essays

Rethinking the Coffee Shop Menu

Menus shouldn’t be confusing. The purpose of the menu is to be able to quickly glance at the options and make a decision. This is especially true for Coffee Shops. Your customers are tired. They come in blurry eyed. The start of the day already putting them in a panic.

One should be able to quickly assess a menu and choose what it is they desire. Yet many menus are cluttered and unorganized. The information is on multiple lines and columns. The lack of contrast between the typography makes it difficult to read.

It seems we’ve gotten away from making elegant lists. Establishing a rhythm and quickly communicating what needs to be said in a few words.

I recreated my coffee shop menu in the style of Elements of Typographic Style. Looking at the ideas of Table of Contents.

Practice Table of Contents Event List Practice

From there I extracted the idea that the size of the drink is easier to visualize rather than hear. Does anyone really know the difference between 12oz and 16oz? Wouldn’t it be easier to see a simple picture of the kind of cup it comes in?

I created two simple illustrations to communicate the drink sizes.

Minimal Illustrations for Coffee Menu

Using the same grid and rhythm I realized I can easily now add a third column to communicate the prices of the confections. As they are related to the drinks but are of a different category.

Resulting in my redone Coffee Shop Menu:

Coffee Shop Menu