Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant

In a crowded, bustling metropolis, it’s so easy to find yourself feeling stifled and hemmed in from all sides. To give New Yorkers the chance to take a breath and drink in the beauty of their city from a new perspective, Union Square Hospitality Group opened Manhatta, a restaurant 60 floors above Lower Manhattan offering breathtaking 360-degree views. Working closely with its creators, high-end branding experts Mucca developed playful postcards and coasters, as well as a creative menu design, around one irresistible theme: “Meet us in the sky.”

Playful Postcards and Business Cards

While there is much to love in every piece, for pure fun and whimsy it’s hard to beat the Manhatta postcard. Printed on uncoated 80 lb. Cover Off-White paper, one side boasts the brand’s trademark Sky Blue tone, as well as a series of numbered lines printed in Gold ink. With the help of these pre-scored lines, the recipient is invited to fold along them to turn the card into a paper airplane. This sets the tone for the balance of playfulness and sophistication to be found throughout the restaurant’s branding materials.

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

Sky Blue also dominates the front of the extra long business card printed on uncoated Off-White cover stock. It features the Manhatta name in Gold foil, while the back includes the address and contact details beneath an extended arrow in Gold foil pointing, you guessed it, skywards.

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

Colorful Coasters and Matchboxes

This pastel color palette extends to other restaurant ephemera, too. Pillowy White cellulose coasters feature the address above whimsical Gold ink line drawings of hot-air balloons, hearts, etc., each accentuated by watercolor-like, deliberately off-register dabs of color. Slender matchboxes, too, rejoice in Sky Blue backgrounds, as well as more geometric patterns and off-register hues.

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

Creative Menu Design

The designers continued their balancing act between playfulness and sophistication with the menu holders, which are all business on the outside. Whether it is the main menu or the two smaller options for special occasions, all follow the same design structure: The menu cover is offset printed in Gold or Sky Blue ink. There is only the Manhatta name foil stamped on the Domtar EarthChoice Index sheet, [Get Swatchbook] with a Gold elastic band running through holes at opposite ends of the spine.

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

The inside covers feature the same pieces of line art that graced the coasters, this time hot foil stamped throughout. Against this background the actual menu is displayed on a separate Off-White sheet, which is held in place by the elastic band.

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

Creative Menu Design: Manhatta Restaurant - PaperSpecs

While the printer initially discouraged the folks at Mucca from using a full-bleed pattern on the inside cover, fearing that it would come across as tacky, the designers stuck to their instincts, and rightly so judging by the results. As they explain, “Printers can have very valuable comments in terms of production, but we learned that it’s important to pursue your vision to maintain the integrity of the design.”

Which just goes to show the value of backing up your “blue sky” thinking 😉

Project Details

Title Manhatta Restaurant Identity Materials Client Union Square Hospitality Group Date July 2018 Design Mucca (Matteo Bologna – creative director; Andrea Brown - art Director; Maria Silva Mora – strategist & designer; Chris Caldwell – production designer) Print Masterpiece Printers / Hospitality Graphics Paper Menus: Domtar EarthChoice Index 110 lb. Cover;
Postcards: Uncoated Off-White 80 lb. Cover;
Business Cards: Uncoated Off-White 100 lb. Cover

Production Details

Production Time 3 months Printing Method Offset Number of Colors 2 Finishing and Binding Hot foil, Gold elastic band
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