Once it became clear that I need a business identity, I had to decide what that identity should be. The obvious choice is to use my own name, calling myself something like “Jim MacQuarrie Design” or some such. That’s convenient for a lot of reasons, but I decided to go in another direction. As Jim MacQuarrie Design, I’m still just one guy working out of a spare room in my house. Besides, I do a lot of other things besides graphics. I’m a cartoonist, an archery instructor, and occasionally a teacher. I wanted to make a distinction between myself and my graphic design work. The best way to do that is to create a separate identity for the business.
Aside from that, there’s the simple fact that this business is going to be a lot more than just me. I have a lot of talented friends and family who can do everything from animation to photography, and having a business umbrella makes it a lot easier to bring those people in as needed without having to explain why I’m subcontracting out part of the job. A business identity also allows me to work with my bride in a more equal partnership, since none of this is going to work without her organizational and administrative abilities.
When it came time to pick a name, Lancer Creative Services was the immediate favorite name. It actually reference a few different concepts.
It’s visual. Everyone knows what a lancer is; a knight on horseback. It’s visually appealing, dynamic, energetic, it conveys a sense of action and bold drama. Who doesn’t like a knight in shining armor?
Freelancer without the Free. As a freelancer, I get a lot of requests to do projects big and small for little to no payment; generally these are worthwhile projects, but I only have so many hours and have to limit those free projects. People are a lot more likely to ask an individual to do something as a favor than they are to ask a business owner.
Lancer’s is a restaurant in Burbank where a bunch of cartoonists and animators gather for lunch on a regular basis. Since these guys are the ones I’m most likely to collaborate with on projects, it makes sense to commemorate the restaurant in our business name.
It’s tested. Pasadena City College’s team name is the Lancers. Okay, I’m not a big “rah rah, true to my school” kind of guy, but it’s a local thing and it helped to convince me that the name has some selling power.
I’m a sucker for epic heroes. Being a comic book nerd, I like the concept of heroic myth. As an archer, I’m a big fan of the likes of Robin Hood and other such swashbuckling sorts. I couldn’t think of a good archery-related name that lent itself to as many visual and iconic possibilities as Lancer, so I decided to go with the Knights of the Round Table (and the Knights Who Say NEE!), and here we are.
So that’s where the name came from.