7 Tips for Your Menu Design
7 tips for your menu design
Whilst it can be tempting to DIY your menu design, working with a graphic designer will enhance what you've already done. Whether it is a posh restaurant or a burger bar, the menu needs to be developed from the viewpoint of the consumer – the goal is to entice customers to engage and enjoy what's on offer.

A well-designed menu can enhance the dining experience for your customers. Your menu, however, is not just a list of the food and drink your offer but a key part of your restaurant’s marketing plan. If your menu is on-brand it can act as an advertising tool that showcases your establishment’s identity. Here are 7 tips for your menu design.

1 – Divide your menu into sections

It may seem like a basic point but the importance cannot be ignored. Make it easy for your customers to find their favourite dishes by separating your offering into groups. Some standard sections are:

  • Starters
  • Mains
  • Sides
  • Desserts
  • Drinks

However, you may want to split your menu into more sections such as meat type, preparation style, calorie value etc. It’s important to take the time to consider your clientele and how they would want to view your menu.

2 – Use photos sparingly

Including photos of your dishes is a good way to entice customers to try something different. However, the photography must be high-quality – a lowly lit blurry photo will not tempt anyone. It is best to only include a select few photographs in your menu, too many can cause sensory overload and distract from the rest of your menu.

3 – Understand how the eye reads

In the past, menu designers worked on the premise that there was a “sweet spot” that the customer’s eye was drawn to first – the upper right-hand corner. Consequentially, higher profit dishes were positioned there in the hope of grabbing the reader’s attention first. 

New research, using eye-tracking techniques, shows that customers usually start reading from the top-left corner. In an eye-tracking analysis of a restaurant menu, the heatmaps show clear evidence that the top-left area of the menu is observed first. In the first 10 seconds, the reader views 4 areas; top-left, middle, middle-left and top-middle.

4 – The use of colour

Similar to tips for your menu design number 3, it is important to note that the use of colour plays a big part in where the eye is drawn first and where the gaze is held. First and foremost, the use of colour on your menu design must fit in with your brand – not all menus need colour. However, you can use subtle colours to draw the eye to specific sections and make them stand out.

5 – Consider using boxes and borders

Using bold boxes or borders is another great way to attract the customer’s eye to dishes that have high-profit margins. Highlighting a group of dishes with a distinctive border or colour could pique the customer’s interest in trying one of those menu items.

6 – Typography

Good typography is key to a great menu design. Your menu should use a balance of at least two fonts to allow readers to easily distinguish the names and descriptions of dishes. An experienced graphic designer will be able to work with you to find the perfect font pairing for your menu.

7 – Work with a graphic designer

Whilst it can be tempting to DIY your menu design, working with a graphic designer will enhance what you have already done. The driving force of a good menu is not the designer – it is you, the person who has developed the offering of food and drink. Your insight, vision and guidance are what make the menu a proper representation of your restaurant. As such, you should find a graphic designer that understands that and wants to work with you. 

I hope you have found these tips for your menu design helpful. Menu design is one of my favourite projects to work on – find out more about my menu design service here or get in touch for a no-obligation chat!

about lvfg creative

I’m Lou, a freelance graphic designer based in Kent, UK. I work collaboratively with clients of all sizes.

After years of working in offices, I decided to take my skills freelance. It’s great to work with a mixture of clients across different sectors. 

I love working with great people to help their businesses thrive. I work closely with my clients to create high-quality work that meets the objectives and develop long-lasting relationships.

Sound good? Let’s work together.

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