Essay Writing Menu

Essay Writing Menu

Of all of the modules we have covered so far, I think the material on CARP (contrast, alignment, repetition, proximity) has affected my design process the most. The flyer Lohr includes on p. 198 (Faux Painting Materials) is very effective as it demonstrates how the CARP action tools work together to create a unified and harmonious piece. Furthermore, the flyer’s before and after images truly show how the principles of CARP can and will improve the design of almost any graphic.

 After reading Chapter 8, I decided to turn the essay writing checklist into a restaurant menu. The flyer inspired me to look at a variety of menu templates first so I could understand the basic design principles associated with menus. Interestingly enough, knowing the CARP principles allowed me to readily see which menus worked visually and which ones did not.

 Throughout the design process I focused on alignment and repetition the most. Following the principles of alignment, I left-aligned all text to make it easier to read (p. 201). Chunking important information also made the content easier to read. For example I decided to divide the material into three distinct areas (starters, main courses, and desserts) so that students could see which content areas belonged together. Implementing a specific colour (purple) and font type (Trebuchet MS) in the main headings made chunking the content easier as well.

 By utilizing repeating tools (p. 199) like shape and colour, important content could also be emphasized. For instance, rectangles were used to deliver each part of the essay writing checklist (eg. Ideas). Although each section is placed in its own rectangle, the repeated use of the rectangles indicates that each area works together to improve one’s writing skills. The star shape is also repeated for effect. This motif appears in my other graphics as well so I wanted to continue that trend. The mascot on the menu and each of the white stars on the menu also help to unify and harmonize the piece.

 Contrast is implemented to a certain extent. The size and type of font allow specific parts of the menu to be chunked together as well. The subheadings in each rectangle used the Charlemagne Std. font. This font was different from the main headings in terms of size as well (28 pt vs 30 pt). When it came to the most important content (found beneath the subheadings) though I made sure I used a reader friendly font like Verdana.

 The essay writing checklist menu will be used to help ELA10-2 students to improve their writing. By referring to each section, the students should be able to write, revise and edit their papers more readily. I like the idea of breaking the checklist into its parts as well and using specific sections as needed. When teaching revising and editing for example, you may want your students and their peer editing partners to focus on the “Desserts” section (Sentence Fluency and Conventions) only.

 To ensure I had included essential content only I had two ELA teachers look at the graphic. Their feedback allowed me to pare down the Organization and Word Choice content. These areas were too wordy. I also had another teacher consider certain design elements (namely the use of shapes and colour).  Since red dominated the other photographs he thought I should find a new photograph for the Main Courses section, and I did just that—hence the Paella Royale photograph.


 Lohr, L. (2008). Creating graphics for learning and performance: Lessons in visual literacy (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson Education, Inc.

Image Sources:

Tomato Mozzarella Salad: http://pixabay.com/id/salad-makan-tomat-mozzarella-122722/

Paella Royale: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexbrn/4811944186/

Cake: http://ob-a.com/dessert-wallpaper-desktop-backgrounds-802.html