Thursday, May 24, 2007

Avoid the Obvious

If you run a pizzeria, what color should your menu be? One answer that comes to mind is red and green ink on white paper. After all, the Italian flag is comprised of those colors, and you want to promise an authentic Italian dining experience.*

Don't do it.

Looking in our menu drawer (arguably the most often used drawer in our kitchen), I see no less than eleven menus and flyers for pizza with red and green ink on white paper: La Villa, Papa Georgio's, Shamino's, Godfather's, and Angelo's to name a few. When I have an urge to order a pizza from La Villa, I will open the drawer in search of the familiar menu... and see as many as ten similar menus first, any of which could tempt me to change my mind about where to order dinner.

Which menus would you find easily in a drawer?

The lesson is clear: avoid the obvious when designing menus, brochures, flyers, etc. The last thing you want is to blend in and be confused with your competitors. Take a good look at them before choosing your own motif. And for goodness' sake, please have someone proofread your menu before printing. I'm leery of ordering a pizza from someone who can't spell pepperoni.

* More accurately, an American interpretation of an authentic Italian dining experience.

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