xyzdigital - the Missing Backstory

What is in a name? EVERYTHING

Choosing a name for a company is a challenging but very important step in the formation (or evolution) of a company. How do you condense everything you stand for and represent inside a few words? We experimented with a few names that sounded relevant to our activities at the time, but went away:

New Age [Communications] was descriptive for new 80’s technology but the term was soon co-opted by groups that might be considered weird at the time. Forget that wasted money on stationary.

Spectrum [Communications] indicated a wide range of services, but was fairly generic. Had we persisted and secured spectrum.com early on we could have later cashed out with an island and free cable/internet for life.

InnoVision [Video] was a cool combo word for the 90’s but was soon used by many other larger companies, thus diluted.

Rainmaker Made the Sun Shine

These IDs became obsolete when I started working for Rainmaker Digital Pictures in Vancouver BC. Now that was a company name worthy of attention - a newly minted moniker for the old Gastown Post company. This perfectly described a company transitioning from analogue to digital film post production and an expansion to Los Angeles.

Our next company transition needed a new brand - a simple term that can encompass everything we can and will do. We had always incorporated Red Green and Blue (R,G,B) in our logo schemes, representing the 3 shades of color that can be combined to display millions of other colors.

3 Letters Say It All

Given our exposure to computer animation, we also realized that 3 other letters could be used to model and describe just about anything in the universe: x, y, & z.

Definitions of the letters include:

x - an unknown quantity
x - sign here
x - multiply

y - full or having a lot of something
y - having the qualities of something
y - resembles something

z - atomic number
z - impedance
z - zenith distance

Points to Ponder

You will also hear at some point someone talking about “xyz company” as what a hypothetical company would do in some case.

In spatial and computer distance terms, x y and z are extremely important for three-dimensional coordinates. Simplified visualization:

X - points Left to Right
Y - points Up to Down
Z - points Forward to Backward

Complex combinations of these 3 points can be used to describe the size, position, motion and velocity of almost any object (OBJ) in the universe. You really can’t do better than that with any other symbols. When you see a talented 3D modeler make new worlds from their minds and math, the construction of the universe all starts to make more sense.

Digital EVERYTHING

At the turn of the last century (anyone remember the Y2K debacle?), digital was just starting to take over from the analog world - think DVD vs. VHS. Digital was already more than a buzzword - it was a fact, the future. Since everything (except vinyl records) is digital today, the term is a BIT redundant (bad pun intended) but still encompassing.

So there we have the company name elements - red-x green-y blue-z + digital; xyzdigital = see all and be all; not hypothetical.

Immediately after launch in 2002 we were hired by Deluxe Digital Studios (rgb/xyz on rocket fuel) to help manage the digital conversion of Hollywood. Millions of digital minutes of movies and decades years later we came back here to ground level (0,0,0). The familiar 3 letters, 3 colors and n bits matter more than ever - so we’re still xyz; a timeless brand for the next generation.

Old Equation:   x) unknown quantity y) resembles something z) with impedance
New Equation:   x) multiply y) a lot of something into the z) distance