At the risk of appearing sexist, I fear I have to say: ladies, look away now, this is a man thing.
So, men - if ever you get the chance to dabble in a bit of magazine design there are just two simple words that you need to remember: 'drop' and 'cap'. This is your way of establishing your control over the beast; an easy visual shorthand that will declare "I'm a creative fountainhead, me - I'm not just here to sell advertising space".
And remember, size is the only thing that matters. The bigger you make it, the better. It'll give you more braggadocio than Liam Gallagher when he hits a bum note.
And the easy route in is to choose a font designed by Herb Lubalin. But once you're up and motoring you'll want to design your own cap T (hey, how hard can that be?) - and pretty soon you'll be on your way to becoming the next Neville Brody.
And one further word of advice: if you really want to carry this one off, you first of all need to develop the habit of taking your clients to lunch at St John.
Want to look hip and cool in 2008? Then just reach up for that old Letrasetcatalogue. The one that you've got proudly displayed on your studio shelves. Maybe you're just old enough to have inherited a copy from your Dad, or perhaps you picked it up while mooching around the last Ephemera Society Fair.
No matter. Just look for the most hideous fonts from the 1970s - things like University Roman and Antique Olive - stick them all together, and voila:
Suddenly you're at the cutting edge. And your clients will know that you've heard of Alan Fletcher.
It's an approach that will set you apart as being 'ironic': and particularly effective when you present to the client dressed in the style of a Fakenger.
Here's a new little series. And something intended to help you struggling designers out there. You know, we all get stuck for ideas from time to time, don't we? And our design training has taught us that our very existence depends upon identifying and distilling the 'big idea' behind even the most mundane of products or services. Some little graphic 'twist' that will set our client's brand apart and earn us a black pencil to boot. But what to do when the ideas won't come?
Well, here to help you along is david the designer's guide to graphic clichés: simple solutions that are guaranteed to pull the wool over the eyes of even the most discerning of clients.
#1: the goldfish
The goldfish was first pioneered by The Michael Wolff back in the 1970s and proposed, apparently, as the preferred solution over the Bovis humming bird identity. In fact, so fond was Michael of his fish, when he left Wolff Olins to set up his own design firm, Addison, he took the goldfish image with him and used it unchanged as the Addison logo (so it says in Picturing the Beast).
The goldfish immediately sets your client apart and portrays them as the undoubted leader in their field.
A word of advice, though: when presenting, don't mention the fact that only dead fish swim with the tide.