Restaurant Print Menu

Project Calendar | Restaurant Logo | Restaurant Website


You are a graphic designer working for a graphic design studio. A local firm that operates small restaurants in our area is planning one more restaurant.
They would like you to design the printed menus.

Warming up

Read pages 240-264 in the Branding chapter of Robin Landa's Graphic Design Solutions.

Review the process of critical thinking.

Design Process

Here are some resources:


  1. Review the results of the brand and logo project:
    • Samples of restaurant sites and menus
    • The branding from local competitors.
    • The creative brief
    • The menu copy.
  2. Identify design techniques used in print menus.
    • Underlying layout grids
    • Techniques to show hierarchy
    • Use of spacing and proximity used to “chunk” information?
    • Methods to display prices
      • Are they easily seen for price shoppers?
      • Are they understated?
    • The use of texture, colors, and imagery
    • Assemble a mood board to illustrate a proposed style. Step 1 sign-off.
  3. Create thumbnails meeting the following criteria:
    • show a minimum of three different concepts
    • show composition variations for each concept
    • are fast and un-detailed
    • are drawn in proportion to the dimensions of the finished piece
    • show emphasis, balance, unity, rhythm
    • convey composition, sizing and position
    • show general shapes of graphic elements (images, text, etc.)
    • display readable headline type
  4. Submit thumbnails for Step 2 sign-off.
  5. Build the computer rough layout.
    • Organize the contents: categories, text, and images.
    • Establish the hierarchies of the parts.
    • Create paragraph styles for the repeating elements
    • Apply styles to all repeating text.
  6. Submit roughs for Step 3 sign-off on or before deadline date.
  7. Obtain Technology Strategy Step 4 sign-off.
  8. Produce the final design for Step 5 sign-off.
  9. Make final revisions. Step 6 sign-off.
  10. Make a print-ready PDF.
  11. Save final files in a package.
    • Native files
    • InDesign layouts: add an IDML
    • Fonts
    • Linked images
    • The print-ready PDF
  12. Submit final design for Step 7 sign-off on or before the deadline date.

Design Technology

Exercises, discussions


  1. Mind maps
  2. Mood boards-how they are used...listen to this discussion from the Reflex Blue Show podcast. For the full context, here is the whole show. Paul Boag explains why he uses mood boards in this Smashing Magazine article. This article gives 24 practical tips; also, here is a short explantion. A simple template.
  3. What is a persona? How about stereotypes? These episodes from the film People Like Us: Social Class in America are show some examples of "middle class".
  4. A general FYI-How to be a better designer-Nigel French nails it!


  1. Halftones
  2. Bit depth
  3. Web graphics formats, optimization; GIF, JPEG, and PNG
  4. Use paragraph and character styles (print) and CSS (web) to format text
  5. Bootstrap frameworks
  6. Online fonts
  7. Media queries
  8. Scanning line art

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