The menu I chose as a good example of visual hierarchy was for the restaurant “Departure” based in Denver, Colorado.
I think this menu exemplifies hierarchy in a number of ways. The overall organization is simple and clean, but also versatile and interesting. Firstly, the most important aspect of the menu is the restaurant’s title, “Departure” which is in all caps and at the top of the left-hand most flap of the menu. The title is tilted a bit as well, which sets it apart visually and makes the presentation visually interesting without being illegible or too over the top. The flaps themselves are an interesting element because they separate the content of the menu into 3 distinct columns without losing the cohesiveness of the menu. The titles of each section denoting the type of food (such as “salad” or “dim sum”) organize the menu items clearly through the use of larger, bolder font that is hanging to the left of the specific dishes listed below. The dishes are all justified within the same line and are then easily read as being equally important, with the prices of each dish justified opposite without too much space to confuse the viewer of which price relates to which dish. I also think the use of the imagery behind the semi-transparent container for the menu items adds visual interest without being too overwhelming to the eyes. Additionally, the color palette is simple, and though it depicts a mountain scene, it appears more as a subtle gradient that compliments the simple menu rather than being the focal piece of the menu.
As far as the Paradise Creek menu, I see quite a few choices that detract from the overall design. I can tell that the designer was attempting an eclectic, quirky style for the restaurant, but I think that the overly ambitious use of various fonts and organization methods just confuses and takes away from the items themselves, as if they need to hide behind extreme fonts because they offer sub-par food. It seems as if every single kind of font has been used in the menu, which is hard for the reader to adjust to and creates the impression that some items are more important than others, with font size varying as well. I like the use of the periods between the names of the dish and the price, but with how items are not justified in a single cohesive way (switching from right to left and centered justified) it makes it even more obvious how uncentered and uneven the grid system is, which was either ignored or not used properly. I think that the “sides” menu in the middle is also a little distracting since the heavy border attracts the eyes as well, and makes it seem like it is more important than the actual entrees. I also think the “green salads” title being off to the side is another poor decision as it doesn’t match any of the other design choices aesthetically and is difficult to read at such an angle and in that font especially.