Art of the Menu – 10 of the Most Inspiring Menu & Restaurant Brandings

This post presents some of the most outstanding restaurant branding and design you will ever see. The designs featured in this post are truly inspiring and artistic and were all created as part of larger branding campaigns; these menu designs reflect a certain graphic aesthetic that is mirrored in the furniture, décor, business cards, letterheads, cutlery, etc. They represent businesses who really know how to present a united and beautiful image to attract customers.

If you are thinking about rebranding or are in the process of creating your own bar or restaurant empire, then look no further than these 10 incredible menu designs for inspiration:

1. Saloon Whiskey Bar

Original source: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Saloon/3113501

This exquisite branding and Identity work was created for a whiskey bar and restaurant by Oat Design Studio in Somerville, Massachusetts. The design company has created a wonderful “old world Americana” feel without resorting to ten gallon hats and flappy bar doors!

Their menu designs look like they have been hand-typeset and have been printed on a selection of different papers and materials. But instead of being a design mish-mash, there’s a real sophistication in their choice of natural materials and print styles.

Their modern take on the classic “saloon” with oak tables, old glass bottles, and classic typesetting is simply brilliant.

 

2. Windsor Pub Menu

Original source: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Windsor-Pub-Menu/6176857

I’m pretty certain that a pub menu has never looked so good! This is a complicated menu with many price-points and products that has been laid-out in a really easy-to-follow and original way by Colombian designer, Juan Urrego. Extensive restaurant menus tend to look like product manuals and are really hard work for customers to take in. But instead of a typical laundry list of products, Juan has created an open layout with lots of negative space. By using price dots and other graphical touches, he has presented a non-typical menu that looks exciting and appealing.

This retro-regal British pub feel was the perfect way to brand this trendy bar and restaurant.

 

3. Sushi 101

Original source: http://nadinefaour.deviantart.com/

This is really beautiful work by Nadine Faour for JWT Bahrain. The beautiful illustrative style of the menu is almost “storybook” in its graphical appeal and leads the viewer on a wonderful culinary journey. The overall branding of this Bahrain sushi restaurant is so precise and synergized – starting with their menus and finishing with their custom take-out packaging. These extra touches add so much value to a restaurant. People appreciate the effort and the desire of a restaurant to be more stylish and visually attractive to the customer. Outstanding work.

 

4. Fade Street Social

Original source: http://stevesimpson.com/17721/849687/portfolio/menu-cover

Amazing designer and illustrator, Steve Simpson created these table-standing menus for a gastro bar in Dublin. The fun and lively designs that he’s created for the bar, walls, fittings, and menus are so immediate and “cool”. It just looks like such a “happening place” where people want to hang out.

It’s a great example of how bright colors and exciting imagery can really position a restaurant to a young and lively audience. These menus and this restaurant has bags of personality – all created through its supreme design and décor choices.

 

5. Ruckuses

Original source: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Ruckuses-Menu/3980649

This conceptual menu by designer, Elle Benway is such a fun and original design. Not only is it beautifully illustrated and typeset but it’s also wonderfully playful and interactive. The way that the customer can use the interactive tabs to build their own burger is genius! It may have be easier to simply list the ingredients, but it’s certainly not as much fun! I also love the pull down tabs that reveal menu info, the spinning “wheel of fate”, and the fabulous array of characters that she has created within the menu.

Sublimely brilliant and creative design work. So good, I can see people going to Ruckuses just to experience the menu!

 

6. La Mere Restaurant

Original source: http://www.behance.net/gallery/La-Mere-Restaurant-Branding/2848845

I love the quality of branding design by Panda Design Studio and Illustrator, Andrew Cachia. They have created a truly artistic piece of typography that runs through all aspects of the restaurant. From the menus to the table tents, to their gorgeous signage, they have created something that has real energy and personality.

In particular, I think that the clever use of typography in the descriptions of dishes adds a sense of excitement and “flavor” to the menu items. It shows other restaurants that you don’t have to be so formal and one-dimensional with your menus and font choices. Even though they have used a myriad of fonts styles in all aspects of their branding, there’s a real uniformity of style and design treatment to make the La Mere brand immediately identifiable.

 

7. Sushi Bar

Original source: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Sushi-Bar/1319177

Modik Estudio in Spain has created a playful but incredibly artistic menu design. Throughout the entire restaurant branding they’ve created for the Sushi Bar, they have presented a highly whimsical design approach that elevates their menus and branding to another level! The menu concept is such a strong one; unfold the menu and it looks like a Japanese fan.

This same playfulness repeats through their napkin rolls that look like actual rolls, their chopsticks that are wearing paper kimonos and their take-out carrier bags that look like beheaded samurai warriors. Their whole branding approach is so conceptually strong and engaging.

 

8. Flour Pot Café

Original source: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Flour-Pot-Bakery-Identity/646665

There’s something that feels so personal and direct about the way that San Francisco designer, Sara Nicely has designed these menu and packaging items. The handwritten menus and menu-themed packaging that list all the ingredient is such a graphically pleasing type treatment. It also represents a clever and health conscious way to list all the delicious ingredients for the benefit of the customer. This deceptively simple design style immediately makes me think of food concepts such as: “pure ingredients,” “organic,” “local,” and “wholesome.”

A good way way to make your café appear friendly and personal is to present a “hand-created” image. Sara Nicely has done this particularly brilliantly and artistically with her engaging menu and design.

 

9. State and Lake Restaurant

Original source: http://www.boyburnsbarn.com/portfolio/state-and-lake

BoyBurnsBarn design studio in Chicago has created a heavyweight piece of design with their menus and branding for State and Lake Restaurant. Their rustic design style can simply be described as “wood cabin chic.” I love how their table menus have been branded with their logo and how their overall design style has taken old-fashioned deer imagery and made it so sophisticated and modern. Truly artistic.

 

10. The Olive Tree

Original source: http://www.behance.net/gallery/The-Olive-Tree/2260980

Last but not least are the exquisite menus created by Blürb Studio in Poland for The Olive Tree Restaurant in Krakow. The main menu they created looks more like a beautiful photography book – filled with artistic shots and sublime food portraits. Everything is so well-structured and thought out in these menus. The simple charcoal and white palette allows the colorful photos to “pop,” and the sophisticated font treatments create a clean and uncluttered look that is not only easy to follow but aesthetically pleasing.

The accompanying breakfast menus in “swatch” format are also gorgeous. They are a simple but effective menu solution that people will remember. These kind of details turn a menu into a piece of artwork that elevates the food and surroundings into something special.

The Olive Tree menu reads like a piece of high-end advertising! Just like the other menus and restaurant branding examples in this post, it shows people how menus can be more than just food listings. They can me playful, theatrical, and artistic – adding value to the dining experience.

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About ben

Ben Fellowes is a seasoned designer, writer, and marketing expert. He's designed and produced content for some of the worlds top agencies and marketing companies. He's currently working (and getting his fair English skin burned) in Southern California! He loves art, punk rock, horror films, Sci-Fi, comic books, real beer, cooking, eating, laughing, and crying (sometimes!)

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One Response to “Art of the Menu – 10 of the Most Inspiring Menu & Restaurant Brandings”

  1. designs@alexparada.com'
    Alex Says:

    Great selection! I really enjoyed going through the different brands, some of them are more structured than others but very sophisticated and quality design driven. very nice job.

    Reply

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