Food. Love it? You've never seen it look like this. We can promise you that.

Savory. Sweet. Scrumptious. Flavorful. Fragrant… Hungry yet?

Designs that involve food have the unique job of engaging viewers’ senses and getting their tastebuds tingling to try or buy the product pictured.

Whether on restaurant menus(opens in a new tab or window), packaging, or advertisements, food imagery needs to make the most of qualities like color, texture, and shape to look as appealing as possible.

Ready to dig into some appetizing menu designs(opens in a new tab or window)?

We’ve compiled a showcase of 50 that show what’s possible in this category and offer some ideas and techniques that you can apply yourself.

01. Create a Collage of Fresh Ingredients

1

Evo Agency

It can be frustrating figuring out what’s in your food. Evo Agency(opens in a new tab or window) developed a creative marketing campaign for Birch & Waite’s line of high-end sauces that makes the process easy (and beautiful) with a visual list of fresh ingredients that literally shows what goes into each jar.

02. Layer With Typography

2

Cheungyoon Kim

These posters for Pop-Up Kitchen(opens in a new tab or window), an annual brunch event held in New York City, were designed by Cheungyoon Kim(opens in a new tab or window) (with photography by Alex Choi).

The team collaborated with students from the Culinary Institute of America to visualize food as art.

The result is a layered pairing of imagery and typography where the two elements form a dynamic composition.

03. Unite Busy Layouts With a Common Color

3

Alaina Sullivan

Alaina Sullivan(opens in a new tab or window)’s story design for Bon Appetit magazine has a lot going on: detailed photography, hand-lettering, colored text.

It could have easily leaned toward being visually overwhelming, but a thoughtful layout along with a bright yellow accent color pulls the whole thing together.

04. Don’t Be Afraid of Color

4

Pearlfisher

Who says healthy eating has to be boring? Pearlfisher(opens in a new tab or window) set out to create a fresh, energetic visual identity for a range of nutritionally balanced food products.

In addition to already vivid photography of healthy ingredients, the product packaging and other branding elements were given bright, eye-catching backgrounds in shades that complement each other and the food.

05. Adapt Existing Branding

5

Pearlfisher

Another project from Pearlfisher(opens in a new tab or window)’s portfolio includes clever adaptations of their client’s logo to suit each of the brand’s different flavors of tortilla chips. This approach gives the design a sense of both consistency and variety.

06. Go for a Natural Look

6

G’nosh

G’nosh(opens in a new tab or window)’s free-flowing website doesn’t have a clear organizing principle — no perfectly aligned grids or modular layouts here. But that works for this style.

The natural-looking food imagery looks like you could reach and and touch (or eat) it, and pairs well with the casual warmth of the hand-painted typography.

07. Make Use of Negative Space

7

Laura Palese

This book cover design by Laura Palese(opens in a new tab or window) cleverly connects the title of the book to its subject through the use of negative space. The lettering’s symmetry with the image makes this technique even more striking.

08. Play With Depth of Field

8

Alberto Conti

Depth of field is a classic photography principle that often involves blurring to direct viewers’ focus. Here, Alberto Conti(opens in a new tab or window)’s website design creates a sense of depth by mimicking how our vision (or a camera lens) works.

This technique directs your attention to the product photos and description in the center of each section.

09. Emphasize Textures

9

Prompt Design

Prompt Design(opens in a new tab or window)’s packaging for fresh fruit getds up-close-and-personal with the photography, filling the whole frame of the label with the product’s natural texture and color.

10. Emphasize Textures, Continued

10

Michael McNeive

Here, Michael McNeive(opens in a new tab or window) has made the distinctive texture of kale a focal point of his landing page about superfoods. That the rest of design is rather minimal makes the colors and texture stand out even more.

11. Arrange Objects Into a Scene

11

Input Creative Studio and Corse Design Factory

This poster from Input Creative Studio(opens in a new tab or window) and Corse Design Factory(opens in a new tab or window) features physical objects — boxes, produce, a milk carton, an umbrella — that serve as a canvas for the text and also create an eye-catching composition.

