A great meal—at an equally great restaurant—can be a holistic sensory experience. Tasty food is imperative, yes, but the ambiance, service, and décor have to support it well. All come together to (hopefully) create a satisfying part of your day, and the menu plays a key role, kicking off expectations of enjoyment (or not). Whether a menu is scrawled on a chalkboard each day or filed away into a leather-bound behemoth book, many restaurants take this notion very seriously. And designers tend to notice these things, whether done well (or not).
The folks over at Under Consideration (the astute parent co. examining all things graphic design through Speak Up, the Design Encyclopedia and Brand New) noticed, and have begun to catalog menus from around the world in a new blog, Art of the Menu.
It's a new appreciation of the myriad graphic expressions of food. Each menu is presented with thorough images, both as it exists in the restaurant, and as the flat, digital files. Designers are recognized (Pentagram, Mucca), the menu and restaurant get a little blurb, and of course there's room for commentary.
Up and running just this week, this library of menus is not yet comprehensive. But, from the hand-written, casual red and blue font, printed on large order-in notes at Schiller's in NYC, to the finely-tuned origami folds of minimalist Maaemo in Oslo, its a great start. They accept submissions, so all can share beautifully considered menus for food that is as well, or favorite hole-in-the-wall menus that tell it like it is.
Art of the Menu sums it up:
But who are we kidding? A good menu should make you hungry. It should get your mouth watering. Hopefully it does it in a cool-looking way. And if it does, then you will probably find it here, on Art of the Menu.