Introducing “Cotton Bureau At Large”, Or “At Large”, For Short

In the fine tradition of, uhm, Bill Simmons, we’d like to share the origin story of At Large.

Naming is both more and less important than you think it is. For us, without a name, we have a hard time moving forward. It isn’t real until it’s been named, and naming is something we take a lot of pride in, as evidenced by the very fond feelings we still have for our former selves, Full Stop and United Pixelworkers, as well as our current incarnation, Cotton Bureau.

You’re probably familiar with the finer points of naming. A name should be easy to spell, memorable, meaningful, and, most importantly, somewhat available wherever you intend for it to reside. It doesn’t have to tick all of the boxes, but typically the more of them it can cross off the list, the better. In addition to those criteria, there’s one other that we’re guilty of incorporating more often than not: our favorite names are usually puns. Our first company blog was Full Disclosure. We even had a second, now defunct alter ego blog called “Full Exposure”. The Cotton Bureau Tumblr is Tumble Dry and the designer interview series, “Freshly Laundered”. It’s very possible we take our puns to unhealthy levels. If you need more of that, you’ll love us on Twitter.

So, why “At Large”? First, Medium publications require names, and, as with Tumblr, we thought playing off the host’s name made sense. Second, sizing is an essential part of t-shirt buying. When you combine those two, you can see how we ended up where we are. We think the name is a good… fit. Now that we all have our groans out of the way, there are a few other aspects of the name that appealed to us. It wasn’t too obvious. (As much as we love a good play on words, we prefer them to stay out of the way, if possible.) It’s easy to spell, remember, share, etc. And, bringing it full circle, “at large” is a common designation for someone in the publishing industry that contributes in an irregular, loosely defined way. That suits us, as we like our editorial freedom.

Before you go, we thought you might enjoy some of the names that didn’t make the cut. Some of these are better or more completely fleshed out than others.

  • Thread / Threadbare
  • Fabric
  • Weave
  • 100% Cotton
  • Blend
  • Fit
  • Fiber
  • Fit & Fiber
  • Extra Large / Extra Small
  • Ravel / Unraveled
  • Bleach / Unbleached
  • Raw
  • Cloth
  • Whole Cloth
  • Raw Cloth
  • Textile
  • Unbleached Raw
  • Off the Cuff
  • Back of the Drawer

Anyway, welcome to At Large!