Creative baby names can be more than names you invent: The category can include names from literature, the arts, and even photography. You could consider a related word name–the late tennis champion Arthur Ashe and his photographer wife named their daughter Camera– and we’ve also heard of at least one little girl called Leica, after the iconic brand.
Much better though to turn to the names of the greats in the field for artistic inspiration. Here are the Nameberry Picks of the 12 Best –meaning of course the most creative baby names.
Andreas Feininger, Gursky
Ansel is very much associated with this great photographer of the American West, and could serve as a tribute to him in the middle spot. The name Ansel is related to the German Anselm, which happens to be the name of another artist, Anselm Kiefer.
August has been heating up in Hollywood–used by Mariska Hargitay, Lena Olin and Jeanne Tripplehorn, (and by Garth Brooks for his daughter), and is rapidly becoming the preferred month name for boys. August has two august literary namesakes: playwrights August Strindberg and August Wilson.
One of the romantic vintage names now on the cusp of a revival, Dorothea means ‘gift of God’ (it’s the reverse of Theodora), and its literary heritage includes Dorothea Brooke, the heroine of the George Eliot novel Middlemarch.
This is a name with four legitimate spellings—depending on how many consonants you want to use. One of the increasingly popular E-boy names, its namesakes include such variously spelled Elliotts as Roosevelt, Ness, Gould, and Spitzer
Adam has faded, but sweet, simple Eve (forget the one in All About Eve) is being appreciated anew these days. It’s biblical but without a heavy religious feel, short but strong, has musical cred via singer Eve, and it’s even a palindrome. Actor Clive Owen chose it for his daughter.
Felix, which means happy and fortunate, would make a felicitous choice, now that it’s thrown off the old negative associations with Felix the Cat and the overly fastidious half of The Odd Couple, Felix Unger. The name of four popes and 67 saints, it’s currently a Top 10 choice in Europe.
A Shakespearean name long fashionable in England, Imogen kind of lost its way here when spelled and pronounced im-oh-GENE. Said properly, Imogen is as pretty and classy as it is distinctive, and is rapidly becoming a Nameberry fave.
This Hungarian standard has recently been picked up by cutting-edge coastal parents, possibly because of its Casablanca connection (the noble Paul Henreid Victor Laszlo character), combined with its cheery upbeat o-ending. And no, you don’t have to use all those accents.
There’s a whole contingent of boys’ names that essentially mean ‘the greatest’—Maximilian, Maxim, Maximus—with the least pretentious of the group being this Italian version. Far more romantic than the better known Mario, it’s ready for wider-spread importation.
Though it began as a nickname for such names as Christina, Valentina and Martina, Tina has long been used on its own. It’s not been heard from for a while,but its nice tinkly quality, combined with powerful namesakes like Tina (born Annie Mae) Turner, Tina (born Elizabeth Stamatina) Fey and Tina (born Christina) Brown, could bring it back.
Very much tied to the trend of occupational surnames for boys, Walker originally referred to someone whose job was to walk over woolen cloth to cleanse it of impurities. Walker hasnow paled a bit along with law partners Carter and Parker.