Branding Basics: Layout and Color Scheme

By March 17, 2017Building Your Brand

branding basics layout color scheme corporate company logoYour website is your business’s presence online. It might be your company’s only presence. It has to positively reflect your corporate image. Gone are the days when customers would forgive a clunky or unattractive website. Your site has to be as professional as an office, and it should seamlessly integrate with your brand. The best way to make a good first impression is through clever manipulation of the layout and color scheme.

Start with your existing branding

The first place to look for inspiration is at your existing branding. Do you have a company logo, or a corporate image? Deviating from that image will confuse customers when they arrive at your website. Even if all you branding consists of is a username on eBay, it still matters.

Think about what message your branding conveys, and what impression it leaves. The name Green Tree Books implies its website will have a certain look and feel, totally different to that of Armhouse-Miller Accounting, or Killer’s Bike Shop.

Good web designers, including the experts at, will be happy to reflect your existing branding in the website they create for you.

Creating new branding

If you don’t have any branding, or want to do away with what you’ve got, start there and build the website afterwards. Lots of graphic designers will create matching products, including logos and websites. Remember websites can be updated, but it’s harder to change an established company image.

What’s in a color scheme?

When thinking about your color scheme, more than your personal preference should come into play. Some colors are associated with particular industries, for example dark blue for corporate, or orange for secondary emergency services such as construction or car towing. Other colors have other connotations, like green for ecology or red for danger.

Your site’s visitors bring this prior knowledge with them when they click on your site, and if they see something that doesn’t match what they expect, it will feel wrong to them, even if they can’t place why.

Why layout matters

Layout is also vitally important. Websites tend to follow particular patterns, such as having a central column containing the most important text, with sidebars to the right (and sometimes left) with additional information. This blog has that layout, it’s very common especially for this type of page. Most blogs you see will have a similar design.

That’s not because all blogs are unoriginal, but because people reading them have certain expectations of how the page will look and work. Standing out can be good when it’s done well, but never underestimate the power of familiarity. If your visitors struggle to use your site, they won’t come back.

Check out the competition

A good place to start is to see what your competitors are doing. That way you’ll see not only what’s expected in your industry in terms of color and layout, but also what you like or dislike. Start paying attention to how websites work. Notice the assumptions you make.

Do you automatically look for a menu banner along the top of the site, or a search button in the right column? Chances are you’ve been trained by layout standards to expect certain elements to be in particular places.


If you’re working with a web designer, they’ll be experts in what works and what’s expected. If you’re creating your own website with a content management system such as WordPress, it might be up to you where those elements go on your site. Pay close attention to them, because they’re critical to making the right first impression.

If you want to build or improve your company’s website but don’t know how, contact today to get started.

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