I always had to be careful in my younger days not to fall for girls called Jacqueline, for fear of ensuing marriage and the infliction of an unfortunate surname (just say it out loud: Jacqueline Hyde). But perhaps other men are not quite so sensitive. Take Mr Whettem, for instance: surely he must have realised that marrying a girl called Fanny was going to subject her to a lifetime of sniggering. Poor girl.
Continuing with the tonsorial theme, I thought this might be a candidate for Alan's Alphabet - and then I downloaded the picture and saw that I was being given the eye by the brown shirt. Clearly a man who cares not a jot for the tribulations of a typographer.
I was at a private view a few weeks back where somebody gave a speech bemoaning the homogenisation of our high streets. And, of course, my fellow designers have a great deal to answer for when it comes to uniformity of choice. Because when it comes to hairdressers, would it really be a better world if every high street had a Toni & Guy, and that was it?
But of course we live in a free world: one that is governed only by market forces. And there's no shortage of hairdressers throughout the land who will fight with all their might to declare their independence of spirit. And you have to admire them, don't you? The ones who think that naming their salon 'Curl Up and Dye' will rescue them from obscurity?
But Hair FurLong takes the whole issue to an entirely different level, I think you'd have to agree. I must admit that it was merely the name that caught my attention first: because what does it mean? And what's the significance of the capital L in FurLong? I'll still be puzzling over this for years to come.
And it's only when I've come to look at the photograph that I took yesterday that I realise that every single detail only goes to reinforce the enigma. Take those clay tiles on the roof, for instance. That's clay tiles where there should be slates. That must be the legacy of a Tuscan holiday, surely? And Spain gets a look in as well, what with that crazy paving under the bow window. And look at that arch over the door - so carefully cut by the jobbing carpenter, but not so careful that he could manage a smooth curve.
What must it be like inside, though. Because the cascade of eau de nil net curtains that you can glimpse behind the glass surely only gives you a hint of what lies within. Somehow I can't get the expression 'big girl's blouse' out of my mind.
But back to the fascia. Mixing up the lower case l in 'Tel' and the dot over the i in 'Hair'- that's such a lovely touch. And you'd think the horizontal moulding in the backing board would hint at the notion of a baseline grid, wouldn't you? But, no - quite clearly, our signmaker here is a wayward spirit. Someone who sneers at the very notion of the strictures of Modernism. And cares nothing for the ways of Bruno Maag and his ilk.
And do you know what? It's perverse of me, I know, but I really wouldn't have it any other way.
I was at a party a couple of weeks ago and got into conversation with an estate agent (that's a realtor if you're reading this on the other side of the pond). Now I know what you're thinking: but honestly I didn't find that out until several minutes in. Anyway, I tried to describe my means of earning a living to him, to which he replied "OK, so you come in at the end make things look sexy, right?". And the conversation petered out not long after.
Now I know you're smarter than that. You know there's more to this job than meets the eye. Take people we collaborate with, for instance: you'll appreciate that we often work alongside fellow professionals like photographers, illustrators and copywriters. But there are others who you might not know about, and here are just a couple:-
The proofreader (like Paul Dalling here) is very often a life saver, because very few graphic designers can spiel correctly.