Recent intervention trials (Veterans Affairs Diabetes Trial, Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes, Action in Diabetes and Vascular Disease) have underscored problems surrounding the risk-benefit balance of most therapeutic strategies in type 2 diabetes given, especially the limited cardiovascular advantage of tight glycaemic control when set against the co-incident risk of severe hypoglycaemia and weight gain. Consequently, therapy should to tailored to the individual. While attractive, such an approach remains highly empiric and to some extent difficult to implement without practical guidance, in particular for the inexperienced physician. To provide a user-friendly guide for a personalized therapeutic approach to type 2 diabetes, we performed a systematic review of the literature and elaborated a simple rule that was debated at a large independent University Symposium on the occasion of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes held in Vienna 2009. As a result of that process, we now propose an A1C and ABCD of glycaemia management in type 2 diabetes to determine appropriate glycaemic targets based on Age, Body weight, Complications and Disease Duration. 'A1C and ABCD' aims to guide clinicians in the use of therapeutic agents more effectively, efficiently and safely. While no regulatory-approved drug can be excluded, given its proven efficacy, there is a need to better phenotype patients, paying particular attention to ABCD. Based on these parameters, physicians can select the therapeutic strategy with minimum risk and maximum benefit for each individual.