Everyone wants to be unforgettable. And sometimes a unique name is the quickest way to achieve that for your kids. In America, it’s easy to get choice paralysis because we have complete freedom to name our babies whatever we want.
And it’s for that reason that we now have Pro Baby Namers.
Pro Baby Namers
Yes, there are literally services for helping parents decide on the perfect baby name. It absolutely made me think WTF at first.
But the more I thought about (and researched) it, the less crazy of an idea it became. Honestly, most of us have no experience with naming anything. We’re not fantasy writers. We’re not explorers. And most of us aren’t that creative. After all, Michael reigned as the #1 most popular baby name (in the US) for 44 years, from 1954 to 1998.
So why not go to someone whose job is naming humans? Why not consult an onomatologist – a person who studies names for a living?
Taylor A. Humphrey is among the more well-known name consultants. She runs a business called What’s in a Baby Name which charges $1,500 to help parents settle on a name ($10k if you’re a celebrity). Taylor rose in popularity on TikTok, where she is an endless fountain of baby names. Last year, she cleared over $150k with her services.
Other Pro Baby Name services include:
A lot goes into deciding on a baby name. I’m sure that parents reading this already know that. But Taylor says she considers things like family, personalities, values, motivations, aspirations, and inspirations.
Also, phonetics plays a large role in it. She likes to suggest mellifluous names (pleasant to the ear). And names should fit with sibling names and last names.
If you’re watching the trends, then you’ll quickly realize how these name consultancies are trending upward.
Where Names Are Trending
We’re now in a cycle of non-conformity in naming. Most likely thanks to celebrity naming. Like Michael Jackson’s three kids: Prince, Paris, and Blanket.
Mitchell Newberry from the University of Michigan studied baby names as a proxy for understanding ecological and evolutionary change. He found that as we thirst for new things, it creates a cycle of newness. In other words, we create more diversity. “He found that when a name is most rare – 1 in 10,000 births – it tends to grow, on average, at a rate of 1.4% a year. But when a name is most common – more than 1 in 100 births – its popularity declines, on average, at 1.6%.”
Truthfully, this might just be an American conundrum, though.
In other parts of the world, names are handled completely differently. For example:
- In Korea, you are given one month after birth to register a name. This gives parents time to get to know the child. Thus, it’s not uncommon for parents to consult jak-myeong-so, the naming center, to find suitable letters for the baby. They usually do a fortune on both the parents’ and the child’s date of birth to settle on fortuitous names.
- Hungary keeps an official list of approved names for males and females, which number a couple thousand for each. Residents can always apply for a new name to be added, but you have to follow these guidelines. One of their recommendations is to use names from “recognized and enduring” fantasy novels. And they also caution against names that “may be harmful to a child’s personality development in the future.”
- In New Zealand, the only limitation is that you cannot use names that resemble official titles… which wouldn’t have worked out for one of my childhood football teammates, Justus Good.
The Future of Names
I think it’s clear that we’re creating a greater diversity of acceptable names. Now, I don’t think that we will be naming our kids like Elon did: X Æ A-Xii Musk.
However, I believe AI name generators may be needed to continue down this path of name creativity. We have AI business name generators. So why not design one that will churn out new human names?
If there are Pro Baby Namers, then it doesn’t seem that crazy that we’ll one day consult an Artificial Intelligence to help us out. This AI might use inputs such as:
- Letters we favor
- Tendency toward alliteration
- Historical or cultural significance
- Preference of misspelling or spelling how it sounds
- Weighting the likability of other names
This AI would need a lot of data to build around. I imagine it would spit out thousands of names in a Tinder-like interface, asking people to swipe left or right on a name, so that the AI can recognize patterns in preferences.
Nonetheless, I admire the hustle that Pro Baby Namers have in creating an industry out of nothing and responding to the unique needs of the market.