A Comprehensive Guide To Fonts


Some fonts have a reputation in the industry. We hide from Comic Sans like the plague.

That doesn’t mean certain “niche” fonts don’t have their uses.

Comic sans originally was used to copy the style of comic books to appeal to kids. However, this isn’t really the style most restaurants are going for, and over time it’s become a bit overplayed anyway.

The tone and feel you want to convey through a menu is surprisingly dependent on font.

Modern restaurants are capitalizing on the psychological effects of fonts in surprising ways. Some restaurants intentionally use complex or intricate typefaces to show their food menu items off. According to Time, , this method actually works. When diners cannot understand the name of a menu item or read a complex font, they assume the preparation methods and ingredients are equally complex or exotic.

Some of the most common fonts found on menus include Arial, Helvetica, Baskerville, and Railway. You can read about the history of each of these classic fonts and more here at Lifehack.org.

The use of the font you choose should strike a balance between fitting the vibe of the restaurant and practicality of application in that space. If you own a very dimly lit bar, it might be best to go with something more easily legible from a distance and high in contrast. This doesn’t mean you can’t also pick an old school script font, but it might also need to be worked around a little bit. In these cases it might be best to get help from a graphic designer. It is hard to mess with the opacity and boldness of font yourself without making it illegible, and you may not even have the software to adapt it. You can click here to contact one of our professionals and get assistance on any and all graphic design needs.


“Think of your menu as your restaurant business card. It introduces the customer to your restaurant, and its design should complement the décor, service, food quality, and price.””
— Restaurant Resource Group

This 9 page psychological study that you can read further in-depth here, is entirely about the psychology of menu design. They say, “It is the only piece of printed advertising that you are virtually 100 percent sure will be read by the guest. Once placed in the guest’s hand, it can directly influence not only what they will order, but ultimately how much they will spend.”

This makes your menu very, very important. Font is no exception. They list one of the their most commonly seen mistakes as “not emphasizing the items the restaurant wants to sell through graphics, fonts, color, or illustrations reduces your influence on what items will move.”

The way the font is positioned is just as important. If you have text floating off around the page haphazardly it may convey a sense of chaos and uncertainty in your own restaurant’s ‘feel.’

When in doubt, let a graphic designer help you feel it out. They can create multiple mock ups for you to compare and contrast in real life. Let us do the work for you and contact us here.

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