Emma Element is a British graphic designer who, in addition to loving pandas and maybe being a comic book hero, graciously took time out of her schedule to help provide some excellent answers to my questions.
Thanks so much Emma!
1) Is there a story (that you’ve been told) about where your name comes from (particularly your last name)?
Well unfortunately there isn’t, as far as I’m aware, any stories or tales of the ‘Element’ name origin handed down in the family. But I’ve always been fairly curious, especially as a child, because I thought the word ‘Element’ has a kind of mystical charm to it. This interest led me to do a bit of research a couple of years back which opened a few interesting doors. Unfortunately, as it was online I’m not too sure on its validity, but either way it’s still pretty unusual.
Apparently after the Norman Conquest in 1066 when french became the official language in Britain, the application of french was quite a struggle which led to Anglicised pronunciations and spellings of french words. The name ‘Element’ comes from the Anglicised version of the french word for ‘German’ (Alemaund) and over the years there have been several variations (Allmand, Almand, Almond, Allamand, Ellemand, Ellement) which have led to the spelling of ‘Element.’
2) What does your name mean to you? Do YOU think you have a great name?
It’s always been something I’ve had as an advantage because it’s always an instant positive talking point with strangers. It’s quite unusual, different and memorable, which is always nice I think, especially entering a creative industry. I do think I have a great name and I’m very proud of it to the point where if I ever get married my partner will have a hard time convincing me to give it up!
3) Is it good or bad – or perhaps a bit of both – to have a distinctive name?
It’s a bit of both I think, but chances are it’s based solely on how you deal with it. Some distinctive names can have negative associations which is the worst thing you want when you’re growing up. My name is unusual but fairly neutral and I still got teased because kids will make fun, different name or not, and that’s important to realise. You can either make the best of it and use it to your advantage (memorable names are always great for business) or decide to cut your losses and count the days till you can change it legally.
4) Do you care what others think of your name? What reactions from others have you encountered over the years?
Hah! Well it’s always been a massive talking point if it comes up in conversation. I’ve had a lot of strange reactions before but pretty much all are extremely positive and complimentary. I regularly get people telling me it sounds like a comic book character’s name which always makes me feel pretty super hero-esque. I’ve also got the scientist and magician remarks over the years as well. A couple of times I’ve had to get my driving license out because people literally do not believe me. It’s always quite amusing nonetheless and something to laugh about.
5) Do you have a favourite name you’ve come across over the years?
I have a few I think because I know if I ever have kids I want to go all-out on a crazy naming spree. My cousin is called Cosmo Element and I know it’s cheating a little bit to name family but come on, Cosmo. Element. It’s just brilliant!
As for quirky celebrity names I’ve heard over the years It has to be either Frank Zappa’s Daughter ‘Moon Unit Zappa’ or David Bowie’s Son ‘Zowie Bowie’ those are my favourite. I love anything that sounds futuristic and space age.
6) Name your favourite element (periodic table or otherwise). 🙂
Hah, I’m well versed in this question. My favourite periodic element is neon because neon lights are pretty cool, and my favourite classical element is aether (the fifth element which is the material that fills the universe and not subject to change). Most people know Earth, Water, Air and Fire, but Aether is definitely the coolest one.