Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Choosing a typeface

From: Designing a Restaurant Menu

Video: Choosing a typeface

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.

Choosing a typeface

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Designing a Restaurant Menu
Designing a Restaurant Menu

28 video lessons · 8490 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Designing a Restaurant Menu.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.