Menu Layout and Creation

For the menus I began by measuring actual layouts to work out the spacing that was used around the edges of the pages, spacing between dishes and headings and type size. I sized the menus to be 180mm x 260mm for the main menu with the drinks menu being thinner but the same height, which will differentiate the menus easily for the user without having to open them and check. This also means that the main menu wouldn’t be as thick and result in the customer having to flick through the menu to get to the drinks menu. I am planning to Japanese bind the menus together which means that there will have to be an area on the left of each page that will be dedicated to the binding, I cannot place any information in this area so that the binding doesn’t cover any imagery and more importantly isn’t covering any type because that could make it difficult for the customer to read the information on the front/back of the menus. Avoiding situations like this will be key to make sure that the menus are presented in a professional manner.

I began by leaving a 20mm section of the page to be dedicated to the binding and the majority of the page to be the main page and so found the centre line using the ruler and guide tool and began constructing a basic grid that I could use to help with positioning and placement of type and imagery. I wanted the new design for the brand to be clean but colourful and so placed the logo at the top with the hand written type at the base informing the customer of the type of menu. I experimented with the placement of the logo and hand written type, however after some feedback it was clear that keeping the logo at the top was the best option because it communicates to the customer the brand identity as well as that this isn’t a normal restaurant such as Wetherspoons. The hand written type has also been designed to communicate the origins of this restaurant because it has been designed to take characteristics from Arabic type as well as use letters that are used more often in places such as Morocco, for example the Z drops below the baseline. I also added a gradient to the back of the first page, however after some feedback it was decided that the design didn’t need the gradient and that this had no purpose in the design and so stripping away the gradients wouldn’t affect the brand or its message of high quality food. Other changes were that the hand written type was rescaled so that it matched the thickness of the logo so that they were equal, which made it stand out more as well as moving the logo and type down from the top of the menu so that It didn’t look to close together, but still left the white space at the bottom of the cover. I was also going to have the detailed 12 sided geometric shape bleeding off the front page in the bottom left hand corner, but this made the page seem too busy and so it was removed and repurposed inside the menu.

Once I had created the grid I could replicate this basic grid so that it was on all pages to make sure that all the type would be on the same level throughout the two menus pages and that the area for the binding was all the same. Once I had created the pages I began copying Azouma’s menu by photographing the original when I was in the restaurant and copying that into a word document, which could be used later to easily copy and paste the dishes, descriptions and prices into the new menu. When copying the menu I had to check all the spellings of the spices and some ingredients because there were quite a lot of misspelt words, randomly added capital letters and poor punctuation and so it became an editorial task as well. Once the dishes had been copied I created individual text boxes and began placing them onto the pages set in Arial 12 pt, which after feedback was altered to Futura 11pt and finally reduced in size again to 9pt after test printing and finding that the 11pt could have been reduced and not affect clarity for reading. After a critique I was given feedback to make the names of the dishes or the descriptions stand out against each other and so altered the dishes so that the names were in italic (me and Tim couldn’t find a bold Futura on the system that I could have used, however Italic worked well) to stand out against the descriptions (I tried having the descriptions in italic and the names normal, however after test printing I found that the description then stood out more than the name and so altered it back). Spacing the name from the description was key so that the descriptions were easy to read, but were close enough to the name of the dish so that it was clear that they were together; I set the leading from the name to the description set to 22 which left a gap, which helped the italic of the name stand out more on the page and I created spacing between the lines of the descriptions so that could be read easily because the lines were spread out meaning that any letters that dropped below the baseline weren’t too close to the next line.  I began creating the headings in the same process as the brand name for each heading for the dishes and placed these at the top of the pages.

I created a jig that I could use out of coloured rectangles that helped me with the spacing between the headings and the dishes as well as the spacing between the dishes, this meant that I could position all the dishes and headings equally apart throughout the whole menu with ease; the headings were spaced further away from the dishes to make sure that any parts of the letter anatomy that fell below the baseline were not too close to the first dish. I set the width of the text boxes so that the descriptions did not span over 2/3 of the pages, which would leave enough room for the price and some white space which gives the reader a break from the text. The headings had to be altered in size because when I test printed and presented them in the critique it was clear that some hadn’t been scaled down so that they were all equal size so I used the first heading at a master size and move the other hand written headings over to that one and made sure that all the letters  were the same scale before continuing and I also test printed for good measure just to be 100% sure.

I made sure that the paragraphs were dropping in line through the use of Shift + Enter which helped align the right edges of the paragraphs and make them more professional because they were all in line with each other. I added all the prices of the dishes and kept them away form the edge where the pages will be French folded then bound and so they were not too hard to read or too close to the edge.

Adding prices to the drinks menu was more difficult because I had to add measurements for drinks, specifically the wine and fizzy drinks because they had three different sizes. I had to reduce the area for the descriptions of the different drinks because the drinks menus were thinner, which meant that there was less space for the prices, so I had to create the different measurements so that they were on top of each other to fit into the space. I kept the measurements and prices some distance apart so that they were clear to read as well as distanced from the edge of the page. On the drinks that didn’t need a description I was able to position their prices horizontally because they didn’t have the height for the measurements used for the wines.

Once the menus were finished I began test printing and fabricating test copies to make sure that the spacing and size of the type was correct. I found that all of the type was too close to the page edges, specifically the prices and I moved everything inwards 5mm and the prices another 7mm. Adding more space to the sides meant that the descriptions had to be reduced (mentioned above) so that everything wasn’t too close to the edges. After creating two mockups of each menu it became clear that the first page was blank because I wanted all the starters to be present on the first spread, which would make it easier for the customer to choose their started, without having to flick back and forth through the menu before making their decision. There was now a blank page as the menu was opened so this was the place that I added the detailed twelve pointed pattern because the other locations that I was considering placing it were not optimal (placed in the centre of the pages with a low opacity or bleeding off the pages throughout the menu).

I printed the menus on G.F.Smith Mohawk Superfine Ultrawhite Smooth 352gsm for the front and back cover and 148gsm for the inside pages because they are going to be folded a thinner paper stock was needed. The paper was of really high quality and after looking at the samples and booklets that G.F.Smith had given out on their open day I could tell that the paper can easily be printed with both laser and ink. To make sure that the type inside the menu was crisp and pure black I had the inside pages printed through a laser which worked out very well and brought out the colours of the pattern to really stand out. I am very happy with how the final results of the menu, specifically with the binding and how the hand written text works to communicate the brand.

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