In this paper, we discuss the role of name labels in facial recognition, arguing that the function of a proper name is to direct the level of specificity at which a face is perceived. First, we discuss the expertise hypothesis of face recognition in which the face is identified at the specific, subordinate level of the individual. This research has important implications with respect to how a name label affects the recognition of a face stimulus. Next, we consider evidence from neurophysiological research revealing how names facilitate the familiarity, categorization and individuation of a face as measured by event-related potentials (ERPs). We examine results from studies of perceptual expertise and the other-race effects (OREs) that suggest formation and retrieval of face representations are heavily dependent on name labels. In light of these findings, we propose the function of a proper name is to direct visual attention to the most subordinate-level category associated with the individuated identity of a face. The uniqueness of the proper name label dictates that the representation mediating face recognition will be a highly detailed, perceptual description of the person.