How To: Make an Eye-Catching Restaurant Menu
Make your restaurant menus look spectacular in just 5 steps!

Design Master

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Want to learn how to create an appetizing restaurant menu that’ll make your customers hungry?

In just 5 easy steps, you’ll learn how to create a basic layout, insert vivid images and add text to make the best-looking restaurant menu. Note: For this tutorial, we used InDesign.

To create a basic two-fold sample menu in InDesign, make a new document sized 8.5” x 11” that consists of two pages (one will be for the front portion of the menu and the other for the back). Choose the horizontal orientation and put in ‘2’ for the number of columns, with each column as one face of the menu.

Create Your Document

Step 1: Create your document

For creating a simple menu, other settings aren’t that important, but you can set a margin as a guideline to ensure that your images and text won’t be cut off after printing. Keep all relevant elements within the margins.

Create a preliminary sketch before creating your menu on the computer. This will help you visualize the layout. The front space should serve as the cover, so leave it mainly open for graphics.

Sketch a Layout

Step 2: Create a preliminary sketch.

The central pages will hold most of your content, and the back can be used for extra information, too. Follow your sketch as you work, and use shape and frame tools to define areas of the menu where your content will be. Move the shapes and resize them with the selection tools. Try to avoid clutter so the menu will remain attractive and simple.

Use original photos taken of your restaurant’s specialty dishes. However, if you don’t have any, using stock photos is a great alternative. Select images that complement your restaurant’s style and design and will look good together.

You don’t have to show only food items on your menu. Showcasing the restaurant’s interior and ambiance is also another way to make them feel welcome. Use the most attractive images for the cover of the menu, too.

Selecting & Placing Images

Step 3: Select and place images

All your images should be ready before you insert them into your document using the command ‘Place’, so make sure you have final versions of each photo and keep them in a convenient location on your hard drive.

InDesign’s latest version comes with a great feature called the Color Theme tool. You can use it to create beautiful color schemes using your photos as a starting point.

Create a Color Scheme

Step 4: Create a Color Scheme

All you have to do is click on the desired image on your document, and the tool will create a color theme based off it. Then you can drop desired colors from the newly created theme onto areas of your menu.

Always refer to your color scheme for what color your text should be. For the majority of the text, pick a font that is easy on the eye, leaving fancy fonts for titles.

Provide good contrast between text and background, break the text into small paragraphs and space them adequately to make the menu readable. Use the placeholder text tool in InDesign to check the layout as you work and make corrections by changing text size, alignment, spacing and moving your paragraphs with the selection tools.

Add Text

Step 5: Add Text

Make space for contact information (telephone, address, email, url, etc.) and other helpful details, such as the restaurant’s hours. All of these can be easily inserted onto the back of the menu.

For customers, the menu at your restaurant can make it or break it. Choose the best colors and photos, and use them effectively throughout the menu. A good layout that’s easy to read is also a must. Having an eye-catching menu will pique your customers’ interest and boost your business overall!

Now You Have an Eye-Catching Menu!

Enjoy your awesome new menu!

Edited in InDesign CC 2014. Stock images Roberto Ribeiro, Lewis Johnston, Tracy Toh, StockProject.

About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:


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