Busy menus are commonly seen, creating distractions between your products and customers.
Strategic menu design not only communicates your product to customers, it gives your brand a strong visual identity.
Through the structure, colours, design and animation (Movement), you can optimize your menu, being careful not to over animate or have an abundance of gimmicks that serve only to distract.
Structure your menu
Menu content needs to be structured in an orderly fashion for customers to easily understand it and determine what to order.
Classification sorts items into groups.
For example, your drinks should be in the same area, so customers can easily comprehend all of your soft drink offerings.
Columns and rows structure your content within, making it easy to understand from a distance.
All names should be in one column with the price in the following column. Rows must separate each menu item.
Order of text
Category headings from the largest, sub categories second largest, and items/descriptions/prices third largest.
Text weight (boldness) can also be used to create a hierarchy of text.
The absolute smallest font size you should use is ~20-30 pt (or 26-40 pixels).
A general rule of thumb is for every 3.m.of distance between your customers and the menu your text should increase by 2.25cm.
Avoid using heavy visual weight on only one side (or screen) of the menu.
It will reduce the chance of customers looking at the other menus.
If you have two digital menu boards and one is full of colour and large images, then customers won’t focus on the second screen.
Creating balance and order will allow the customer to move through the menu efficiently and make a complete buying decision.
Balanced use of images
There is no exact rule of thumb for the number of images on your digital menu, however too many images or over animation can distract from an easy to read menu.
A proper visual balance is essential. Ensure that the images don’t get in the way of conveying the information of your menu.
Some menus look great without any images.
Contrast and saturation
Whether it’s video, images, text, or background, avoid using high contrast and saturated colour combinations.
These colours are hard to read and tire the eyes quickly.
Display your Brand
Your menu symbolizes your brand through the text, colour scheme, and overall theme of your design.
Select elements from your website, logo, and store to use in a menu design that shows your brand.
Your menu needs space
There needs to be empty spaces surrounding your text/images so your menu does not become too crowded or cluttered.
Having negative space around objects creates definition and will make your content more visible to customers.
Landscape or Portrait
Menu designs and displays can either be landscape or portrait.
Use the orientation which is better suited to efficiently fit your menu content.
Take the screen orientation into consideration when applying your menu designs.