Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nominating Facial Features, Morphing Names

In an earlier article, I described Benjamin Levy's NAME method of remembering names. NAME stands for Nominate, Articulate, Morph and Entwine.

In other words, you Nominate a memorable facial feature, say it (Articulate) quietly to yourself, Morph the name into something memorable, then create a strong active association between the facial feature and the morphed name. In this article I elaborate on the Nominate and Morph phases.


First of all, let's explore the challenge of closely looking at a person's face and identifying a key feature.

Levy writes, "There are a couple of ways to really examine a face.

One is to look at it and mentally draw the letter Z across it: start at the eyes and eyebrows on the left, zip across to the right, diagonally across the nose, then left to right across the mouth.

Another is to mentally draw a figure eight, circling down from the eyes to the mouth and back up again."

Practice this skill when looking at people when you are out, or on television or pictures in newspapers and magazines. As you practice this study of faces, you will develop your facial vocabulary for describing a person's features.

Morphing Names

How can you convert names (with no intrinsic meaning) into something memorable?

1. Add vowels. For example, Scott could be transformed into Scoott with the addition of an "o" and your morphed name could be Scooter. Try adding a vowel or two (A, E, I, O or U) tothe name.

2. Build your wordpower! Morphing names is going to depend on your personal history, backround, education and the associations you have build up in your life. Use wordplay to transform the name. Ask youself "What does sound like, or remind me of?".

"A great way to build your wordpower is to do Crossword Puzzles. This keeps your mind nimble and alive to new ways of looking at language" (Levy).


Here is Levy's summary of making effective Name morphs.

1. Begin with the same letter of the name you are Morphing.
2. Try to choose sound-alike jobjects, rather than verbs or adjectives.
3. Choose distinctive objects.
4. When necessary, you can make an effective Morph by using an image inspired by the name. Maybe ruby slippers remind you of Dorothy (in the land of Oz).
5. Be imaginative - what does the name sound like?
6. If the name seems overwhelming, break it down into one-syllable components.

Morphs enable you to see names that normally you only hear.

More interest in names leads to a better chance of remembering them.

Create your own list of Morphed Names and review it regularly. It is a good idea to have the same morph for the same name, as this is your personal collection of name images. Links to my personal list can be found in an earlier blog article.


  1. Very interesting. I was familiar with the method to associate a noticeable part of the face with the key word for the name. But this is going one step further.

    I have two questions:

    What do you mean with "facial vocabulary"?
    What is the meaning of "Begin with the SMAE letter of the name"?

    Kind reagards,

  2. Hi pleased to meet thee, Id appreciate your comments on this thing what I wrote within the realm of my blog

  3. Florian .. SMAE was a typing mistake and Facial vocabulary is better explained in the article. What I mean is to build up your own vocabulary to describe facial features. In general we are not good at describing a face in great detail.

  4. I nominate that picture too he can pleased all judges.

    Laby[zoot suits