Thinking I do with words - Trying not to judge based on a name

I have nothing against the work done by aodbt architecture. They’ve done some pretty great work in the province, including the design of Co-op gas bars and the rather excellent Langenburg Central School. Don’t take any of this as a disparagement of their work.

I hate their name.

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The fact that they generally do good work makes me hate their name even more. If they were bad at their job it would be easier, but instead, they’re going to keep getting hired to handle major projects, including projects in this region. Which means I’ll have to see their name over and over again. Which will just make me hate it more. It’s a vicious cycle.

What’s the problem? First, it’s stylized in lower-case, which is irritating. Second, it looks like someone tried to type ‘about’ on a malfunctioning phone. Every mention of it perks up my sometimes malfunctioning typo detector. It looks wrong, it looks like a mistake.

Maybe that’s the strategy, the name is memorable because it looks like a mistake. You might not recall the name of a competing architectural firm with a sensible, properly spelled and capitalized name, because that’s what you expect. The name being wrong stands out for how wrong it is. In that case, it does work, because I don’t remember the names of any other architectural firms.

But, on that note, I do know the buildings of other architecture firms, and if I was in the position to commission on for a major project, that’s what I’d make my decision based on. And, to be honest, I’d probably hire this firm. I really liked the bright, airy, welcoming design they did in Langenburg. I like their tendency to prioritize natural light and materials. Their work is solid.

Which makes their name extra frustrating, because then I’d have to swallow my pride and my distaste for the name itself and sign a contract with people who annoy me immensely.

That situation is purely hypothetical, of course, because nobody is asking me to hire an architecture firm.

Unfortunately for me, if not for them, they are stuck with the name now. They have done enough work, and enough good work, across the province that people know who they are, what they’re capable of, and whether they want to work with them. They have built a reputation in spite of their terrible name and now if you want a building with a lot of glass and some appealing wood, they’re going to come to mind. And then you’ll look at their stupid name, shake their head, and wonder why they weren’t as good at naming themselves as they were at designing buildings.

If they do get to design an addition to the Gallagher Centre for a new ice surface for the city, as is being proposed right now, it will probably be a very nice addition. And I will get a little bit angry every time I have to type their name in order to discuss their involvement in the project.

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