Naming one of the most iconic brands in pharmaceuticals.


As a global brand strategy firm, Siegel+Gale was retained to name the merger of Sandoz and Ciba Geigy in 1996. At the time, this was the largest merger in history, and the resultant entity needed a new name to reflect its new mission.

There are a number of distinct challenges in naming a new global company. Some are tactical in nature ­– such as how do you find a name that will translate well around the world and will be available as a global trademark? Other challenges are more creative in nature, such as how do you find a name that clearly signals the vision behind the merger, and helps to tell that story and appeals to the management of both companies? All these factors came into play, during the process.


Originally, we were retained to name the spin-off of some of Sandoz’ specialty chemical businesses—a company that we named Clariant. However, this divestiture was part of a strategic plan to reposition the Sandoz/Ciba merger as a new kind of company—a leading life sciences company. When creating a name for the global marketplace, we often look to Latin roots because these tend to translate well around the world. Using this as the starting point, we explored hundreds of name candidates, conventions and combinations to support this repositioning. The name Novartis simply combines “novo,” Latin for “new and modern” and “artis,” which is Latin for “skill and science.”


The new name helps tell the story of how these newly combined brands—now Novartis—is about the “new skills in the science of life.” The logo we created, based on a mortar and pestle, also helped to reinforce this vision. We consider it an honor to be able to take part in creating this powerful, iconic brand.

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