Are you thinking about starting an Instagram account just for your art, but have no idea what to name it? Obviously, names are important. Your name sends a message about your art and who you are as an artist. You want to present yourself as a professional, but you can still have fun with it.
Nobody can tell you exactly what your name should be. You have to choose what feels authentic to you, but I’ve put together a list of things to consider while brainstorming. As you go through this post, have a pen and piece of paper nearby and start jotting down key words that come to mind that could possibly become part of your new Instagram account name.
Basic Name Anatomy
Before getting started, people will often choose a few different name structures for their account:
- Artist’s name
- Artist’s name with creative discipline attached (art, drawing, photography, etc.)
- Artist’s nickname or pseudonym
- Art related brand name (doesn’t include artist’s name)
- General creative brand name (doesn’t have to be art related)
When I first started my online presence in 2014, I choose the last option because it was the right fit for my creative identity. Now, let’s see what works for you:
1. Consider your personality.
You are unique. Even if you don’t believe it, you have to start telling yourself that you have something different to offer your audience. And you can include a little hint of this uniqueness in your name. Your name can set you apart from others by capturing your personality.
Think about who you are as a person. Are you fun, carefree, or spunky? Are you serious, dark, laid back, or funny? What parts of your personality come through your art? How do you interact with people in person? What’s your communication style?
It might even be helpful to talk to a friend and have them describe you.
2. Consider your art style.
What kind of art do you make? Are you a painter, fluid artist, illustrator, graphic designer, etc.? What subject matter do you focus on? Nature, portraits, animals, abstract? Or do you create anything and everything under the art umbrella?
You can use words like “art”, “drawing”, and “illustration” in your name to explain what you make. Or, you can use your subject matter.
3. Consider the area of the art world you want to enter.
All artists do not operate in the same areas of the art world. There are many places to find success with art like in galleries, museums, craft fairs, art fairs, flea markets, digital platforms, and more. Your name may communicate which area you fit into.
If you are going for a gallery/museum career path, your real name is probably most appropriate. It’s clean and professional. If you are having fun in more casual spaces, you can get more creative with your name.
4. Your real name is perfectly appropriate.
Artist’s real names are often their brand names. If you feel a close connection to your name, then go ahead and use that as your social media username.
If your name is taken, consider using a period between names, or add a creative discipline like art, illustrations, design, paintings, drawings, doodles, etc..
Ex: “firstlast.art”, “firstlastdesign”, “first.last”, “firstlast”
5. Consider a name with a deeper meaning.
You don’t have to have your real name. You don’t have to include anything involving art. You can get creative and make people think about the meaning a little more.
You can look into old mythologies, science, astrology, and more. Think of something that connects to you and your work, but requires a little more thought to understand. Or even names that involve a childhood nickname, or inside jokes and stories. Think about your backstory. (This is what I focused on when I chose @messyeverafter.)
6. Make it easy to say out loud.
This is a personal rule of mine while I’m out at events or chatting with people about what I do. How would your name sound if you ran out of all of your business cards and just had to say your social usernames out loud to customers?
If you have a bunch of symbols or numbers, things can get a little long.
Ex: “My Insta is jenny dot rainbow underscore three five dot art”
Or: “My Insta is jenny rainbow art”
It’s a simple thing, but it helps avoid awkward “wait, where is the underscore?” types of conversations.
7. Check for similar accounts.
Take advantage of the Instagram search bar and start looking up the names you’ve thought of. If a name you thought of is taken by another artist, brainstorm other names. I do not recommend just adding underscores or periods to a name that is taken to make it “unique” unless it is your actual legal name.
This will help you avoid any complaints from fellow creators in the future. I can speak from experience (considering there are currently 15 accounts on Instagram that play off @messyeverafter), it’s not pleasant to have your name taken. Don’t fall in love with a name that someone else has trademark rights to if you plan on using your account for a business.
8. Check all social media platforms.
Once you find a good name, you’re going to want to plan for the future. Check Twitter, YouTube, Facebook pages, Tumblr, Reddit, TikTok, and .com domain names. Even consider searching Trademark databases and your state’s registered business names.
You’re building a presence that will last for years, so make sure you can snatch up the same name across all the platforms you can to make it easier for followers to find you no matter where they look.
Obviously, these names are taken, but check out how the account names interact with the artist’s real name, art style, and branding. And give them some love 😉
Remember: You have a little wiggle room for change if you realize you don’t like your chosen name.
Whatever name you decide on today doesn’t have to be your name forever. If you have no idea who you are as an artist right now, you can change your name once you figure it out. I encourage you not to change your name often, and not to change your name once your following starts to grow, but you can re-brand yourself if you really feel you need to.
I just can’t help but always think of Puff Daddy changing to P. Diddy as a good example of what not to do. Once you establish your branding and have enough people who know your name, it’s really hard to break away from that first name. But, with an Instagram account, you have a lot of wiggle room until about 5,000 followers. Use that time to really figure out who you are as an artist.
I hope this post was helpful, but if you are looking for a little extra support, feel free to check out my consulting services. I offer an Instagram assessment to help artists and creatives get a jump start on growing their following.
Do want to help me create more blog content? I want to keep providing content like this for free, but I need your help. If you enjoy my blogs and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep helping artists like you. Plus, you get extra little perks.