Agencies, Labs, Studios, Media, Interactive and Creatives: The Many Names Of A Design Business

We’ve all seen them (and probably use them) – extensions of your company name. Agencies, Labs, Creatives and many others are used as a way to set us apart, but how far apart are we, really?

More and more you see designers straying away from the traditional “design” at the end of their company name (ie: Some Name Design) and picking up one of the many words in circulation today (ie: Kick Ass Agency, Awesome Labs, Insane Creative, and so on).

So, with so many people using these name extensions, how original do they become when they’re put together with countless others who utilize the same name extension?

That’s what I hope to find out in today’s post. Below are sections that showcase portfolio websites that use the various names listed above. If you’ve got any to add, feel free to drop a comment and let us know – and don’t forget to let us know what you think about the use of these descriptive words in company names.

Websites That Use The Agency Name

HALO Creative Agency ↓

HALO Creative Agency

Red Interactive Agency ↓

Red Interactive Agency

Ola Interactive Agency ↓

Ola Interactive Agency

The Other Design Agency ↓

The Other Design Agency

Blue Ink Agency ↓

Blue Ink Agency

Websites That Use The Labs Name

PixelLab ↓

pixellab

Mutant Labs ↓

Mutant Labs

Radium Labs ↓

Radium Labs

Revelate Labs ↓

Revelate Labs

Pop Labs ↓

Pop Labs

Websites That Use The Media Name

Riser Media ↓

Riser Media

NueMedia ↓

Nuemedia

The House Media ↓

The House Media

Jump Media ↓

Jump Media

New Business Media ↓

New Business Media

Websites That Use The Studio Name

The Solid Studios ↓

The Solid Studios

Zulsdesign Studio ↓

Zulsdesign Studio

Full Fat Studios ↓

Full Fat Studios

Frish Design Studio ↓

Frish Design Studio

Miceli Studios ↓

Miceli Studios

Websites That Use The Creative Name

Phynk Creative ↓

phynk-creative

Phunk’n Creative ↓

Phunkn Creative

Steve Mullen Creative ↓

Steve Mullen Creative

iHook Creative ↓

iHook Creative

Armada Creative ↓

Armada Creative

Websites That Use The Interactive Name

Davier Interactive ↓

Davier Interactive

Unit Interactive ↓

Unit Interactive

Rockfish Interactive ↓

Rockfish Interactive

Tracermedia Interactive ↓

Tracermedia Interactive

Lift Interactive ↓

Lift Interactive

What I Found Out

I found out that a couple of these names are still much less common than others. The most used (from what I’ve seen while researching this post) is that the STUDIOS name is the number 1 used name out there right now. Coming in a close second is MEDIA. The next in line are all of the Creative websites out there.

Another thing I noticed was that some websites are utilizing a combo of the above names, which seems a bit overkill in my opinion. I think by doing that, you’re grouping yourself with two separate groups of design names, thus making your site twice as common. But maybe that’s just me.

What Do You Think?

We would love to know your thoughts on the topic – are these names becoming another cliche that the design community uses (similar to the 3d rounded tabs, bokeh effect and other trends in web design)? Or are there reasons for using those names?

I’m very curious to hear your thoughts on this. Does your company uses one of the above mentioned words? And if so, why did you go with that instead of another word? :)

Comments

  1. says

    This is an interesting thought. I think it results from a few people adopting a new word like “labs” or “creative”. Then these ideas are adopted by others. I wonder what the next suffix will be. Any thoughts people?

  2. says

    Interesting topic. I think this depends a lot from domain name availability. The “design” have been used a lot in the past and many agencies have been looking for other available domain names to get a great url.
    What do you think?

  3. says

    I suppose those descriptors mean anything to anybody, however, to ME there are some differences:

    “Agency” is typically related to an “advertising agency”, so whether they do traditional or digital media, the goal is to advertise. Agencies (although there are some exceptions, even in your examples) are generally large organizations.

    “Studio” has generally been used by small organizations (and even individuals) and are generally associated with “design”. Having lived in both worlds, there is a definitive difference between design and advertising shops.

    “Interactive” is, of course, interactive. Although many companies that do cross-media work still call themselves interactive, which is not a good thing. Probably a remnant of the dot-com era.

    “Creative” is just a blanket term that can mean anything. It’s probably also somewhat limiting since a lot of the services provided by creative shops are not creative (i.e. analytics, development, media).

    “Media” would probably relate to “multimedia”. The name media (again, to me) implies a strong focus on digital and perhaps motion graphics.

  4. says

    This is a great list and a nice research. Brainstorming name ideas is fun, but when it comes time for making the decision on one – well, that’s another story. Thanks for this post!

  5. says

    Great timing with this post, as I’m currently trying to separate my freelance work from my personal website and am having a hard time deciding which “extension” to use.

