Typography fundamentals in Affinity Publisher

Product expert Emily walks us through her latest creative session, where she demonstrates the importance of typography by designing a beautiful restaurant menu in Affinity Publisher.

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Typography fundamentals in Affinity Publisher with Emily Goater New page setup

At the start of the session, we looked at how to create a new page and master with different sizes. Before I started designing the main menu, I got an A3 piece of paper and measured how all the menus would look in real life. I started with the biggest piece which was the main menu, and I used these measurements: 160mm x 340mm, 15mm margins (left and right), a 40mm margin at the top (this is to hold branding and other information), then 25mm for the bottom to hold information like the dietary and tip notice.

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Colours and page sizes. Tip: Double click the Zoom tool in the Toolbar to instantly see your designs at 100% scale.

There are thousands of ways to style a menu, and in the past, I’ve been lucky enough to design for folded and book style menus, which I love, but most recently I’ve come across some really great oversized menus, which present their own technical design challenges (hierarchy, eye-scanning journey etc.), but when done right look extremely elegant.

The menu for Cleveland was fun to design as it had to have a minimal and playful look. I also needed to take into account that the menus were to be changed every quarter, so making them recyclable was the only option in my mind.

Here I’m going to share a few things I’ve learnt that will help you to design a great-looking menu, but the next time you go to eat somewhere, take a look at their menu from a design perspective and figure out whether it was designed with care and attention to detail.

Believe it or not, designing an oversized menu with a type-only style was more time consuming than it seemed in the session. It took me several days beforehand to plan:

The size of the menu Figure out most suitable text size (taking into account hierarchy, line spacing, target audience etc.) Medium Environmental factors Research (art movements, historical referencing etc.) Staying on-brand Colour planning Typography experiment

And the list goes on! This early planning will help to ensure your design in Affinity Publisher goes as smoothly and as possible.

If we take a look at the Cleveland menu, there is a well-structured hierarchy which won’t confuse the audience. It starts with the restaurant’s name/logo in the biggest and boldest type, then clear headings in a quirky serif for each course and food items are spaced clearly alongside pricing.

The design process Medium and environmental factors

Understanding the medium is the first part of my design process. I recommend that it becomes the first part of your design process too. How can you put a design together and not know where or how it is going to be viewed? Remember what looks good on a smartphone or tablet won’t necessarily translate well to print. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are lots of restaurants moving towards QR codes and being able to view menus

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