How to Design Menu Covers

By Andrew Dewitt

  • Overview

    A restaurant's menu is often the main way it pulls people off of the street and inside to enjoy a meal. A menu can look flashy, elegant, understated, folksy and down-to-earth or incredibly sophisticated. Aside from the staff and ambiance, a menu is often the silent spokesperson for a restaurant, and the design of a menu is greatly important to the business' success. The menu cover itself is especially important and must be enticing. Designing a menu cover can be a creative and enjoyable process if the correct steps are followed.
    How to Design Menu Covers
    • Step 1

      Plan out some menu cover designs on a sheet of paper. Play with the themes that your restaurant already incorporates into its mission statement. For example, if your restaurant prides itself on quality Italian food without frills or pretension, your menu cover should reflect this idea. Perhaps you will want to incorporate the more rustic qualities of Italian food preparation. Images of wheelbarrows, farm implements or simple ingredients could make excellent cover ideas for a restaurant like this.
    • Step 2

      Decide the dimensions that you wish your menu to be. Take a look at your tables and the overall feel of your restaurant. Figure out whether large menus would work in the space you have, or if smaller menus would look better.


    • Step 3

      Borrow a few menus from other restaurants and set them on your tables. This will help you get a concrete idea for menu sizes, colors and even materials that work best in your environment. Set the lights and candles as if it was a normal night and see which menus look the best to you.
    • Step 4

      Scan your image into your computer. Make sure the size matches the dimensions of the menu you wish to use. If you are using a simple laminated menu, you can take a disc with the menu image to a print shop such as Kinko's. If you are planning to have the image embossed on specific material, it might be best to contact a menu cover creator. Creators offer a range of sizes and materials for your custom-designed image.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Paper
    • Pencil
    • Pen
    • Scanner
    • Photoshop or another photo editing program
    • Tip: Run your menu design by the staff and managers and ask them what they think. If you are having trouble deciding, you can always have a vote on which design to keep.
    • Warning:
    • Keep your design simple. A complicated or confusing design could make your menu less enticing.

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