One of the most difficult challenges to overcome when creating a new business identity in 2010 is all the good domain names were taken at least a decade ago. When looking for a business name for my freelancing graphic design and game development ventures, my primary concern was that the corresponding .com domain name was available. In the name, I wanted either the word design or studio (or studios), as both words have a similar connotation—a place where creative work is done.

The short list of business names were quickly discarded, having been already taken by domain name squatters and existing companies. Color plus animal combinations seem to be all gobbled up. Two-word combinations or combinations of three words, all with design or studio at the end: gone. Four out of five times the name was parked, with a handy link allowing one to purchase the domain name for a few hundred. Or a few thousand.

Try the name of your dogs. Try the names of the items on your desk. Try the stock phrases you always seem to use.

Which brings me back to my back up plan. Denagh.

What is Denagh, you ask? The name is most likely the original spelling of my family name before an illiterate great- or great-great-grandfather walked through Ellis Island and had his name mangled by a bored, overworked immigration officer in the late 1800s. As a result of the misspelling, there are a few people in North America with the same last name as I. A few years ago, wanting a better connection to the ancestral homeland, I started using Denagh online. And so, the backup plan. Denagh Design.

That, and I love typography. There is some nice wordplay happening with those two words: both start with the same two letters, both end with very similar lettershapes, both have a similar form and size. The shape of the g, with either closed or open loop, lends itself to interesting shapes. In most typefaces, the typographer has freer reign with descenders than other elements of the letter: the swoop of the y, the curl of the q, and, of course, the loop of the g. Even in the most commonplace of western typefaces, Helvetica, the g is attractive. There is so much that can be done with that letter.

So it is; Denagh Design it is. Welcome.

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