Finding the name for our design duo

Casper Nielsen
Apr 3, 2020 · 3 min read

A short story about becoming Oimachi.

There are countless guides and tips available online to help you choose a company name. This is not a guide, but the short story about how we became Oimachi.

Background

For more than 15 years I have been working creatively with my childhood friend Daniel. We have been doing all sorts of design work and launched multiple digital startups while studying on Hyper Island in Sweden.

Recently we decided to take on more freelance work. To give new clients a better understanding of what we do, we wanted to collect all our recent work, experiences and passion projects under one name. But how do you come up with a name that fully embraces all the things we do as a design duo?

Using our own names?

Instinctively, we wanted to use our own names. Drawing inspiration from the design duo Sebastian Gram & Mathias Høst Normark, who beautifully created the name Norgram®, we went ahead to experiment. However, mixing Casper Nielsen and Daniel Bech Hansen did not lead to any epiphany. So we decided to take another direction.

Practicality vs personality

With the ambition to take on more freelance work, we considered a more descriptive name that actually explains what we do — maybe something tangible and straightforward like DesignIt?

However, being a small independent duo rather than an international design firm, we wanted something more bold that would spark curiosity. Something catchy and characteristic that would cause lifted eyebrows. As an example, we recently witnessed the merge of digital design agencies Skybrud and Magic People Voodoo People, uniting as one agency called Limbo. That’s pretty cool!

Based on a personal story

In early March, Daniel and I took a trip to Japan. Right before the epidemic officially became a global pandemic and the world started shutting down. Being deep into brainstorming mode, we quickly felt inspired by the Japanese language and its many mysterious dualities and words without direct english translations. However, it was not until one late evening at an izakaya bar in Tokyo that we had a breakthrough.

Oimachi is the central district of Shinagawa, Tokyo. This is where we lived for most of our stay in Japan. A name that grew on us day by day, as we went back there to rest every night. It’s a name with no more meaning than what we put into it. A clean slate, yet it feels like a name.

During our stay in Japan, we got to experience Japanese professionalism, humbleness, aesthetic minimalism and attention to detail. For us, Oimachi represents all those values and we intend to keep them close. In that sense, we brought more with us back home than just a name. Much like the recent controversial SAS commercial (which I genuinely enjoyed!) we don’t think it is any less Scandinavian to take inspiration from the world and bring something foreign back home. And no, I am not talking about Corona.

Future proof

One reason why Oimachi feels right for us is because it does not feel limited to solely being a design company. It is a clean slate with room for exploration and more personal projects — with the potential to expand in any direction.

It might not be the most intuitive name to spell, or even pronounce. But we feel confident that we will get there eventually. Some of the greatest names are the ones that has aged the best, to eventually become what they are today. This article may be the very first step in making Oimachi stick. It’s pronounced O-i-ma-chi by the way!

What do you think about Oimachi?

Do you think Oimachi is going to latch on, or will it sound like incomprehensible Chinese a few years ahead? We would love to hear from you!

More about Oimachi here:
👉 oimachi.co/about

We are also on Instagram!
👉 instagram.com/oimachistudio

Oimachi

Creative design duo and childhood friends, working together for 15 years.