Designing a Restaurant Menu
Illustration by John Hersey

Designing a Restaurant Menu

with Nigel French

Video: Creating and applying a nested style

Here I'm going to create a nested style that removes the bold facing from the prices. So this brings up one very specific point about InDesign, and one more general point about pricing on menus. The more general point about pricing on menus is, we don't want to draw too much attention to them. Obviously, they should be clear, and easy for the customer to figure out how much things cost, but what we don't want is the price of the item to distract from them choosing the item they actually want. So for that reason, as well as removing the boldfacing, I'm avoiding having them flushed in the right-hand column so the viewer, the customer, can just scan down that column and compare prices, as opposed to thinking about actually eating what they want to eat.

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Watch the Online Video Course Designing a Restaurant Menu
2h 46m Appropriate for all Jan 16, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Nigel French shows how to create a cost-effective, elegantly styled restaurant menu with Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. The course develops three menu designs: folder, four-panel card, and single-page, exploring the design considerations for each, such as size, folding, typeface, and paper stock. The course also sheds light on incorporating logos, choosing appropriate color schemes, and producing menus online and in print.

Topics include:
  • Adding text and design elements
  • Adding texture with a Photoshop brush
  • Creating a proof
  • Adding stylized headers
  • Designing menu inserts
  • Placing and cleaning up text
  • Creating a template
  • Adding a textured background
  • Preparing a menu for print
Subject:
Design
Software:
InDesign
Author:
Nigel French

Creating and applying a nested style

Here I'm going to create a nested style that removes the bold facing from the prices. So this brings up one very specific point about InDesign, and one more general point about pricing on menus. The more general point about pricing on menus is, we don't want to draw too much attention to them. Obviously, they should be clear, and easy for the customer to figure out how much things cost, but what we don't want is the price of the item to distract from them choosing the item they actually want. So for that reason, as well as removing the boldfacing, I'm avoiding having them flushed in the right-hand column so the viewer, the customer, can just scan down that column and compare prices, as opposed to thinking about actually eating what they want to eat.

If you do want to have your prices flush to the right-hand column, then you could replace this character, the character that is in here -- it is an end space -- with a right indent tab, which would look like that. If you wanted to do that on a Find/ Change basis, automatically, you could copy that end space, go to Find/Change; this needs to be a Text Find/Change. Paste it into there, and then change it to -- if we come to Other > Right Indent Tab, or Caret, Y, and then Change All, you'll see that you now have all of your prices flushed in the right-hand column.

I'm deliberately avoiding doing that, so I am now going to undo that, but some people like to do it that way, and if you want do it that way, that's the quickest way to do it: with find and change. But what we are here for is to automatically make all these prices not bold. So, we could do it on a case by case basis. We could select it, and change the font style. An improvement on that is to make a character style, and then apply that character style. But we want do it automatically, so I'm going to go to the item space > Paragraph Style, and then to Drop Caps and Nested Styles, and I'm going to click on New Nested Style.

So if we take a look at what we have going on here, we want things to remain unchanged until we come to the pound symbol, and of course you can substitute whatever currency you're working with here for the pound symbol. So I'm going to say Nested Styles, we want None through, that needs to change to up to 1, and then the currency symbol; the pound symbol in this case. If you're using a non-British keyboard, that would be Option+3 or Alt+3 to insert the pound symbol.

Okay, and now we need to add another nested style. So I'll click on New Nested Style again, and this time we can choose from any predefined character styles. If we don't have one created, we can create it on the fly; New Character Style. I'm going to call this regular. Basic Character Formats, the Font Style will be, you guessed it, Regular. Everything else stays the same; it's blank. It's just going to inherit the values from the paragraph style in which it is applied. Click OK. So we should now see that all of our prices have now gone back to regular.

So this is looking much improved, and I'm now just going to take a spin through the whole document. And I find it's working well, except for some of this information on the Drinks; just generally too much bold facing going on. The same with the Afternoon Teas, and the same with the Sandwiches. So let's see if there's something about these styles that we can identify as being consistent, and then leverage that consistency to create a nested style. And there isn't really, or if there is, for a small amount of text like this, it really is more trouble than it's worth trying to figure it out.

So in the Sandwiches section, I would like to make another style, because I don't want all it boldfacing; it really is too much. All I want is that bit: the name of the sandwich in bold; everything else to be in regular. So I need to make a different paragraph style here. By the way, if you're finding this application of nested styles a bit too much work; if it feels like cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer, you can always, once you've made a character style, just go and apply it on a case by case basis like this, and for a small amount of text, that would be a completely valid approach.

But since I wanted to automate it as much as possible, I am going to, here, create a New Paragraph Style, and I'm going to call it item sandwich; seems as good a name as any. And then I'm going to change the basic character formats of this from bold to regular, and then come to the Drop Caps and Nested Styles. What I want is a New Character Style, and this character style is going to be called bold, and its font style is going to be, you guessed it, Bold.

And it is going to be applied through 1, Colon. So as soon as the name of the item has happened, and the colon, the bold will be turned off, and we will go back to the regular. This second nested style that it inherited from its previous incarnation can now be deleted. So I'll click OK to that, and then I'm going to apply that style to all of those. And then over here, I can apply the same one there to the Full afternoon tea, and to that one.

And now for what remains, I'm just going to make an exception by applying a character style to the areas that I don't actually want to be bold. So that area there will become regular, and that range of text right there will also become regular. Let's bold that. So that should now be all of the fussy stuff out of the way. We should just have the menu item name in bold, everything else, and especially the price, in regular. And that has required some local formatting; applying a character style to specific ranges of text wherever it's appropriate.

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