For most artists, who you are is most recognized by the name you are called and the art you make. While most artists just go by their name given at birth, other artists use an artist name. While it’s perfectly fine to go by your legal name, do some research before you settle in.
Why have an artist name?
This name can help you develop a brand and differentiate yourself from others. Choosing an artist name is beneficial to help ease confusion between people with the same name, or if you have a popular name. On the opposing side, if your name is too difficult to pronounce or two long, then changing it can help as well.
You want the name to be what you are most proud to be and speaks to the creative brand you want to be. Think about who you are, what you do, and how that name relates to the work you create. Also consider if you want to go by a name, or brand yourself under a studio or business name.
What other careers use alias names?
Having a stage or artist name is found in all sorts of occupations including, journalism and writing, wrestling, artistry, music, comedians, and entertainers. It’s not uncommon to work under a different name or brand name.
What are strategic reasons to consider a name change?
Some people find a surprise when they Google their name. A local artist I know, Googled her name and found there is a swimsuit model who pops up on the search engine. Search yourself and see what pops up. Find out if what you uncover can damage your creative image. If it does, think about how you can alter your name to avoid those types of online confusion.
Do some research and figure out who competes with your name brand. Maybe you need to add your middle initial to your artist name to help differentiate yourself. See if a name has already been taken before you commit.
Increasing your SEO compatibility online could be another reason why you would change your name. Interesting or creative artist names will have more open domain names and email accounts available compared to a more common name.
How do I transition into my new artist name?
If you have decided to take on a new artist name, the transition from what people called you to your new name will take some time. Be patient as you “re-train” people with your new artist name.
Begin with your legal documents. If you are an LLC or other formal business you may need to submit an amendment to alter the name of your business. Check with your bank accounts and other areas of legal and government registration to make sure you are following the proper processes.
Next, work on changing your digital footprint.
- Buy a new domain name for your website under your artist name
- Change your social media account usernames
- Alter the name on your Google Business site to reflect the new name
- Update your online accounts and profiles for local organizations
- Adapt the signature of your emails to auto-populate your new name
You can also make a formal announcement or public post about your rebrand and share the story behind your artist name. People are generally interested in this and providing the story can help ease the change.
Next, work on some other creative ways to continue this change:
- Update your business card and marketing materials
- Re-record the message on your voicemail recording
- Change the name on your studio door, or arts building directory
- Work on delivering your elevator speech to those who ask about your name change
- Develop a smooth introduction and get used to referring yourself under your artist name
- Amend your resume and other professional documents
Whether that’s your legal name, an adaptation, or a creative artist’s name. Figure out what your name is and stick to it. Consistency is key when building your brand and titling your resume.