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Beware the Small Print

May 01, 2009

Beware the Small Print

Celia Sin-Tien Cheng

An article on menu design in last weekend’s Financial Times was illuminating. It discusses how a restaurant’s menu, that should be a key marketing tool, is all too often difficult to read. The columnist, Nicholas Lander, asked British graphic designer Mike Dempsey the principles behind a menu that’s easy and attractive to read, and also asked him to critique 20 international menus.

Dempsey points out that the basic principles of good menu design are the same that drive the design of newspapers. As with all information design, a menu should be succinct and contain a clear hierarchy that’s easy to navigate. While clarity should always come first, a menu should also convey the restaurant’s personality.

Beware the Small Print“ is a must-read for all restaurant owners, or anyone like me with a passion for both food and design. I highly recommend looking it up on

designNicholas LanderMike DempseyMenu