Getting creative on websites can sometimes feel constrained due to traditional layouts and verbiage, and most certainly when it comes to navigation bar and menus.  Many of us think that we need to have the standard, cookie-cutter menu navigation bars that have become the “norm” for almost all websites.  You know the type:

~Home~   ~Our Services (or Our Products)~   ~About Us~    ~Contact Us~

Most are similar in wording and format.  I’m not saying that there is anything WRONG with this per se but if you can, know that outside of conventional thinking and web design, you can get creative without compromising easy navigation of your site.

Websites are certainly your worldwide face but even the prettiest of girls can use a little makeup.  Sometimes that’s demure or other times an unexpected shocking red lipstick drives home a certain affect.  So can your website.  Don’t be afraid to try and incorporate some artistic menu design ideas.  I had a ball researching some pretty interesting and witty design elements for menu navigations.

 

 

 

I thought this was a great use of the industry-driven design even with the typical wording.  Another idea would have been to use the bricks themselves as the navigation bar.

You don’t see many vertical layouts for navigation bars so this really stood out to me.  I bet it does the same for the current and prospective clients too!

Most of us would enjoy seeing a fun and innovative menu layout.  This one made me comment out loud when I saw it “oh, that’s different”!


Don’t be afraid to use representative artwork and images either with or in-lieu of typical or generic menu names.  It gives a personalized look to customary naming conventions.

When to keep it standard vs. using Atypical menu choices

I would say this is probably governed by the industry you’re in.  If you are let’s say a law firm, then maybe you wouldn’t use the layout above but creative wording can be your breakout of the blue suit moment. Don’t be afraid to use your thesaurus here as long as you don’t compromise the ease of use and appropriate industry jargon.  Example: I’m a recent law school graduate looking to work at “JP Law Firm” and upon reviewing their website, I see a menu item titled “The Brief” (which is a legal term for a written document presented in court arguing why the party to the case should prevail). It would not be a tough leap to guess they were using that instead of “About Us”.  It’s a witty play on words which can be a little amusing and personally, I’d be impressed by the break away.  Not everything needs to be starched and buttoned up.  So with this said:

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your menu
design du jour?

 

 

 

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