A repugnant menu design


It’s been some time since I have written on the topic of visual literacy, but it doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped observing the things around me. Today, me and family had lunch at NYDC (New York Dessert Café) and I was horrified by the menu design.

It’s an obvious attempt to mimic the look of an old journal or ledger book, but is executed in a dismal way. I wrote an email to ndyc right after lunch to protest:

Dear NYDC team
This is the first time I’ve written to any restaurant about their menu design, but your current menu covers are downright ugly and can spoil the appetite of anyone who has the slightest interest in aesthetics.

I had lunch at your Wheelock outlet today and I could not stop staring at the menu covers. The depressing choice of colors (muddy brown and green) and the amateurish design approach that attempts to look like a mix of retro and Expressionism, winds up looking like someone threw up on the page instead.

Or as a friend commented – “several people could have thrown up on the same page”. The repugnant covers are also a stark contrast from the more modern looking pages inside, leading to overall inconsistency in visual themes.

Which is a blessing in disguise, since your food listings are not tainted with the awful design on the front.

I have been a patron of your restaurant since it opened, and have always enjoyed the cheery and funky menu designs. If you can’t fire the person who authorized this atrocious menu design, at least bring
him or her to an art museum.

Please pardon me for the strong words used here, but your menu designs deserve no less, and they are truly a poor representation of the great food and service at NYDC.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Tan