — and no company deserves a name that’s embarrassing or awkward.

What makes a bad name bad? Well, unlike Tolstoy’s unhappy families, each bad name is not bad in its own unique way. Rather, badness follows trends, and bad names beget copycat bad names. Here are the badness patterns I see most frequently.

Counterintuitive spelling. A coined name like Nyoombl needs to be pronounced phonetically (if at all), but it isn’t — not by…