A web site, no matter if it is two pages or 200, should have a consistent design throughout the site. Things like font selection, color scheme, and the use of graphics should all look like they are coming from the same place.
Consistent site design adds a coherency to the site, which lets the user know that yes, they are still on the same site. I’ve been to quite a few sites where after clicking a few links, I didn’t know where I was. The secondary pages didn’t look anything like the main one and I found myself hitting the back button quite a few times just to make sure what site I was on.
Here are a few things that should be consistent:
A font is the design for a group of characters. This design includes the typeface and determines what the characters look like. A few popular fonts are Times Roman, Verdana and Arial. Once you choose a font for your web site content, stick with it.
If you start out using Arial as your font, don’t switch to a bold face Times Roman font a sentence later. For example, a person is browsing your site and reading all of your very interesting content, which is all typed in Arial, when all of the sudden there is a switch to bold Times Roman. What happened? Changing fonts midstream is distracting and looks a little, well, let’s just say scattered.
The color scheme depends on your design. If you have a blue color scheme, then you don’t want to have one random yellow page for no reason. It’s nice to have a slight variation in your pages to create some interest. For example, you could use variations of your original blue throughout the site. Just don’t veer so far off the original that it becomes a different design.
Now, your design may call for every page having a different color on it. In this case, you rely on the graphic elements to be consistent and tie the whole site together.
The color is really up to you. Just make sure it doesn’t overwhelm the site and that somehow it all ties together.
The same thing applies to the graphics as the color scheme. If you have a certain style of graphic (for example, a drop shadow on pictures) then keep it consistent throughout the site.
Once again, there are no hard rules for your design—just some suggestions. You should have no problem staying consistent as long as you keep your original design in mind while you’re putting together your secondary pages.
~ Kim Ganues