Naming products can be a fun exercise. New projects start to feel tangible and “real” when they are given a proper title. The importance of a good product name is obvious, but in time any meaning fades away and it simply becomes a symbol for the product. Take the iPad, for example. Remember how many people hated the name when it was introduced? Fast forward a couple years, and no one thinks twice about it.
For our new iPhone app, Tom and I settled on the name “Frames” quickly. It sounded nice, spoke equally to time-lapse and stop motion techniques, and had a style that fit nicely alongside other Apple apps (e.g. Numbers, Pages).
Two days after launching the app to the world, we received an email from the CEO of a company called Tech4Learning, who make software targeting the educational sector. Incidentally, they too have an app called Frames, which is for — surprise surprise — creating stop motion animations. It has been around since 2006.
Hearing about the existence of this app was a real punch in the gut. We were backed into a corner, and it was completely our fault. A simple trademark search would have revealed that “Frames” was already taken.
After some hemming and hawing, we realized that the only reasonable course of action was to change the app name. So, after even more deliberation, we picked “Frameographer.” Although we really loved “Frames,” we have grown to love “Frameographer” as well. The fact that it is a unique, invented word also offers some advantages, including our ability to “own” it, in a matter of speaking.
Usually it’s not a great idea to change the name of a product after it’s out in the wild, but in this case we didn’t have much of a choice. We suspect though, after a brief transitional period, customers will love the new name as much as we do. And then, after a bit more time, the name will simply become a symbol for the product.
Frameographer is available as a 1.1 update, which includes the name change as well as a few other minor improvements. Go get it!
March 22, 2012 / 6 notes