    I like design, media and creative studio, but I agree that they’re all overused. I also agree with other commenters that agency brings to mind advertising and interactive should only be used by companies that actually deal with interactive media. What I do involves web design, development, copy editing, etc.

    What about “works” or “online”, such as “John Doe Works” or “Sally Online”? I’m starting to see these two extensions used more and more.

    Would love to hear your thoughts.

  6. says

    Thanks for the post. It is hard figuring out what to name your business especially when you are trying to find a name that will attract and not confuse clients. @Alex Villegas thanks for the breakdown and explanation. I had decided to go with studio and I am glad I did.

  7. says

    While those suffixes are creative and popular, I choose not to go that route no matter how I’m pressured to.

    I guess it’s because I’m just one freelancer with a business, but I find it awkward to call my business an agency or something like that. I mean, it’s just me and only me creating your website.

    I say, if you really want to stand out, come up with a name that doesn’t have agency, creative or media at the end of it. Be unique and memorable!

  8. says

    Extensions help to define what the business does.

    Interactive implies their is a focus on application development and things like flash based websites. Labs implies that the business is more focused on the development aspect of things. Agencies are usually advertising design agencies. Of course these extensions are not always used for these meanings, but we believe the extension you choose should be something that most closely relates to what the main focus is behind your business.

    We chose “studios” for our name (Velora Studios) because we are a multimedia design studio. Besides web and print design we things like music and video production. The term studio is timeless in comparison to some of these other terms and makes sense with any part of our business (ie: video production studio, recording studio, design studio).

  9. says

    I took the approach that I project manage web applications as well as design for print and online, I used “Information Services” coupled with a zulu word instead of the other, more traditional names, i.e. studios etc.

    Probably not the best example, but hopefully one that people will remember.

  10. says

    ive also seen variations of “Works” like “werks” or “werx”

    i chose “design” as my tag because it seemed to flow best with my name and old west/outlaw brand identity

  11. says

    Yep…sounds about right…I use media for my company, but mainly because I want to see it progress to a full blown media company (music, tv, movies, video games, print). Good article though.

  12. says

    Thanks for this insight … never thought about that before.
    How about “Creative Interactive-Media Studio-Agency Design-Labs” – I’d say: Buzzword-Bingo. At least it was great until it became a trend.
    Sure a lot of these are partly SEO driven even if the searchin’one would just hit something like agency upfront.
    At the end it just has to fit the owners taste and shouldn’t be too difficult to remember. Did a lousy job on this myself … but hey, its unique ;)

  13. says

    How about ‘Solutions’ as an extension? It can be applicable to any business? Also long as you provide realistic solutions to clients :)

  14. says

    Interesting. If I were less lazy and more data-talented, it’d be funny to track this trend over the past decade.

    makes me want to a similar post on agency self-positioning buzzwords.

    Social business and c-word – that is, “CONVERSATION” has to be topping the list these days. Hopefully viral and guerilla have died natural deaths.

  15. says

    Speaking from personal experience, branding yourself and creating a name can be one of the hardest things you’re faced with as a creative. Much in the same way that I refuse to get a tattoo made from one of my illustrations (because looking at my style 10 years ago versus where its developed to now is an eye opener), you should try to focus on ways to stay fresh and adapt with the changing styles in the design world.

    Hopefully the content and services someone offers aren’t overshadowed by a choice in the naming conventions. In my opinion, the content should drive the focus.

    That being said – Nice post!

  16. says

    @Prashant: You are right about that. Solutions is applicable extension to most web business. Each web professional has a role to solve a problem a business is facing.

    I may just think about adding Solutions to the end of my business’ name (:

  17. says

    Nice to see some excellent websites for design agencies. There are some out there getting away with Murder. Our design companies name is “Mushroom Digital” I think digital is a good extension as we know what it represents but it doesn’t fit into an exact category.

  18. says

    I work at a Media place. I was hoping this article would explain the different connotations to using a different extension. Like, we do print and web and other advertising related business, so Media fits as a catch-all. I think Labs sounds like more technical, experimental stuff, naturally. And Design is very straightforward, but also generic and common as you say. I’d want to pick the extension that gave the best description of my business. The stand-out part has to come more from other branding because there aren’t many name options it seems.

  19. says

    Thanks @Alex Villegas for clearing things up on the differences with those extensions. I was having trouble with to call my business site until now, and great article!

  20. says

    We use the media extension for our design agency in Nigeria. http://www.unotechmedia.com

    I think the media suffix gives that generic tone for your agency in that you could easily be seen as a full service design firm, bouncing around several media.

    I don’t think using one of these common terms makes you stand any less out of the crowd. People need to be told what they want to hear and it is just one of those necessary evils. Agencies can stand out in other areas apart from the name. Its just like a bank not having the bank suffix in their name because the want to stand out, you know what I mean? Bank of America, Citibank, Natwest Bank, Barclays Bank, . . . . .

