Tuesday, May 7

Sets Sets Sets

crystals and canyons

Every once in a while I come across a really striking set of names — where it's not so much the individual names that stand out, but the way they play off one another. Namers know that there are tons of message board games that involve creating sets like these, and there's always talk about whether or not a name "goes with" the names of potential siblings. How a name functions in a set can change its overall effect, make it a more surprising choice, add a mismatched edge or blend seamlessly into a specific style.

My favorite sets seem to be the ones where the names seem like they shouldn't go together at all, but when they're all viewed together, you get a better sense of why they match up. A good sibling set should be like a collage — the pieces stand alone, but work together as part of a bigger overall picture. Here are some that I've created/come across lately:

The "quasi-religious, oblique Biblical, southern belle/beau" set — 

Hart (boy)
Vesper (girl)
Sunday and Selah (girls)

I love how Hart works here as a sort of theme anchor. Obviously it sounds like the word "heart," which serves to bring you in to the more overtly religious trio of Vesper (meaning "evening," and can refer to evening prayer services/mass), Sunday (for the Sabbath) and Selah (a word used in the book of Psalms referring to a musical pause)

The "European, history-buff, daring but classical" set — 

Aquilla (boy)
Bruno (boy)
George (boy)
Olympia (girl)

The use of Aquilla for a boy sets the tone here. Following it up with Bruno and George, two very masculine choices, grounds the set, and then Olympia is a nice bookend, reminding us of the daring choice of Aquilla, a name from ancient Rome that means "eagle"

The "modern, hip, artsy, sort of hippie but not really" set  

Seth (boy)
Remy (girl) 
Jude (girl) 
August (girl) 

I'm not generally a fan of Seth, but I like how it works here. The first three names are 4-letters long, which would make you expect a fourth one to match, and I like the surprise of August, instead. I like the use of boy names on girls here, too  if this were an all-boy set I don't think it'd work nearly as well

The "lyrical feminine, strong and mystical, princessy" set  

Maialen & Taliesen (all girls)

I love that this sister set uses names with different endings, but similar soft, lyrical sounds. Aurelia starts it off with a bang, is grounded by the lovely, simple Cecile, and the very unusual Maialen and Taliesen (used here as twin names) make it clear that this set isn't just about super-girly names, it's about a collection of beautiful sounds. If you take apart the elements here, they are heavy on the "L," "-ay" and "-ah"

Check back later this week for my predictions/guesses on what's coming up on the 2012 SSA lists!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how I love Taliesin, it is the second time I've come across it today and looked it up. I saw it earlier on Remodelista in a blog post mentioning Frank Lloyd Wright's home, Taliesin West. Vesper is gorgeous too, and I love the form Vespertine.


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