12. Pair Illustration With Photography

12

Robin Kurtz

Whimsical sketches and watercolor effects make berries part of fun illustrations on these labels(opens in a new tab or window) designed by Robin Kurtz(opens in a new tab or window). The elements work in harmony to set a distinctive visual mood for this line of fruit spreads.

13. Contrast With Scale

13

Brian Struble

There’s no doubt what the focal point and theme of this magazine spread is. But the contrast between the size of the central photograph with the smaller ones to each side, along with the diagonal composition, creates visual interest and balances the layout.

The piece was art directed by Brian Struble(opens in a new tab or window).

14. Evoke a Mood

14

Brand Society

Brand Society(opens in a new tab or window)’s design for frozen dessert packaging uses typeface styles and shapes to create a certain mood for the brand.

The design’s playful, homey quality (notice the doily shape in the background and the hand-drawn style of the type) suggest going to grandma’s house for homemade pie — an association that matches nicely with a brand called “Nanna’s.”

15. Focus on Presentation

15

Matthew Lenning

Here, a Bon Appetit magazine cover (art directed by Matthew Lenning(opens in a new tab or window)) zooms in on bite-sized food perched on a fork — a creative presentation much more interesting than steak and fries on a plate — to represent one of the issue’s featured meals, Steak Frites.

16. Frame Your Focal Point

16

Jon Contino

Jon Contino(opens in a new tab or window)’s rustic hand-lettering and embellishments wrap around the stack of pancakes to draw your eye through the design and down to the photographic focal point (photography by Scott Suchman(opens in a new tab or window)).

As a nice touch, the colors of the typography are drawn directly from those in the image.

17. Frame Your Typography

17

Another Washingtonian cover, this time with lettering by Jill DeHaan(opens in a new tab or window) and more photography by Scott Suchman, takes the inverse approach of what we saw in the previous example.

Instead of typography framing the photography, the food imagery frames the typography. You peek through a feast of fresh produce to find the magazine title underneath.

18. Use Food as Your Artistic Medium

18

Anna Keville Joyce

Like pencil or paints, food itself can also be used as an artistic medium. Anna Keville Joyce(opens in a new tab or window) demonstrates that with her food illustration for a vineyard located in the foothills of the Andes Mountains.

19. Use Food as Your Artistic Medium, Continued

19

Rosa Engracia Peña

This example, designed by Rosa Engracia Peña(opens in a new tab or window), contrasts the colors of different foods to create a striking composition that resembles vintage travel posters.

20. Create Movement

20

Stefan Poulos

Stefan Poulos(opens in a new tab or window)’ designs for a restaurant’s ad campaign create implied movement simply through the placement of the food being photographed.

A sense of movement — whether more literal as here, or just through the placement of items on a page (vertical or diagonal movement, etc.) — can lend extra visual interest to a simple design.

21. Create Movement, Continued

21

Sharpe + Associate Inc.

As a more dramatic example, check out Sharpe + Associate Inc.(opens in a new tab or window)’s collaboration with photographer Scott Newett, which resulted in an advertising image that implies that the product is bursting with flavor. It must have been a messy photo shoot.

22. Support Your Message

22

Kimberly Low

Kimberly Low(opens in a new tab or window)’s advocacy poster to promote healthier school lunches contrasts sketched illustrations of junk food with photography of nutritious foods. This “fake food vs. real food” imagery supports the message of the poster in a highly visual way.

23. Mix & Match

23

Tanya Zouev

Contrasting different colors and textures within your food imagery can have a big visual impact. Tanya Zouev(opens in a new tab or window) has done that here with her photography for an ad campaign, using the technique to show the versatility of the product.

24. Mix & Match, Continued

24

Sharpe + Associates

Sharpe + Associates(opens in a new tab or window) employs a similar technique for these promotional materials, but places full images side by side. The two share a typeface in common, which helps connect them visually.

25. Go for the Unexpected

25

Angela Southern

An over-easy egg in the shape of the state of Maine — not something you see everyday. But for a magazine issue that’s about the best places for breakfast in Maine, what better imagery to sum up the subject?

