We worked in partnership with Gravity London’s strategy consultancy on this project to create a name for a corporate travel and expenses card backed by an alliance of the world’s leading banks including RBS, Société Générale, Deutsche Bank and HDFC India.

The brief was to find a name that could work in at least 25 languages in Europe, the Middle East, India, the Far East, US and Latin America. We used both our made-up word program Proteus and our paneuropean lexicon Interlect for this project to find both made-up words and variants of existing words that worked in as many of the target languages as possible.

ZENIX was formed from a blend of zenith I. time of highest achievement > successful > competent  II. point in the sky directly overhead and onyx 1. semi-precious stone with coloured layers 2. trade item also loosely inferring commercial travel. It also has embedded zen which has global connotations of ‘calmness’ and ‘a superior philosophy’.

Sound symbolically, ZENIX had short, high-pitched syllables connote ‘energy’ and ‘speed’, ‘friendliness’, ‘small size/precision’, appropriate for a card. The ‘Z’ connotes ‘exotic innovation’ and ‘speed’. The final –ix also connotes ‘sophistication’ and classical heritage as in onyx, helix, fornix, cervix, matrix, kylix, felix, executrix.

As well as having a strong meaning in English, ZENIX worked particularly well in Arabic, Indian languages, Mandarin and Spanish, in  fact all the world’s most widely spoken languages.