Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Developing a new name

We have been testing public responses to the name مسـار (Massar). Its given meanings include path, route, trend, current, method, tendency, course. As ever, we have been looking at name options which are meaningful, easy to say, catchy, short, positive and relevant.

We have asked public – teachers, parents and children mostly – what associations the word has for them and whether it has positive or negative connotations.

After a rather inconclusive early response, findings have become more interesting and definite. The more literal meaning of path or road is the most common single association and on its own could be seen as somewhat static. But two other associations, which describe attitude, tendency or trend, when taken together significantly outweigh the literal meaning. These give more animation to the word, and take it into abstract areas of personal choice and point of view.

It appears to have no negative connotations. It does not appear to be contentious, even if that means it lacks edginess.

No-one else appears to be using it in our field. There is a Palestinian website called Al-Massar which campaigns against the Israeli wall. A Palestinian consulting firm in sustainable development is using the name Massar

This all leads us to support Massar as a name. It carries both physical and abstract meanings relevant to our project and positive. We are inviting young people to take a path, to think about the course of their lives. Massar appears to be a safe option. It is easy to say and remember.

We have not developed any ideas on using the letters of Massar as initials in a descriptive phrase, as with FIRDOS.

As part of the thinking process gone through with Cultural Innovations we examined ways in which people interact with their world and live their lives. The project aims to foster three fundamental activities which enrich the human spirit – to Explore, Create and Share.

Not only does this provide part of the intellectual structure for content development, but the three words also potentially provide a powerful strapline for any title, and appear to work well with Massar. Together they form a powerful picture both of what our project offers and what we expect of people. A good combination.

The whiteboard after one of our early naming brainstorms


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