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Naming at Whalebone & Greenstone

About why and how we name things within our tribe

Why do we think naming is so important?

The act of naming an object or a concept humanises it. It turns that object or concept into something we relate to, have emotions towards and can easily communicate about and around towards and with others. As in the core of our tribe we believe anything we do should be emotional driven, we name things with care. And we’re proud of doing so!

Below we’ll explain our particular approach on naming projects and expeditions, but before you read that it will help to understand there are some generic guides that encompass all naming.


The namer

We believe that naming something is a near sacred act. It should therefore allways be done by the emotional mother/father of the object or concept. In our tribe, this is often the inceptor that spearheads the making of the new object or concept.  Though of course this person can share the honour of naming as they please with whomever. If you are ever in that position, consider yourself honoured!


Heritage inspired

As we’re suckers for heritage we tend to reuse old names to attribute to innovations. We believe this is a right thing to do for a couple of reasons:

  • a name is pre-loaded with a set of attributed values, often championed by a person
  • it is perceived an honour or homage to the person to thank her/him for the (previous) work championed

Predominantly, only names of people that have passed a way more than 70 years ago are used, due to legal issues with resuing names.


The naming

When an object or concept shall be named is up to the namer. Though we do however emplore namers to do this as quickly as possible to help enhance the understanding of whatever it is the’re naming. And namechanges is something we are generally not so fond of. Though sometimes we’ll incubate something with a working name and when it is ready for market or publishing we’ll develop a seperate brand, including a specific name! As long as the name is recognisable, identifiable and relevant.

The champion

Within our tribe, projects and expeditions get a name inspired by a champion – a person linked to the subjectmatter of the project, most often to its stories, peoples and places. This person must champion the values of the project, relationship and engagement.

(S)he can be a fictional and nonfictional character, as long as it resonates to those asked to use it. The character can have any cultural background at any geoscale, but his/her name should be internationally pronounceable, in at least the native and English language but preferably more than just the those two. This person must also have been deceased for more than 70 years, as to use the persons family name.

What we found doesn’t work is very generic or too well-known names – like for instance Da Vinci, or Erasmus. Also archetypes like Samaritan, or Magician don’t work well as we use these definitions elsewhere in our work – especially in persona and character development.

To help you on your way we’ve highlighted some examples of project names below.


Named after George BECK, soldier in the First World War.


Named after Jan Ingen Housz, an influential physician from Breda.

Names of published works

Projects, expeditions and productions will most probably never be published with their champion-name. The name is for ‘internal’ use and helps guide us. Works will be published with their respective brand names or titles.

To summarise

So to recap: A name,

  1. champions the project values
  2. relates directly as influential to the projects subjectmatter
  3. is recognisable, identifiable and relevant
  4. internationally pronounceable, in native language and English 
  5. refers to a person deceased for more than 70 years (and/or doesn’t violate any other rights of name)
  6. doesn’t interfere with existing names

Commissions and productions are not often named seperately, though in occasions paperwork and interorganisation communication requires this. This will then be derived from the project name.

Ask Jeroen Wilms

Ask Jeroen Wilms

Chief / Founder
+31 6 28 33 26 89

This page talks about projects, commissions, expeditions, productions and so forth. If you feel overwhelmed we suggest reading our explanation on our levels of scale to understand the differences and get more familiar with Whalebone & Greenstone.