What’s in a Name?

We almost always name our designs at the end of the product development process, once the design is completed. It’s a responsibility of the design team to come up with a name that has some sort of link to the product. Sometimes it’s obvious (ie. the Stretch) and sometimes it’s pretty subtle (ie. the Copernicus).  Our designs go through such a personal development process, picking up nicknames along the way, that they deserve a well thought out name that suits their personality.  It would be insulting (but so much easier) to simply name them after a town in Vermont.

Stretch and Copernicus

how to name a product

Two new Vermont Modern products had names before the designs even made it out of my head and onto paper. Both were conceived while I was brainstorming on what the next new glass design would be. I wasn’t coming up with much, until I glanced at the kiwi fruit sitting on my desk.  Now if one was to look at the glass from our Kiwi pendant today, you could easily argue that it looks more like a large lemon. It does….now, but at the time trust me when I say the initial sketch was much more like a kiwi. The rest of the team thought the design was sooooo cute that it should keep its cute “Kiwi” name.


The second design was developed as I was thinking of different shapes in my head (this often occurs when I’m sitting in long boring meetings) and I’m not sure exactly what happened but the shape and word “cowbell” popped into my head. It was as if dark clouds parted and a beam of light shone on a glass Cowbell! Being a big Will Ferrell fan I immediately set out to design a fixture called “More Cowbell” (google the SNL skit “More Cowbell” if you are unfamiliar) and knew that nothing was going to stop me from doing so. At the end of the product development process when the fixture was complete and the official naming was a mere formality, Alison, one of our Art Directors, asked me if we were seriously calling this sleek, beautiful, modern Scandinavian pendant, “More Cowbell”? I looked at her as if she was crazy, mumbled something and went back to my desk…


More Cowbell with Will Ferrell, Saturday Night Live-NBC

By David Kitts, Director of Design and Engineering for Hubbardton Forge. He’s always been forced to write despite choosing career paths in engineering and design, and for that he is thankful.