UPDATE: Despite a promising start, Linea shut down in December 13, 2013. The naming case study is still relevant, however.
I’m pleased to announce the official launch of Linea, a photo-sharing app for iOS and Android devices and (soon) for the Web. Working closely with Post+Beam, the innovation and communication firm, I developed the Linea name and tagline—Your Stories. Your Pictures. Yours to Share—along with much of the brand vocabulary for the product.
The primary naming challenge with this project was making the product stand out in a crowded namescape. Most of the competitive names refer directly to cameras and picture-taking: Flickr, Photobucket, Shutterfly, Instagram, and so on. We wanted our name to suggest seamless, secure photo organizing and sharing rather than the photographic act. The name also needed to appeal to adult women with concerns about online privacy; a second market consists of professional photo organizers who could use the app with their customers.
In the naming brief, I identified several key objectives and criteria for the name, including:
- No overtly descriptive words. Metaphors are preferred.
- Should sound cool and modern … yet warm and human.
- Should sound effortless … just like the app itself.
- Should sound sophisticated.
- Should suggest “special moments, special people.”
Then there was the app’s most distinctive design feature: a horizontal timeline that allowed easy identification and sorting of photos. The “line” concept had already given rise to the app’s code name, Ziplyne. That name didn’t sound feminine enough (and it wasn’t available legally), but Linea soon emerged as an appealing alternative. The vowel ending gave it a feminine personality, and the name sounds both swift and elegant—desirable attributes for our market.
To reinforce the desired pronunciation—LIN-ee-ah—among the internal audience (design team and photo organizers), I wrote a spoof of the Groucho Marx song “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady, in which “Linea” replaces “Lydia.”
Next came the tagline: Your Stories. Your Pictures. Yours to Share. It reinforces the idea that photographs are more than digital files or prints: they’re memories. The repeated use of your reinforces the security theme. (No one sees these photos unless you choose to share them.)
Linea.com was not available (the owner hadn’t developed the domain, but wasn’t interested in selling), so we went with a call-to-action URL: getlinea.com.
The Linea app is available through the iTunes App Store and on the Web. An Android version will be released soon.