  21. says

    Yeah out there are so many things that are part of a trend, but we must be creative as designers (at least) in my case Digital Werkstat sound to me original, being werkstat german for workshop, but something happen, luckily I had misspeled because must be “werkstatt” double “T” and correctly speled already exist in suise but putting that away, for me werkstat or workshop sounds more hands on, real working, action, the others can give bad ideas since many clients think we do this as a hobby not a real work or job.

  22. says

    Great point, I’ve never really stopped to think about this. It would seem that “Agency” is a pretty popular term and one that conveys the best sense of “authority,” though I’ve always been partial to “Studio” or “Boutique.”

    It wasn’t until I read this, but I’m guilty of a triple threat: ghostlab.DS (“Lab” plus DS being shorthand for “Design Studio”). Guess all I need to do now is add “Agency” to the end and I’m set. Haha.

  23. says

    I’m guilty of this too; I used the name Jazz Studios Design for the longest time. I decided last year to drop the company name and freelance under my name only… probably a smart decision. :)

    My guess for the next suffix will be something like Imaginarium :P

  24. says

    I like to think what’s in front of these words as more important. It’s a given that people will know or at least have an idea about what you do regardless of what word you use. I’m a designer, no reason to beat around the bush, but I wanted to call my company something different… so I give you Trailer Trash Design. http://www.trailertrashdesign.us

  25. says

    Great post and some interesting thoughts. I chose to use ‘creative’ in my company name – a CreativeMash – as I felt it less limiting than just ‘design’ as it can incorporate all of my creative services – design, marketing and web.

  26. Drew says

    I use ‘Designs’ as my extension, more traditional I think but it deos the job. Not really the best name but I like it… Flying Designs

  27. says

    Nice collection of inspiring sites!

    But on the topic: how does the use of the various suffixes relate to the size of the company?
    I doubt many freelancers would call themselves a studio or an agency, but more likely use design and creative.

    But then I guess these days websites act as a front – so you can make your (insert suffix here) seem as big or small as you wish.

  28. says

    I think for the websites using two names such as: interactive and agency, they are also utilising search keywords covering two search terms such as:
    – web design agency
    – interactive website agency
    etc etc

    Not a bad tactic I suppose, but I think myself it can get a bit tacky, along with naming your company with the area you are in.

  29. says

    We called ourselves Bigberry Digital, http://www.bigberrydigital.com

    We use Digital to describe a broad range of services.

    Moreover, as mentioned by Pete Hawkins, it helps with SEO, and I’ve also noticed that my company gets a steady increase of followers on twitter as opposed to my personal account which has similar content, so it does have some benefits.

    Thanks
    Tim

  30. says

    I believe terms like Interactive, media, studio, design… etc… etc.. don’t attract or make much difference to your client… and your work that does it…

    Few of the listed sites were new to me for visual purpose

  31. says

    I love that Basic have redefined themselves since this article…. from ‘branding and full service’ to ‘design, branding and marketing’.

    It’s a tricky one – we’re currently defined as a brand communications agency but I feel that gets lost on a lot of people. We were toying with using the word Boutique but if test campaigns on Google Adwords are anything to go by, our target audience don’t like that word.

    Back to the drawing board.

  32. says

    Great point, I’ve never really stopped to think about this. It would seem that “Agency” is a pretty popular term and one that conveys the best sense of “authority,” though I’ve always been partial to “Studio” or “Boutique.”

    It wasn’t until I read this, but I’m guilty of a triple threat: ghostlab.DS (“Lab” plus DS being shorthand for “Design Studio”). Guess all I need to do now is add “Agency” to the end and I’m set. Haha.

    just thinking aloud though

  33. says

    This is so interesting, We have been operating under the name “Internet Connection Inc.” with the tagline “Your All-In-One Internet Solution” for 17 years. Our focus has been in both web hosting, programming, and web design and development, but recently we have been trying to grow the design and development section of the company.

    We have been toying with the idea of calling ourselves “Internet Connection Studios” with the tagline “Boutique Website Design, Development and SEO Solutions” This article has given us much to think about!

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  1. Agencies, Labs, Studios, Media, Interactive and Creatives: The Many Names Of A Design Business…

    We’ve all seen them (and probably use them) – extensions of your company name. Agencies, Labs, Creatives and many others are used as a way to set us apart, but how far apart are we, really?…

  2. […] Agencies, Labs, Studios, Media, Interactive and Creatives: The Many Names Of A Design Business | Spy… Great collection of Agency names and site examples! (tags: design webdesign inspiration portfolios business showcase freelance interactive studio studios conventions names industry creative agencies) […]

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