Name Recognition Sets You Apart From That Other Guy


I like to let cartoon ideas sit around for a few days before working on the art for them. It gives me a little time to let my brain keep chewing on them and come back with a fresh point of view and it works pretty well. This cartoon, for example, went through a lot of changes.

Originally it was a law firm door sign with “Smith, Johnson, Williams & Garcia” on it. (Those are a few of the top surnames according to Census data.) The gag was they had terrific name recognition, but it was a little flat.

Then it was Tom, Dick and Harry, but that’s an older reference and I thought it seemed a little dated.

After a few more tries, the kind of business changed, as did the “names”. I landed here and I’m pretty happy with it. That little bit of extra time really helps to find the crux of a cartoon.

Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website,