Have your ever thought about the way food items were presented to you on a menu? Can something as simple as a menu design determine what and where you will eat? Creating a design for a restaurant menu – paper copies for the table and online versions – is a vital part of the food industry because the way things look can impact sales.
Menu design can impact exactly what someone orders. And it is all based on simple elements that we use every day from bold lettering to images to creating hierarchy on the canvas. Here are 5 ways you can use some of that information and other techniques to create an absolutely delicious menu design.
1. Every Placement Matters
The location of each food item on the menu can impact sales of that item. Think of it as food hierarchy. But where do people look first?
· Top center. Whether your menu format is vertical, horizontal or includes multiple pages, the prime position for any menu item is the top third of the canvas in the center.
· Top right directly across from item No. 1. Remember people generally ready from left to right, so if the eye is first drawn to the center item, the logical next step is directly right.
· Top left in line with item Nos. 1 and 2. After looking at the prime spots a menu reader generally tends to shift back into more of a normal reading pattern, starting at the top left of the menu and reading down the column.
· Back of the menu. One of the first things many people do when handed something printed is look at the back. (This can be a key location for specials.)
· Under large headers. Menu scanners will also hop to items that fall directly below large headers such as “entrée,” “appetizer” or “drinks.” You can almost think of each of these sections as a mini-menu design in itself in terms of item placement.
In terms of placement also think about the natural progression of courses. The menu should follow a flow that mimics the courses people will order and eat in the chronology that is most common.
2. Use Images with Care
Each image should be well lit and photographed so that it looks tasty. Grayish food items will not sell. If you plan to use food photography, stick to one or two photos of marquee items.
Also be wary of using stock images for menu design. The item on the menu when represented visually needs to be exactly what you offer.
Another alternative to food images are photos of your establishment (or historical photos if you have them) or illustrations. There are plenty of alternatives to food photography on the menu on terms of visuals that might be a better option.
3. Bold Typography is a Good Thing
Typography is the element that will help you sell items from the menu. Go bold. And maintain readability.
Bold typography can serve as your main “art” element. Incorporate your logo into the menu design or select a great typeface to carry the menu. Remember that people will need to read the words to make choices as you factor in type selections.
Consider a fun pairing of a novelty or script typeface for big headers or marquee menu items and something a little more standard for everything else.
And remember to use bolding and italics strategically. These typographic techniques will draw people to specific items on the menu first. Highlight items that your restaurant is known for or that are good for your bottom line.
4. Create a ‘Special’ Element
It is likely that your menu will contain some form of notes or standard information. This includes notations about dietary concerns – vegan, gluten-free and so on – or can denote the amount of spiciness or flavor of a specific dish. Create a set of special elements and key to note these items to save space on the menu and serve as a visual cue.
Design an icon stack that has a common feel and works at small sizes. Mimic the overall style of the menu design in terms of color, weight and placement of the special elements. And think outside of menu clichés; you don’t have to use an outline of a pepper to note a spicy item. Custom icons are acceptable as long as you note what they mean.
5. Use Color
This may sound simple, but use color. Opt for hues that match your overall branding and style.
Then think about color meanings. Red is thought to stimulate appetite, for example. Green is commonly associated with healthy options. Blue is thought to suppress the urge to eat. As a general rule, bold and bright colors are the preferred option, but color selection can really depend on the type of restaurant.
Are you hungry yet? Designing a menu can be a great challenge and a lot of fun. The most important factors to consider with menu design are readability and the appetizing nature of visuals.
Put these together to help draw eaters in with digital options and encourage ordering with printed in-house menus. Create them in concert for a menu experience that has synergy and brings people back for dinner again and again.
Jovi Printing have worked hand in hand with multiple restaurants and taquerias in order to create the perfect menu for their business.
With so many different options, we are sure you will love your menus!
Contact us at: 713.467.4980