When you’re able to use an surprising presentation that’s also highly appropriate for your subject, you’ll have a more memorable design. (Lettering by Angela Southern(opens in a new tab or window)).

26. Go for the Unexpected, Part 2

26

Guillermo Carvajal

Guillermo Carvajal(opens in a new tab or window)’s design for a jelly brand uses some photo manipulation to emphasize the products’ real fruit ingredients. But the unique juxtaposition of imagery makes the ads stand out.

27. Get Inspired by Infographics

27

Willoughby Design

This infographic-style branding for a restaurant from Willoughby Design(opens in a new tab or window) uses food imagery as a background against which to present facts about the fresh ingredients consumers will find in their meals.

28. Coordinate Your Colors

28

Dave Brady

Dave Brady(opens in a new tab or window)’s fun, colorful compositions for Heinz pasta sauces feature both food items and kitchen implements in matching colors. Both the colors and shapes visually represent the main ingredient in the sauce.

29. Work in Threes

29

Sean Farrell

The number three has long been a key one in artistic compositions, whether grouping items in threes or using the rule of thirds. Sean Farrell(opens in a new tab or window)’s grouping of three images creates a nice focal point in his website design and provides a foundation for the rest of the layout.

30. (De)Construct Creatively

30

Acre

To design the menu of an Italian restaurant, Acre(opens in a new tab or window) took a novel, more visual approach: deconstructing the dishes to show the ingredients before and after cooking. The ingredients are also arranged in precise patterns that contrast nicely with the organic shapes of the food itself.

31. Play With Perspective

31

Mark Unger

This website concept from Mark Unger(opens in a new tab or window) features a traditional header image at the top of the design, but then mixes things up by placing plated food on top of the layout, as if they were sitting there on your screen.

This technique displays the restaurant’s menu items from a different perspective that’s a little more interesting than your typical, forward-facing rectangular photo.

32. Let the Food’s Characteristics Shine

32

Becca Clason

Becca Clason(opens in a new tab or window)’s social media images for Sabra aimed to dispel some consumers’ reluctance to try the brand’s hummus dips.

The designs are so effective due in large part to the appearance of the food in the images (which are also ingredients in the hummus) and how those ingredients visually contradict the statement in each design.

33. Create Complementary Graphic Elements

33

Martin Azambuja

The branding on these ready-to-cook meal packages, designed byMartin Azambuja(opens in a new tab or window), features both photography (the finished result of what buyers will cook) as well as culinary-themed graphics.

The photography and illustrations work together to create a fun and fresh design. Each package also has its own color scheme that complements the meal.

34. Contrast With Shape

34

Vikas

As an example, Vikas’(opens in a new tab or window) design for a recipe app contrasts the round shapes of the dishes in the background with the square and linear forms created by the menu buttons.

35. Give Context

35

Andrea Censi

Take a look at how Andrea Censi(opens in a new tab or window)’s branding for an event called “Re-Invent Food: Shaping the Next Food System” visually reinforces the concepts presented in the event title.

Not only is a food item being “shaped” into another object, but that object (a light bulb) is one that’s associated with invention and new ideas. Both the text and the imagery give context to each other: a good sign of a thoughtful design.

36. Use a Grid

36

Grant Burke

Arranging your layout on a grid or with geometric modules can help organize and separate the various elements of your design. Here, Grant Burke(opens in a new tab or window) pairs a grid layout with color-blocking for a lively packaging concept.

37. Create a Non-Distracting Background

37

Dual Pixel

Detailed food imagery can sometimes make for an overly busy background where it’s hard to read any text. You can solve that problem, as Dual Pixel(opens in a new tab or window) has done for their app design, by placing a semi-transparent colored screen over a photo to smooth over any distracting details.

38. Create a Non-Distracting Background, Continued

38

Lauren Pagan

Lauren Pagan(opens in a new tab or window)’s landing page concept shows how black or white transparent overlays can do the job just as well as colored ones. In this case, the colors of the photo beneath still show through to lend a little pizzazz, but the darkening provides a solid-enough background that even thin, white text can show up.

