zonino.co.uk

Zonino? Sounds pretty book to me.

First thing's first: we pronounce it zo-NEE-no.  I'm not sure why that was the chosen emphasis but it just seemed to sound right to me.  I haven't heard it spoken aloud by many people who haven't heard the word for the first time from me.  I think there's always a worry when naming things that you might come up with something that doesn't dance off the tongue.  I'd like to think this is why superior sub sandwich chain Quiznos lost out to Subway.  But Zonino is fun to say and even more fun to type.  The little rocking motion my right hand makes is a delight!  Perhaps I need to get out more.

Choosing names for things is tricky.  Sure, the interweb offers some silly  and some less silly help when the desire for proper nouns is upon us but often that just doesn't cut the mustard when trying to name a project you've poured your blood, sweat and beers into.  I wouldn't know for sure but I suspect the process of naming a product is a lot like naming a child.  But if you were trying to give your kid a completely unique name that people would find snappy and original and descriptive even though right now junior just cries and poops all the time.

Stories of how companies came up with their names vary as dramatically as the names themselves.  Hailo hired a brand consultancy and paid them partly in stock options because they were just starting out.  The WireWax founders poured over disjointed words on pieces of A4 paper in a cafe until something they liked came together.  The company the Zonino founders work for is named after the pub the company was founded in.  I'm particularly fond of that story though it doesn't work for every situation.  Especially if your local is the Dog and Duck.

Zonino came about thanks to the T9 dictionary on my Nokia 3210.   (It's fun and depressing to note that this telephonic masterpiece was released in 1999.  That's the year the Matrix came out.  Jeez we're old now).  There were some problems with this form of input.  Most glaringly was the abundance of textonyms - the same keystrokes could make more than one word.  For example, "book" and "cool" and "awake" and "cycle".  Now unfortunately the phone knew nothing of the word "woohoo", replacing it instead with the befuddling and apparently meaningless "zonino".  And somehow it caught on in the impressionable mind of a teenager.

Seriously.  1999.

We were fed up of not having a name for our project so I suggested this as a place holder.  And only then did we realise how much time we were wasting trying to come up with a name.  It's hard.  Really hard.  So just come up with anything and get back to the important stuff - you can always change it later!  And you never know, your stupid suggestion might just grow on you.