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6 Cookbook Layout Designs for Organizing Your Recipes

6 Cookbook Layouts to Organize Your Recipes Perfectly

August 4, 2020
6 MINUTES
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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

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Whether you’re compiling your own recipe book or creating a cookbook to publish, here are 6 cookbook layouts that look great, organized and captivating.

From a conventional style with food photography and simple text to illustrations and pull-out papercraft, these examples of cookbook layouts are better than any printable and editable recipe book template that you might find on Google. Authenticity sells, and that goes for both recipes and visual design. Here are some of the most unique mockup designs that will help you organize your own cookbook and think of a never-before-seen layout solution.

1. Huxtabook - classy and easy-to-navigate map of dishes

This elegantly designed cookbook is a masterpiece of layout and book cover design. Even though it has a lot of photos, a long list of ingredients on every recipe page, and often a lot of text that is hard to fit in a single page, the designers at A Friend of Mine successfully managed to make it classy, easy to navigate and very legible.

This beautiful cookbook is impressive for newbie foodies as well as pros in the kitchen because the birds-eye view of the dishes with small tips and advice mapped out through the pages help feature more text than just the recipe instructions. The ingredient list is also mapped out in this simple layout style.

The book is separated in three key sections: Sea (Seafood), Land (Meats) and Earth (Vegetable dishes). The design references the sections map style layout of food photography. The table of contents isn’t a classic list layout, but a map pointing out to the tasty dishes seen in a photograph.

The designers ingeniously used different backgrounds for the different sections: a subtle blue slate background represents the sea, and casually tableclothed areas make up the land. To make sure the design isn’t noisy or oversaturated, they used simple sans serif typography and tame tones for the kitchen accessories, so nothing bursts out of the composition.

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2. Kuchnia sezonowa - colorful and illustrated recipe book

This lovely cookbook design is a highly-detailed and illustrated project by the graphic designer Martyna Marzec. There is a collection of recipes for every season of the year, and the recipes are easily distinguishable because of the icon next to the table marking the season when the recipe’s ingredients are fresh and easier to find. The main ingredients are also illustrated and signify the base of the dish in the table of contents.

The page on the left includes a lovely illustration of the ready dish, together with a list of ingredients, preparation time, number of servings, etc. The page on the right includes easy-to-follow instructions. Next to all of them you can see an icon signifying the stage of preparation the instruction is in (cutting, cooking, broiling, eating). The artist rightfully balances the layout with a lot of white space, which helps the overall design be toned down, even though it’s a picture book of colorful illustrations.

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3. Food Play - simple layout to compile your favorite recipes in

This captivating and retro concept by the designer Sue Lyn Ting uses vintage typography and signage and focuses more on the visual part of explaining the recipe. For people who find it hard to follow a recipe without seeing the actual steps, it is a great idea to focus on photography and visualized instructions, than to focus on text and detailed explanations.

The list of ingredients is also depicted in a simple way of showing the recipe deconstructed: all the ingredients separately captured in a birds-eye view photo. Every cookbook recipe is written in a lovely handwritten font on a simple white background, and the signage is customized and handcrafted. It can serve as a great idea for a cookbook template, and if you’re crafty with pen and paper, you can use the idea for hand-drawn signs and lettering for your own cookbook.

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4. Handfuls of Herbs - good food to grow yourself

This final major project of the graphic designer Cassia Friello goes off the charts with creativity and versatility in different uses. She only had a simple brief to create a set of three short cookbooks with the target market of professionals in the creative industry aged to 25-35, and managed to create a product where the layout and design are so unique that they become the main point of buying such a book.

The cookbook consists of three smaller books on rosemary, coriander and basil, all containing recipes with those herbs as an ingredient. The fact that it’s recipe cards wrapped in paper hiding in seeds for these herbs is where the amazing creativity of this design comes into play. If you drench the paper with water, the herbs will grow out of it. The layout is a pamphlet or catalog type that you can also fold into an origami box, and the recipes themselves are extremely minimal and consist only of photos and illustrations of the ingredients. It’s a more DIY approach to both the design of the cookbook and the cooking itself, but as we mentioned, it’s mostly targeting creative industry members.

I focussed mainly on having innovative inside layouts, challenging the traditional cookbook designs of plain text with basic images. Although I have a minimal amount of textual instructions I feel the illustrations of the ingredients and food photography present the essential content in an interesting visual way”, says the graphic designer in the project on Behance.

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5. CPA Recipe Book - straight to the point design for the modern-day audience

The CPA Recipe Book isn’t your typical cookbook template, but a condensed, near bizarre version of a typical collection of recipes. The designer Jason Booth imagined a cookbook for the average reader with CPA (Continuous Partial Attention), defined as the process of skimming information without fully reading it.

He took that idea and made a fictional cookbook of simple minimalist illustrations and collapsing typography, filled with straightforward recipes that are extremely easy to follow for anyone. Another ingenious idea of Booth was to make the pages resistant to grease, so you can turn the pages with no worries while you’re cooking.

It contains recipes like the Paradoxical Pretzel, Ban’offel’ Pie & Simple Stu, and even though it sounds strange, you’re supposed to end up with good food on your plate that you’ll be able to make yourself, no matter how hard it is for you to stick to the instructions.

This is an extremely unique layout for a cookbook, especially suitable for a certain target group. However, if your plan is for your family recipes to reach a much broader audience, it’s probably best to stay closer to a mainstream layout or ready cookbook template.

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6. Las verduras de muchas maneras

And finally, a treat for our vegan readers. Las verduras de muchas maneras, or Vegetables in many ways, is a compact compilation of recipe cards, together with a season map of every vegetable (when it grows), and detailed and simple illustrations of every vegetable included.

The layout is simple and effective: patterns inspired by vegetable forms and colors adorn the backgrounds, and text including the recipes and gastronomic and nutritional facts are put in simple white space. Next to that, we see a depiction of the vegetable, and its Latin name. It’s a great idea to educate the reader about the origin and benefits of the ingredient, not just the way of making a dish with it.

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We hope you found these unique and ambiguous layouts to be inspiring for your own cookbook design. You might find our lists of cookbook cover ideas and cookbook fonts useful as well.

Keep in mind that in a heavily digital world, you can also find layouts that are suitable as an iOS and Android cooking apps, or simply look for cookbooks and recipe templates that might suit your needs better on platforms such as Behance or Pinterest.

Good luck and happy cooking!

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Stefanija Tenekedjieva

August 4, 2020

Journalist turned content writer. Based in North Macedonia, aiming to be a digital nomad. Always loved to write, and found my perfect job writing about graphic design, art and creativity. A self-proclaimed film connoisseur, cook and nerd in disguise.