What’s in a name? It’s a question I’ve been thinking about a lot. More specifically, what’s in my name? Not much to be honest. Jason Smith must be among the most common names in the United States. I have been confused more than once by seeing my name on samples for things like business cards or credit cards. John Doe. Insert name here. Generic. That’s me. It’s not that I dislike my name, but as I’ve worked to establish an identity for myself and my work I’ve often wondered if it’s up to snuff. It’s not a name I envision sitting alongside Bjarke Ingels, Werner Herzog or Witold Rybczynski. Not that I have any ambition to become famous, but still it’s better to be somebody than nobody.
It’s all about branding when it comes down to it. When I was preparing to launch this website, I spent days wondering what name to use. There are different schools of thought. Do you use your real name and try to build your online identity around that? Or do you come up with a zoomy esoteric name to represent you? In my case I felt that this wasn’t much of a choice. I threw a lot of names around at the time. Most of them felt either too vague or too specific. This was particularly difficult because at the time I had no idea where I was going to land career wise. So I was apprehensive about committing to, say, an architecture themed name in case I ended up not working in architecture.
As for the domain, I imagine it goes without saying that jasonsmith.com was not available. I ultimately settled on jasonsmitharch.com, though not with any great conviction. I decided that it was nonspecific enough that I could go in any direction I needed with my site down the road. I threw together what was intended to be a temporary title banner with the name “JSarch” on it, which as of writing this is still the only title banner I’ve made. It’s a pretty terrible name, but I’m still waiting for inspiration to strike and give me a “real” name I can use. I have essentially just differed the decision for now. But I know quite well the way temporary measures can linger into permanence.