39. Pick a Pattern

39

Vanillashake Media

Vanillashake Media(opens in a new tab or window)’s packaging for freeze-dried fruits arranges pieces of fruit into shapes and patterns, making them into an eye-catching graphic element rather than just an ingredient photo or flavor indicator.

40. Take a Technique from Material Design

40

Jared Bell

Google’s material design language emphasizes features like modular layouts and vivid color schemes. Jared Bell(opens in a new tab or window) has applied a similar style to a restaurant website, incorporating food imagery into a brightly colored grid menu.

41. Show, Don’t Tell

41

Anthony K.

“Show, don’t tell”: it’s a tip that many authors and teachers have offered as a way to improve your writing. But it can also apply to design.

This online menu, part of a website designed by Anthony K.(opens in a new tab or window), is all the more engaging because it shows a full image of each dish — much more appealing than just a written description, don’t you think?

42. Don’t Stress Over Color Choices

42

Vincent Xu

When you’re working with food, color choices are often simplified because you have lots of natural, vivid colors in your imagery that are easy to tie into the rest of the design, as Vincent Xu(opens in a new tab or window) has done with this menu interface idea.

43. Create Leading Lines

43

Lindsay Itani

Notice the angle and placement of the food on this landing page from Lindsay Itani(opens in a new tab or window). Everything is pointing towards the center of the screen — creating leading lines that direct your gaze to the website’s main message and call to action.

44. Be Approachable

44

BigFan

BigFan(opens in a new tab or window)’s work for the BBC on a campaign intended to encourage families to cook healthy meals at home features a fresh and friendly style.

The look, with pops of bright color and custom illustrations, was created to be approachable and uncomplicated, with easy-to-follow recipes that are invitingly designed rather than intimidating.

45. Include Pops of Color

45

Jeremy Cheramy

Unlike many of the other examples we’ve looked at, this packaging design from Jeremy Cheramy(opens in a new tab or window) uses food imagery more as an accent to the overall design than as the overwhelming focal point — providing a pop of color against a primarily white background.

46. Don’t Play It Safe

46

Snask

Sometimes a brand calls for a design that’s completely unlike anything else on the market. That’s what the folks at Oumph! were looking for when they called on Snask(opens in a new tab or window) to design a visual identity for their line of frozen veggie products.

The resulting design might be a risky choice for any other brand, but it has the raw and energetic vibe Oumph! was after and will certainly stand out on the shelves.

47. Make It Minimal

47

Yum Tang

In contrast, these minimal fruit and vegetable posters by Yum Tang(opens in a new tab or window) show fresh produce in all their colorful glory. Sometimes it’s the simple design solutions that are the most striking.

48. Repeat Important Imagery

48

Andrei Hancu

Andrei Hancu(opens in a new tab or window)’s seafood-centric website concept reinforces its themes by repeatedly featuring images of a fish (which first shows up in the restaurant’s logo) in different styles, sizes, and formats — from the close-up texture of fish scales in the header image to the simple illustrations left of center.

49. Break Up Text

49

Natalia Lachiewicz

Images can be a great way to break up text and add visual interest to any type of design project. This concept for a cooking website from Natalia Lachiewicz(opens in a new tab or window) features photography with interesting shapes and colors to enhance the content.

50. Give It a Human Touch

50

Pearlfisher

Even if that human is illustrated, as with Pearlfisher(opens in a new tab or window)’s design here, if people can imagine themselves trying a product (i.e., picking up that piece of chocolate), then they’re already halfway to making a purchase.

And That’s a Wrap

We’ve hope you’ve been inspired (and didn’t get too hungry) after browsing through this showcase of food-focused designs. If you have an upcoming project yourself, make sure to check out our 5 Amazing Photo Filters for Food Bloggers(opens in a new tab or window), available right here in Canva. Ready to cook up a satisfying menu? Stir up everyone's appetite with our delightful templates to choose from and design ingredients to add to your personalized menus(opens in a new tab or window). Happy designing!

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