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Preview: Fritinancy


Names, brands, writing, and the language of commerce.

Updated: 2016-10-21T06:15:00-07:00


You could look it up


This is the top half of a full-page ad for Salesforce Tower that appeared in last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle. From the Wikipedia entry: “Salesforce Tower, formerly known as the Transbay Tower, is a 1,070 ft (326 m) supertall office skyscraper under construction in the South of Market district of...

On the Visual Thesaurus: A column about nothing


About zero, that is. It’s my nomination for number of the year. Full access to “A Column about Nothing” is restricted to subscribers for three months; here’s an excerpt: Zero is a synonym for “nothing,” of course, but its value in branding – and in English idioms – is often...

Word of the week: Risotto


Risotto: “An Italian dish of rice cooked in stock with ingredients such as vegetables and meat or seafood” (OED). The dish is associated with northern Italy and particularly Milan (risotto milanese). From Italian riso (rice) and the diminutive suffix -otto. offers alternate etymologies: “Some say it came from an...

October linkfest


The origins of cinema terms like blockbuster, cliffhanger, and McGuffin. (Oxford Dictionaries blog) * Test your knowledge of advertising slogans. (Mental Floss) * The return of Spy magazine – the great satirical publication of the 1980s and 1990s – as an Esquire pop-up, and not a moment too soon. *...

The D-words


Earlier this week I spoke via Clarity, an expert-advice service, with a CEO who was considering changing his company’s decade-old name. He told me he didn’t have the budget for professional naming services, so he and his business partner, both tech guys, had attempted to come up with a new...