Menu Design


Front page of former menu from Paradise Creek Brewery in Pullman, WA

Front page of former menu from Paradise Creek Brewery in Pullman, WA

Using Adobe InDesign, rethink the former menu from Paradise Creek Brewery in Pullman, WA so the visual hierarchy is more clear. Consider how use of typography (fonts)—as well as choices concerning scale, positioning, spacingalignment, and color—affect your understanding of the content. How will the viewer/reader navigate your presentation of the various categories of food? Are there additional categories you might add based on your small group trip to visit the restaurant? You will create your menu layout using the page layout program InDesign and using an underlying grid of your own choosing to help you organize information. Make sure your grid and typography choices promote  both organization as well as variation. Additionally, you will use design decisions regarding color, patterntexture, and typography to establish a visual style that is appropriate for this eating and drinking establishment. Save your typographic choices as styles in Indesign so that future editors of the document can follow your lead. Use this project as a way to gain a beginning to intermediate understanding of text styling, positioning, and alignment tools in the page layout program Adobe InDesign.

Inside pages, 2014 menu design, Paradise Creek Brewery, Pullman, WA.


Small Group Presentations

Take a trip to Paradise Creek Brewery and analyze the establishment in terms of its atmosphere, clientele, and food and drink offerings (note: the menu has changed from the one you are using, but overall the food is similar). Take notes and reference images as needed so you can make a short presentation to the class on your findings. Your 5-minute presentation should explain/show:

  • The defining traits of the establishment
  • Suggestions for how these defining traits might influence a menu redesign for Paradise Creek. Think about color, patterntexture, and typography. Reference examples from Art of the Menu if you wish.
  • You may use powerpoint and or an online presentation option to show images for the presentation

Paradise Creek Brewery is located in downtown Pullman. You can check restaurant hours and address here:

– – – – –


  • Hierarchy and Grid chapters from Lupton/Phillips
  • Review your Thinking with Type reading for ideas about typography. The Text and Grid chapters from this book is also a great resource.
  • Review Pattern and Texture readings from Lupton/Phillips and Color reading



  • Paradise Creek Menu Copy (All of this text must appear on your menu redesign. Watch for consistent grammar, punctuation, and spelling. You may add additional copy if you wish, such as the current drink list or the name, address, phone, and website for the restaurant.)

– – – – –

Creative Objectives

  1. Overview: Redesign and reimagine the provided Paradise Creek menu with attention to clear visual hierarchy and appropriate visual style for this eating and drinking establishment.
  2. Hierarchy and Grid: How do you want to encourage your diner to skim your menu? How can you use an underlying grid structure of your own design to promote clear organization alongside appropriate variation? Give attention to margins, columns, alignment and white space as you decide what grid system you will use. Drag out guides to show your grid system.
  3. Typography: Choose a typeface or typeface(s) and use them to: a) assist with clear visual hierarchy; and b) communicate an appropriate visual style for this restaurant.
  4. Color, Pattern, Texture: Use choices regarding color, pattern, and/or texture to help emphasize hierarchy and to establish an appropriate visual mood.

– – – – –

Technical Requirements

If you are not working in the Creative Cloud for this project, see your instructor asap!

  1. Menu copy: You must use all the content from the the original menu, but you may change its order and make adjustments to punctuation and abbreviations, as long as you are consistent. You may add content based on your site visit if you wish.
  2. Page Size and Grid: Set up your document appropriately based on your final output size: Are you designing the menu as a booklet or as a single sheet or sheets? Will it need to be trimmed down from 8.5 x 11 or 11 x 17-inch paper? How/where will it be printed? Make sure to drag out guides to show your underlying grid. Note that the guides can be created on Master Pages so you don’t have to drag them out repeatedly.
  3. Typefaces: Use high-quality fonts. Better quality fonts usually have an array of choices for width and weight, as well as italic and bold options. In general, avoid overly-illustrated fonts, and fonts that look like handwriting, calligraphy, chiseled text, and typewriter text, including but not limited to Edwardian Script, Apple Chancery, Comic Sans, Papyrus, Copperplate, Zapfino. You may download fonts to use, but be aware that free fonts are not always very high quality and may have letterspacing issues.
  4. Typesetting: Explore the sophisticated styling, alignment, and spacing options available to you in the Paragraph and Character panels. Understand Space BeforeSpace After and Indent options in the Paragraph panel and DO NOT use the return key, the tab key or the space bar to make extra spaces. This was covered explicitly in your InDesign lecture.
  5. Saving Styles: Save ALL aspects of your type styling with logical names in the Paragraph Style panel and/or the Character Style panel and make sure they are assigned to various parts of your menu. This was covered explicitly in your InDesign lecture.
  6. Color: Save any colors you use as swatches in the Swatches panel.
  7. High Resolution and Linked Files: If you place any resolution-based images in your menu, make sure they are high res so they will look good when they print. Be aware that, like in Illustrator, InDesign has a Links panel that will help you manage linked and/or embedded images.
  8. Final Printing: Print your menu for the final critique as you imagine it would be printed for use in the restaurant. Pay for good printing at CougarCopies. You may also try printing in Avery 103 to the 103 color printer (double-sided printing instructions). Fold and trim your menu as needed.
  9. Packaging the Final File: Save the InDesign file as a package (this will include fonts and linked images) to turn in digitally. Name the file “yourlastname-menudesign.indd” and your folder of packaged files will be called “yourlastname-menudesign Folder”.

– – – – –

What You Will Turn In

Printed Menu: A printed copy of your menu design (fold/cut to your intended size if smaller than standard paper size). Plan ahead so you can get your work printed at CougarCopies in time for final critique on Thursday, 12/7, or so you can practice printing in Avery 103.

Digital Files: Put your packaged “yourlastname-menudesign Folder” on your thumbdrive to hand in.

Remember to complete your Final Reflection Blog Post no later than Friday, 12/15 at 3:00pm!