The New York restaurant Pera Soho uses a menu that has been designed to have a strong hierarchical structure. The name and logo of the restaurant is at the very top of the page, suggesting readers should look at that first. It is also the largest font size used on the page, surrounded by the most white space of any other element on the page, which signals its importance. Having so much white space around the title pulls the eye into point on the page where the title takes up space because it stands out so much more than the other blocks of text that are not contrasted as much with white space. Additionally, it is a very dynamic element on the page because the line of text is curved, which contrasts with the very straight and square blocks of text on the rest of the menu. Moving down into the food items, Pera Soho’s menu shows section titles with larger, bolder font sizes such as the “dips and chips” section or the “salads” section. Although these sections are near the top of the page, signaling that they should be read first, the section that is most important on the hierarchical arrangement is the “main plates” section. This menu is interesting because they clearly arrange the menu sections to be read in a hierarchy of what items should be ordered first, but at the same time use font and style choices that show a hierarchy of importance of the sections, as well. Although all of the section headings are much larger and bolder than the menu items listed in their section, the difference in scale is much larger between the main plates and its items in comparison to the salad section and its items. This menu also uses design elements to make the entire menu more visually dynamic. A large geometric star shape is in the ground of the page, emphasizing the textual elements as the figure of the page. Supporting the argument that the main plates section is the most important section, there is a black banner shape surrounding the title to capture the reader’s attention as well as a black outline in a box shape around the entire section. Black outlines were also used around the two drink sections to emphasize the importance of these sections, but contrast them to the food items as separate choices. Finally, the menu is laid out as a 3 column grid for all of the menu items except for the main plates. Once your eyes reach the main plates section, you notice there are only 2 columns. This, again, supports the hierarchy of the menu options. Overall, this menu used hierarchy extremely well.
In Paradise Creek’s menu, the design of the menu is not quite as obvious a hierarchy as the Pera Soho menu. In Paradise Creek’s menu, we see the same scale contrast between the food items and their descriptions as are seen on the Pera Soho menu. However, there is not as obvious a scale contrast between the section headings and the food items, which makes the hierarchy confusing and makes the section headings easy to skip over. In addition, some of the food items are very bold and dark, pulling the eye away from everything else to look at that particular menu item. This almost suggests a hierarchy of food items within each section, which may confuse patrons into thinking they are a specialty or popular item. The number of different fonts on this menu also makes the page almost too dynamic to the point where it’s overwhelming. Similarly, the grid style used on this menu is less obvious because there are some entries that appear to be on a 1 column grid, some on a 2 column grid, and some on a 3 column grid. These are all mixed together and make it confusing to read the menu because it suggests certain items are grouped together for some reason. Overall, their menu would be much more effective if the columns were more uniform, having only emphasized items in a different grid style, less font styles that are more hierarchically uniform, and contrasting the section headings from the menu items a bit more.