How to make a pop culture name

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The naming process of Alan Edward Regan:

First and foremost, we had to find a unique name. The record company wanted an exciting, memorable, and catchy name. So I thought about the words of my brothers and sisters—that’s when I started thinking about the number 4. And then I thought about four years old when I had an accident and nearly died. And then I remembered having read somewhere, possibly in “The Catcher in the Rye,” that Holden Caulfield referred to his kind of shyness as “phobia.” It wasn’t just a phobia; it was something you could call your own thing. So there were already these little nuggets like “phobia” and “4” stuck together. The next day when I met with the record company’s executives at their offices in New York City, they looked through all their backgrounds—the guys who worked for them came up with maybe thirty names per week—and they all ranked them on sheets of paper they’d printed out at home, so they’re listed next to me taking notes on these sheets of paper as we discuss each name. When it came time to rank them, there were three guys left at the end, sitting around whispering. One guy ranked them 1 through 3; another guy ranked them 4 through 6; and the third guy said he would put all those names together into one list for us if we let him hang out with us for the afternoon or even see us again afterward because he had such a close personal connection with many of those names that he just wanted to be able to say which ones he liked best after hanging out with us for awhile! In all honesty, though, none of those three guys gave any real reasons why each name didn’t work; rather than provide honest feedback or constructive criticism, they just played.

Ask the crowd.

This is one of the most effective ways to get an idea for your name. Ask people you know, famous people and celebrities, and even strangers on the street if they have ideas for a cool pop culture name.

If you’re at a party or bar, approach the person you’re talking to and ask them what their favorite thing about that moment was—or something similar like “Who do I need to thank?” or “What’s your favorite band?” You could also try asking them if they could tell some jokes while they’re telling their story so that it would be fun too!

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Find a book or website.

The first step is to find a book or website that has the potential to be made into a pop culture name.

Here are some things to look out for:

What do they like?

You can ask your friends and family to help you by brainstorming a list of pop culture references that best represent their personalities. This might include movies, TV shows, books, or music artists.

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If you have some examples in mind already, that’s great! If not, try asking for inspiration from people who know what they’re talking about (like our own staff).

What’s their favorite nickname?

If you want to make your mark on the culture, consider how many people call them by their nicknames. Is it something they love? Do they use it all the time? Is there a story behind it?

Now that you know what they call themselves try using that in one of these ways:

Use your body parts list.

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Combine two names from your list.

You don’t need to use your family name for a pop culture name.

You don’t have to use your family name for a pop culture name.

You can also use your first or middle name as the basis of a pop culture moniker.

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If you have a meaningful and catchy nickname—like “Boomer” or “Flex”—you might consider using it instead of making up something new.

In a more serious tone

List everything you know about that person.

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