The DESLER-Vessel

Name Evaluation Method


Creating a brand name is a singular challenge, but amid a long list of alternatives, how do you identify a great one? How do you know when it is the right name? How do you evaluate scores of name candidates and ultimately gain approval for the brand name with the greatest potential?

Strong brand names work hard. Exceptionally strong brand names work twice as hard. Names with extraordinary potential do double duty; specifically, they offer at least two distinct but related appeals.

Uppercase generates thousands of names (using various techniques, a topic for another day) and methodically evaluates each one using its proprietary protocol DESLER-Vessel.

DESLER is an acronym standing for:

Descriptive – Evocative / Semantic – Linguistic / Emotional – Rational.

This is the set of benchmarks Uppercase uses to separate the wheat from the chaff when reviewing acres of names. Not every successful name meets all of these benchmarks and the meeting is one of degree, but we find that those names that adhere closely to these benchmarks are the ones that tend to get approved, liked, supported and ultimately gain traction in the marketplace.

Descriptive – Evocative

The name can do one or the other or both. Names with potential directly hint or suggest at the sector they belong to and/or evoke a metaphor or analogy or other imagery reminiscent of that space.

Semantic – Linguistic

Semantic is straight forward: does the word (name) mean something? Names with potential can mean something right out of the box or be filled with meaning down the road. They can mean the value proposition of your company or product directly - or they can mean something related, something tangential but nonetheless useful.

Linguistics are more complicated. There are issues of structure, sound, and pronunciation that are not open to question and then there are aspects, notably sound symbolism, that learned linguists debate in journals, papers, classrooms, and bars. Linguistics is not a benchmark that a consumer recognizes, but nonetheless can have a very real impact on the signals a consumer receives from the brand name.

Emotional – Rational

The purchase decision, or any decision for that matter, is complex process taking place deep in the hidden recesses of the mind. Some decisions are more emotional than rational and others are the converse, but in every case both benchmarks play a role.  No one wants to be sold to but everyone likes to buy. We take that notion one step further by creating names with both emotional and rational appeals that consumers don’t just buy -  but buy into.


One can argue that the name is greater than the sum of its parts, and at the end of the day consumers don’t examine the brands they buy in the kind of detail that goes into their creation. We recognize there is room for debate which leads us to our final evaluative benchmark, that of the Vessel. We simply ask ourselves if, over time, can the name, like an empty vessel, be filled with meaning. Names are but one word and rarely exist outside of their context, so with proper support can a name be expansive enough to hold all of the brand’s valuable attributes.

So, while anyone can create a name - it’s done all the time - we believe it takes skill, experience and a methodical protocol to identify names with extraordinary potential.