Designing a Restaurant Menu
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating a template


From:

Designing a Restaurant Menu

with Nigel French

Video: Creating a template

We've created three different versions of this menu. The first, and the one that we've spent the most time with, requires assembling from two different pieces, and it is this one: the folder, where we have the interior, and the exterior, and then inside this, folded over so that we don't see the blank columns, we have the insert. But we also created a two column version, and we created a single letter, or A4 page that is folded once in the middle to create a 4 panel, or 4 page version.

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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 a template

We've created three different versions of this menu. The first, and the one that we've spent the most time with, requires assembling from two different pieces, and it is this one: the folder, where we have the interior, and the exterior, and then inside this, folded over so that we don't see the blank columns, we have the insert. But we also created a two column version, and we created a single letter, or A4 page that is folded once in the middle to create a 4 panel, or 4 page version.

Which one you prefer is going to depend upon a number of factors. This first one -- the one that is the most complicated -- is going to require the most money to print, because the folder is probably going to require sending out to an offset printer. It would be possible -- if you do have a heavy-duty inkjet printer, and can print particularly thick paper -- to get away with printing them yourself, so long as you didn't need to make too many, and gluing them down yourself. But the other two examples can both be printed at home, and indeed, have been designed with that in mind.

However you proceed from here, another design consideration all along is ease of updating for these menus, so that's the next step here. We're going to convert these into a template, so that they can be easily updated by anyone who has just a basic knowledge of InDesign. I'm going to use the alternate version as the case study, but any of the three that you choose, the same principles apply. We want to make sure that we have locked down any elements that we don't need to be updated frequently.

In this case, that might mean the background texture, which is also liable to cause problems to anyone editing the document, because they might select that by mistake, since it is behind the text. So for that reason, the background texture has been placed on a separate layer, and it can be locked on that layer, so that it can no longer be selected, unless there is the conscious act of coming and unlocking that background layer.

Likewise with the logo; that can probably be locked too. That needs to stay in position. It doesn't need to change. It's a permanent fixture, as is this stuff: the tagline, and this bullet list on the front page. So I'm going to select all three of those items, and then we can go and lock the individual items. We can't lock the whole layer, because the text is also on that layer. I can expend my Layers panel, and we see the three items indicated right there.

I'll lock that one, lock that one, and lock that one. And again, they can now only be edited with the conscious act of coming to the Layers panel, twirling open the layer, and then clicking on the locking symbol to unlock them. So that's the first thing you might want to consider. The second thing is then saving as a template. There is not a tremendous amount to be gained by doing this, except it does give you one level of safety. When you save it as a template, you save it with the extension .indt, and I'll now close that, and you'll see the benefit of that when I open it again.

And the benefit is that you always open up an untitled version, so there is no danger of overwriting the original. Now, that generally is a good idea. I'd say, once you get used to using this, you'll probably not want to do that. Personally, I prefer to just do a File > Save As. So as long as you remember to do File > Save As at the beginning of the process, the end result is exactly the same. But if you do want that failsafe, you can save the document as a template, and thereafter, any time you open that template, you open not the original, but an untitled copy.

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