How To Redesign a Menu

By Maya P. Lim

Perhaps you can’t judge a book by its cover, but diners may judge a restaurant by its menu. Ideally, menus match the establishment’s atmosphere, cuisine—and price point. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use core design principles to transform a menu from being awkward to being quietly sophisticated.

Despite the flourishes and frames in the original menu (on the left below), it looks anything but elegant. Let’s see how changes to the focal point, white space, and information hierarchy can make a big difference.

This is the poster frame for a video tutorial in which Maya P. Lim shows you how to design a menu.

Click the image to play the video tutorial.

The original menu was set in Arial. For the redesign, I set the restaurant name in Grafolita Script and applied several styles in the large Minion family to the rest of the text.

I laid out the document in Adobe InDesign CC. (Adobe Illustrator CC would also fit the bill.) Two InDesign features were especially handy: anchored objects for the lines that divide sections of the new menu, and nested styles to speed up styling repetitive information.

The end result is easier to scan, has more visual appeal, and is a better fit for the restaurant owner’s vision. Bon appétit!