How do you name a WordPress theme?


(Leland Fiegel) #1

I’m making a WordPress theme, and am struggling on finding a catchy name that’s not already used by some other theme.

I’m debating whether or not to use it anyway.

Obviously some names are off limits like Genesis, Thesis, Avada, Divi, Hybrid, Kubrick, just to name a few.*

But what about some random ThemeForest theme that’s not particularly popular, for example?**

The name would be a generic, English word. Not something made up like Avada or Divi.

What are your thoughts on using a theme name that has already been “taken” assuming it doesn’t have a lot of name recognition already like the examples above?

And what are your thoughts on theme or product naming in general? Do you use a pattern or naming scheme? Go with a generic English word? Or make up your own?

*Please don’t get upset if I didn’t list your favorite theme, it’s beside the point.
**This theme wouldn’t be for sale on ThemeForest so there wouldn’t be any naming conflict on that specific marketplace.


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(Pascal Birchler) #2

I think there’s one big problem when you name your theme exactly like one available at ThemeForest: If the author of that theme doesn’t disable auto updates, WordPress will inadvertently update to your theme because it’s available on WordPress.org and has the same name/slug.


(Some Web Guy) #3

Don’t be a jerk :blush:

I mean, why would anyone name anything by already existing name? That screams out loud “hey look at me I have no creativity”.

So, don’t name it like some other existing theme. Create a new word, add some prefix or suffix, but don’t just copy the name. :wink:


(Leland Fiegel) #4

Ah, yeah I’ve run into this before. There are ways of disabling the auto update check, buth definitely worth considering.

I think we may have to agree to disagree here, but let me better explain my point.

If you’re naming something a single, English, generic word (a very popular scheme for naming anything these days) you’re at risk for somebody else using the same name as you. There are other ways to differentiate yourself besides just a name.

With that said, like I mentioned in my original post, I’m very cognizant of trademarks, whether registered or not.

For example, “Genesis” was a generic name, but it’s built up such a reputation in the WordPress community that it’s become pretty recognizable as the name of a theme framework. If I named a theme “Genesis” I wouldn’t be surprised if I heard from Copyblogger’s lawyers.

Something like “Avada” is on a whole other level that you can’t really argue at all. It’s clearly a made up word that has only ever been used for a WordPress theme.

These examples are not what I’m talking about.

Another example, “Artist” is the name of a theme that has not been updated in five years, was pulled from the WordPress.org theme directory, but is still technically “taken” since the “artist” slug on WordPress.org is unavailable because of it.

Would reusing a name like that be considered being “a jerk”?


(Some Web Guy) #5

Nope, but you weren’t talking about situation where the product has been abandoned. There is a difference. As I understood you have a case where you want to use a name that is actively used on another (same type of) product, right?

Try to put yourself on the other side of the table, and imagine you create something and there comes someone and says “hey I wanted to name my product the same way, fuck it I’ll just do it regardless of the fact that you are using it already”. That’s how it sounds in my head :smile:

So, as I proposed, you can still technically do that, by adding something to that name, some prefix or suffix, and it will become a new name. Just like Apple Watch, Apple TV, Apple Pay; Google Glass, Google
Wallet, Google Play… :wink:


(Pascal Birchler) #6

I don’t think so, but wouldn’t be ideal for marketing purposes. It’s hard to rank high in search engines for such a generic word. For example, Google has ~7 million results for “wordpress artist theme”. Plus there are sites like wordpressforart.com, and both an “Artist” theme and “The Artist” on ThemeForest.

If you’re thinking of another generic word that isn’t used a lot in conjunction with WordPress themes — why not?


(Justin Tadlock) #7

There’s not really an issue with doing that. This is something that happens in the publishing world all the time with titles because of the sheer number of publications out there. I wouldn’t treat themes any differently, especially because naming themes is much more limited in scope.

It’s better to come up with a unique name, but if you’ve already found the perfect name for your theme, go with it.


(Giulio) #8

If I was you I would try to find a naming scheme to use for this and all your future themes. Just to take a few random examples, you could use names of some category of animals or insects, or cities in some almost unknown region of the world, or Polynesian islands etc. The limit is only your fantasy here, you don’t really have to use any English word here, why should you?


(Nate Wright) #9

Naming things sucks.


(Jason) #10

How about “Team Titan Wolf 5000”? I’d buy that. :smile:


(Nate Wright) #11

Team Titan Wolf 5000 Pro


(Devin) #12

If you choose a generic name, someone else is likely using it too. I think that’s fine as long as it describes your product well and doesn’t infringe on a trademark. If I ate a taco every time I saw a restaurant named “Veracruz”…

But, if you can come up with an interesting and original naming convention, that also might be really neat. For instance, all the trade winds have interesting and exotic names: “Caju”, “Marin”, “Ostro”, “Bora”.


(Jami Gibbs) #13

I find it amusing how Apple named their OSX versions after big cats (Snow Leopard, Mountain Lion, etc) and now after locations in California. I’ve considered this as a way to name themes too.


(melchoyce) #14

Picking a category and finding names within that category can also be pretty fun. In the past, I’ve used species of fish and birds, minerals, things in space, etc. There are lots of quirky, good names available. The trade winds example is pretty excellent.


(Peter) #15

… exactly and the best if its category what you love or are you interested in.


(Adrian Diaconescu) #16

A couple of points:

  1. To support what @swissspidy said, I created a theme a while back called Precious (without knowing there’s a theme in the repository with the same name), then ran into problems once in a while when some users were prompted to update. I like that name a lot and would love to refresh / re-release that theme, but I just don’t know if I would use the same name.

  2. I always have http://thesaurus.com/ and https://translate.google.com/ open when researching a new name. Looking at translations in different languages is really useful and it’s how I came up with the name for my theme Bambino, aimed at kindergartens, nurseries, etc.

  3. However… having a reason or some sort of metaphor for that name can make it much more memorable, especially when promoted properly. You can pick something random that just sounds cool, but a subtle hint at what the theme / project is about can go a long way.


(Darren) #17

It may be possible to adopt the Artist slug on wp.org, have you tried contacting the developer? Or other names for that matter.

Sidenote, how does GPL affect a themes name? Is this covered by copyright? I’d assume it has to be trademarked.


(Leland Fiegel) #18

In this case it wasn’t an option, the author’s domain had expired years ago and had no apparent way of contacting them.

It’s a totally separate issue. This article has some insight. But it’s mainly a trademark issue, not a copyright issue, if at all.

[insert I’m not a lawyer disclaimer here.]


(Darren) #19

Just with plugins, would WordPress.org allow you to adopt the theme if the developer cannot be reached? Though is this only for the name?


(Leland Fiegel) #20

I asked if they would let me have the slug but they said no. Not really a big deal as I just added another word to it.

Not sure what the deal is with plugins, but I’d imagine it would be a similar rule.