When choosing a typeface for our menu, we have a few important considerations. First and foremost, anything that we choose has to be readable. It's an obvious point; one that frequently gets overlooked. Restaurants, cafes are frequently rather dimly lit places to create that soft atmosphere, but that's going to make the type a little bit less readable than it would be in bright lighting. So perhaps we want to err on the side of making our type a little bit bigger than we might otherwise. It's not an uncommon thing to see people holding menus at a distance so they can read them correctly, so they can bring them into focus, or putting on their reading glasses.
So let's make sure that our type is very user friendly, and very readable. So the concept of a readable typeface is a pretty subjective term. Our first major choice stylistically is, do we go with the serif typeface, or with a sans serif typeface? Currently I'm in Minion Pro, and that's only because it's the default font. I wasn't even thinking about the typeface in the previous step, I was exclusively concerned with the text content, not its appearance. So Minion Pro is a beautiful, relatively neutral -- it doesn't carry too many connotations, negative or positive -- because as well as considering readability, I'm also considering, here, practicability.
By that I mean, I'm limiting my typeface choices to those typefaces that come installed with InDesign. We can, when we end this project, create a template, and pass it on to whomever is going to be updating this menu on a regular basis, and we don't need to worry about missing font problems, which can so frequently cause frustrations. So as an example of a sans serif typeface, one that comes with InDesign, one that is very adaptable, very friendly, is Myriad Pro.
It's also very versatile, because it comes in a range of weights. Now, I mentioned that Myriad Pro is very friendly. It's in a class of typefaces referred to as humanistic sans serifs. The proportions of its letters are based upon old style letters from stone carving and calligraphy. If we wanted to go with something more geometric, then we could use Futura. But Futura, unfortunately, beautiful font that it is, is one of those typefaces that not everyone has. And it is also, at smaller type sizes, perhaps not so readable, because the lower case L's can frequently be confused with an I, or even a T, especially when you have two L's together; the readability of Futura can suffer somewhat.
And it's also a font with a certain amount of cultural baggage, not that that's a bad thing, but it has a very modernist, very minimalist aesthetic, and I don't think that's really what we are after here with our restaurant menu. So I am going to discount that one. Another possible choice, were we going to go serif typeface, would be Chaparral Pro, which is another very friendly, very accessible, very readable serif typeface, that has a fair amount of personality at the same time.
Ultimately, though, and this gets back to the issue of just how much personality do we want to inject into this with our typeface, or do we want to give our menu personality with other design elements? So if the latter is true; if we want to have the personality come more through the color scheme, more through the format, more through any textures, or other design elements that we might add, then perhaps a more neutral approach to the typeface choice is appropriate. And in terms of a neutral typeface, Helvetica, in this case, specifically Helvetica Neue, or as some people call it, Helvetica Neue, is perhaps as neutral as one can get.
And as sans serif typefaces go, it is extremely readable. Now by neutral, what I mean is that the average customer -- excluding designers, and type geeks -- the average customer is not going to be pausing to consider the typeface choice. They are are just going to be reading the content of the items on the menu. Now, we also need to consider size, and other spacing options, but I am going to do that in another movie. For now, I'm going to conclude by saying that my typeface choice for this project is going to be Helvetica, because of its neutrality, because it's readily available. And I'm going to use it in a couple of different weights, bold and regular, so that we can establish some sort of hierarchy and order with the items on the menu.
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