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About Name Branding: Article or Project

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What is name branding? It is a name that is recognized for a specific product. You will find this in all fields from automobiles (Ford, Cadillac, Lamborgini) to equipment (John Deere, Kenmore, Hoover) to common household products( Pam, Lysol, Kleenex) and includes the arts (DaVinci, Piccaso, Russell, Rockwell). It is no different in the field of clay arts and ceramics. Surely you have heard of Wedgewood, Hull, Mikasa, Pfaltzgraff, etc.

Obviously the key to becoming name recognized is to have an idea that is different from another’s. Expanding that idea into a product line requires some imagination and creativity. As mentioned previously, most artist don’t start out with anything in mind more than expressing their imagination and creativity into a tangible form.

Jeanette McCall became famous because of her master baking skills. She created the wedding cake for Prince Charles and Lady Diana because of her skill and name recognition. She transferred her excellent decorating skills to ceramics and with her brush, painted designs and created ceramic sculptures that are in great demand. (

Florence Ward started as a hobby in her kitchen in the 1940s as therapy and developed molds of Victorian figures that were copied many times over by other companies and artist, but managed to get her own ‘recognition’ for her attention to details and originality. ( Her pieces are easily recognized by the stamp on the bottom Florences Ceramics or Florence of Pasadena.

Addis E Hull, Hull Pottery was founded in 1905. Hull pottery is distinctive primarily because of its painting technique. Many vases and objects de art were airbrushed and utility ware was most noticeably a brown glaze with white drips around the rim. They were well known for their figural cookie jars. During the Mid 80’s unionization and foreign reproduction lead to their closing their doors, but you will see their items are still popular and in high demand among collectors and decorators today. (http://hull

All are not success stories, a modern day example of this is a company called Mud Pie. They took mold cast forms and modified them by attaching bits of clay to create bows, flowers, etc. thereby creating some unique decorative pieces. I had some difficulty recently finding a reference for the Mud Pie Ceramics that I have come to know and wonder if they changed their name or dissolved their company. From small beginnings a group of ladies built a sizeable business whose trademark was that most everything was painted white and had sculpted roses or other flowers attached. There are now many companies out there with the same name which shows success can be in the name chosen. I do run across their items on gift shop shelves occasionally and come across specific pieces on eBay and other online sites. They are easily recognizable.

How do you brand your name?

These products and artists did not become recognized over night. Their fame was not always their intention. The common factor is that they all created something special and the public fell in love with it. It’s the business philosophy that if you build a better mousetrap the demand for it will grow. Most often, an artist does not set out to become famous, but rather they have a love for creating beauty and develop a design or line of artwork that others ‘desire’ to have.

One commonality of sought after artwork is an artist’s mark and if possible date and numbering. Collectors love some ‘proof’ that what they have acquired is genuine and exclusive. They like to see an artist mark which can be a symbol, name, or initials. Another ‘proof’ is date of production . Collectors love it if the item is numbered as to how many have been made before, or number XX of however many produced. These things give an exclusivity to the item.

Some basic points should be considered and evaluated as a plan of action to build your own name. Sometimes an artist gets caught up in their own talent and they get carried off on a wave of success; but, to ensure lasting success, there should be a plan.
A. An idea - originality and exclusivity of concept/line.

B. Creativity - uniqueness and aesthetic appeal.

C. Quality - the best quality demands the greater reward.

D. The name and artist mark- something uniquely your own and easy to remember if possible. Individual’s names have most often been the best choice and most memorable.

E. Longevity - will the item last and be able to be passed on to other generations.

F. Promotion & Marketing - getting your work on public display and finding the right market.

G. Production capacity - being able to produce and/or reproduce enough inventory to meet much of the demand.

H. Financing - enough funds to carry through from start to finish until there is financial return.

I. Price point - don’t undervalue your talent or creativity.

J. Copyright and/or Trademark registration


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