Saturation of typeface names... what is different enough?

On enough occasions, I've been a little disappointed to find that a name I like for a new typeface has already been used. With the saturation of the market having so many fonts, it can be a challenge to not only think of a fitting name but to also do enough searching to see if it's available and find that it actually is. Of course, I could make up a word or alter the spelling of it that's not common, but sometimes a common word is nice. (I know you see this in business and other industries in general.)

So I'm wondering, what seems passable for making a name different enough if it's already in use in some form. For example (making this up): I might like the name Leafy, but it's already out there on a free font site (no ™ or anything). So would Leafy Script or Leafy Sans be enough to claim it without any real issues (assuming it's not too similar looking)?


  • I don't know about "issues" but in this case I'd come up with a better name. Take some risks and come up with something that's not already taken and perhaps even more memorable instead of "passable". 

    Sometimes you'll think of the perfect name for a font but it's taken so you have to give it up. That's just the way it is. I've come up with hundreds of font names. Some good, some bad. If you think of a perfect name, 99% of the time someone has already used it. Cross it off the list and move on.  I think piggybacking someone else's name is a half-assed effort. Or when people add initials at the end of an existing font's name. It's a poor effort. Spend a few hours, if you can't come up with something better that's a dictionary word, construct synthetic words. Compound pieces of place names. Use online synthetic word generators. Use a scrabble dictionary and reconstruct pieces of words to showcase certain letters. Naming is hard. There's a book called Wordcraft that you might find inspirational.
  • Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 246
    edited September 2018
    Agree, thanks Ray. Appreciate you expanding on it and pushing for something memorable and fitting. I've run into it too and had to press in further to develop a good name, giving some up and moving on. A "Passable" name may not have been the best description, as I think I'm referring more to the case of a common word (that just seemed right and had a nice showcase of letters) being used by a free font that has low visibility and support. But I suppose in the end, the name may already be taken, and to keep pressing. Thanks for the suggestions for name development techniques too.
  • Here's what I use to come up with ideas to showcase certain letters. It's also handy when making specimens and you need words that show off ligatures.
    A2Z Wordfinder
  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    edited September 2018
    Also something to consider: A free item may attract more attention than a commercial item, possibly steering your potential customers in the wrong direction.

  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 751
    edited September 2018
    I have copywriter skills besides my font design ones, so I always take care to find the rarest possible name to increase product recognition:

    These will be available shortly for Halloween. WIP title of the right one was halloweenie but that was taken ;)
  • Nice, thanks for the link @Ray Larabie will check it out.

    Good point @Frode .
  • Cool, thanks Matthew.
  • I project that by 2050 every possible name will be trademarked. The world will end not in nuclear war or by global warming but in a protracted, all-consuming, legal battle.
  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Perhaps that’s why they’ve written, “Am I missing your existing typeface name? Add it here or let me know!”

    Because if you look at their about page you can see where their data is largely pulled from. It may be worth submitting all of your font names to further contribute to the resource and help ensure someone doesn’t accidentally create a font with the same or similar name (i.e. “Trillon”).

    Also worth noting that when you follow the link in “you might want to check other sources ( to be sure. Do this now.” that your font is the first result.
  • André G. Isaak

     hE7485yUJqvz Regular
     hE7485yUJqvz Italic
     hE7485yUJqvz Bold
     hE7485yUJqvz Bold Italic
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 626
    edited September 2018
    Sorry, Ray, but that is a registered trademark of fhsdjafgdjsz LLC. (though whether fhsdjafgdjsz LLC survives its lawsuits from the other three fhsdjafgdjsz LLCs remains to be seen).

  • Invent new words or turn to Czech or Lithuanian vocabularies.
    To be on the safe side.
  • André G. IsaakAndré G. Isaak Posts: 626
    edited September 2018
    The Czech Republic has a fairly active type community. You’re much better off turning to Warlpiri or Pirahã. Or one of the aboriginal languages of Svalbard.
  • I know words, I have the best words.
  • Here is my idea : Latin names of plants are infinite and sometimes very poetic. Click on any family name and you will find a lot of beautiful things.
  • notdefnotdef Posts: 168
    edited September 2018
    I’m sorry to say there are no aboriginal languages on Svalbard. The closest you get is Russenorsk, a pidgin of Russian and Norwegian from the heydays of Barents Sea whaling.
  • There are a great many aboriginal languages on Svalbard. It’s just that no one has ever spoken them which is why it is so hard to find any information about them...
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