What's in a name?

How did these five companies choose their names?

T12 logo with famous logos

We are all bombarded with hundreds of company names and logos every day, but do you ever think about the story behind their names?

Some companies spend millions on methodical naming and branding excercises, whereas some pick something that feels right. However, some actually fall flat on their name.

Have you ever experienced how challenging it can be picking a name for something you love, a child, a pet or something dear to you? The decision has the long term implications and sets in stone the very first step in the relationship.

You'd think that it's just as agonising naming a company. Right?

Well, the answer is not so straightforward. Some companies spend millions on methodical naming and branding exercises, whereas some pick something that feels right. However, some actually fall flat on their... name.

Below are the interesting stories behind some of the biggest and most well-known companies' names.

1. IKEA ( The familiar )

IKEA logo

Agunnaryd welcome roadsign

IKEA was founded by Ingvar Kamprad, who was 17 years old at the time.

The Swedish teenager found inspiration for the name from taking pieces of his own life, literally. IKEA combines the first initial of his first name, the first initial of his last name, the first letter of his childhood farm (Elmtaryd), and the first letter of his hometown (Agunnaryd). Putting all the letters together is arguably much easier than building some of their trademark furniture.

2. T12 Consultancy ( Say what you see )

T12 consultancy logo

T12 was founded by six engineers with extensive experience in the engineering and techncial sectors. Once we agreed to form the company Hamish, Andy, Roy, Deryk, Graham and Richard headed our for some food and light refreshments to celebrate the occasion.

Restaurant table with reserved sign

We discussed legalities, structure, financials and finally....... name.

Silence fell around the table.

Graham who was holding the silver table marker in his hand said "how about T12... table 12".

There was a pause followed by quiet contemplation. Everyone began to nod, T12 began to feel right, It sounded familiar. A quick check verified that it was available and the web domain was free and spelled correctly!

We tucked back into our food and switched the focus to other details about the workings of T12. The rest as they say, is history.

3. GOOGLE ( The mistake )

Google logo

The name “Google” was coined by Stanford students Sean Anderson & Larry Page. Based on a type-o of the word Googol, the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Image of abacus

They checked to see if the Googol domain name was taken, but mistakenly searched for “” instead of “” After realising the mistake they decided that Google sounded better and the domain name was registered on September 15, 1997.

4. PEPSI ( The science )

Pepsi log

Scientific equipment

The Pepsi founders named their world famous product is after the digestive enzyme pepsin. Pepsin is one of the main digestive enzymes in the digestive systems of humans and many other animals, where it helps digest the proteins in food.

5. LEGO ( The literal )

Lego logo

Lego is a mashup of the Danish phrase “leg godt,” which means play well.

Children playing with lego

The LEGO Group was the brainchild of Ole Kirk Kristiansen, who founded the company in 1932. Much like its hardwearing product LEGO has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder.

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