Colorful content deserves a vibrant color scheme to match.

Long before the internet rose to its present dominance, there was traditional print media: magazines, newspapers and the like (heard of them?), all of which relied heavily on eye-catching design and the intelligent use of color to communicate a certain emotion or concept to their readers.

And as that readership has migrated more and more towards digital media consumption, web-based publications have taken a page from the book of traditional print design in their approach to color. Here are just a few of the things a good color scheme can help your branded website accomplish:

1. Communication

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Your brand publication’s color scheme offers a nonverbal (but highly impactful) means of communicating with your customers. A well-curated color palette isn’t just pleasing to the eye — it can also serve as a useful visual indicator to influence and guide your readers towards your products or services. Say your main navigation includes five categories: SEO, PPC, Social, Analytics, and Content. If you gave each one of these categories its own color (let’s say red, green, blue, purple, and yellow), visitors familiar with your site will have a much easier time finding their way to the information that they’re seeking.

What’s more, a change in color scheme is a great way to signal that your site has been updated, or that you have a new offering that visitors should check out. It’s a subtle, straight-to-the-brain design change that instantly communicates to your reader that something new is happening.

2. Trust

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When someone lands on your website, they want to know that your publication is well-curated and professional — in other words, that it doesn’t belong in the back alley of the internet. Believe it or not, your site’s color scheme serves as a key indicator to visitors who are deciding whether or not they can trust your site and the content you populate it with.

3. Mood

If brand publishers know anything, it’s that setting the right tone is absolutely crucial. Simple design elements can seriously impact a visitor’s experience of your site, and your digital design should strive to strike a dynamic chord. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out Google’s Material Design to get a sense of how mood, even in app design, is very much a designed element.

Of course, your mood is constantly changing — and your site’s can, too! This is where you can really get creative: if you’re covering a major update of Google’s algorithm, your homepage might take on a red hue, whereas coverage of a big update to the Facebook news feed might be accompanied by a blue background. This change of colors is subtle, but it allows the reader to enjoy a slightly different experience of your website every time they visit. Just take the Google homepage as an example: the design of the letters in “Google” changes nearly every day to accompany a significant event or date in history.

4. Growth

Your brand is more complex than any one page on your site can express — so to communicate to readers that there’s plenty happening beyond the confines of the page they’ve landed on, use color to point them towards the action.

By highlighting specific navigation headings or subcategories with a pop of color, you’ll funnel visitors towards them and generate a higher volume of page loads. Since more traffic means more brand awareness (and often, more ad money), getting visitors to other sections of your site will serve your core business interests.

So if your site’s color scheme is looking a little bland, an update might be in order — not only for the sake of your audience, but for the sake of your bottom line.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer digital strategy services, including website branding, style guides, persona development, and audience segmentation. We’re a partner in making content work for your business. Learn more about digital strategy here.

Author Andres Clua

Originally hailing from Uruguay and a graduate of Universidad ORT, Andrés runs design and web development at L&T, generating original, interactive graphics and designing professional publications across a range of industries.

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