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Site and Portal Branding


From the Branding section of both the site and portal objects, you have the power to configure all the details that will shape the look and feel of your site or portal. You can choose from different styles, colors, and shapes to craft an experience that fits your brand and best serves your users.

While sites and portals share many of the same branding options, there are some instances where a certain setting is only available in one object and not the other.

To learn more about portals design best practices, see Portal Best Practices and Portals design guidance.

Header bar

A header bar on your site or portal gives you the ability to configure additional branding options and provide an improved experience to your users.

Things to know about header bars:

  • The header bar is always enabled for sites and multipage portals.
  • The header bar can be turned on or off for single-page portals.
  • The header bar in the site object has two style options, "Mercury" and "Helium". Portals automatically use the "Mercury" style.
  • The header bar for sites contains links to additional menu options and the login user's profile. Since portals are for unauthenticated users, they do not.
  • For sites, the header bar style only applies to desktop and mobile browsers. It will not be reflected in the Appian Mobile application.

The header bar may also be referred to as the navigation bar for sites.


Header bar style is not only an asthetic consideration but also a practical one. The "Helium" and "Mercury" styles are designed for different use cases.

Both of these style options are available in the site object, while portals only use the "Mercury" style.


Things to know about the Helium style:

  • Only available for sites (default option).
  • The logo is on the right side.
  • Each page name has an icon above it. These icons should reflect the purpose of the page.
  • Page names always display, even if the site has only one page.
  • The selected highlight color highlights the entire page tab.


Site with "Helium" style and one page.


Site with "Helium" style and multiple pages.


Things to know about the Mercury style:

  • Available in both sites and portals (the only option for portals).
  • The logo is on the left side.
  • Page names display on their own, with no icons.
  • Page names only display if there is more than one page.
  • The selected highlight color underlines the page name.

Use this style for sites when you have a single page and you don't want the page name to be shown in the navigation bar.


Site with "Mercury" style and one page


Site with "Mercury" style and multiple pages

For a single-page portal, adding a header bar allows you to quickly brand your portal with a company logo and custom color scheme to enhance the visual appeal of your portal and make it recognizable to users.


It can also provide additional pages of navigation which allows for richer user experiences in portals that support multiple actions.


Header bar color

Based on the configured header bar color, a dark gray or white color is automatically applied to the text and icons in the header bar. Avoid a medium-brightness navigation or header bar color which may not provide sufficient contrast with the text or icon color.


Don't choose a navigation bar color that makes the text and icons difficult to read.

Selected highlight color

The selected highlight color should be distinguishable enough from the header bar color so that users can easily tell which tab is highlighted.

For a clean, monochromatic look using the Helium header bar style, configure a selected highlight color that is a darker or lighter shade of the header bar color.


This site with the Helium header bar style uses a dark blue background with a lighter blue highlight to create a monochromatic look.

For a steamlined, easy to navigate look using the Mercury navigation bar style, configure a selected highlight color that contrasts well with the navigation bar background color so that users can easily tell which tab they're on.


This site with the Mercury header bar style uses a light blue background with a gold highlight to create user-friendly contrast.

Show display name

You can choose whether or not to show the display name in the header bar. You can configure this in the site or portal object.


Color scheme

For sites, you can either create a custom color scheme by selecting hex codes for each field or you can use one of our predefined dark color schemes which will automatically set values for the header bar, selected highlight, accent, and loading bar colors.

For portals, you can create a custom color scheme using hex codes for the header bar, selected highlight, accent, and loading bar colors.

Accent color

A configurable accent color is used to highlight key UI elements such as "Primary" style buttons, links, and section headings.

Avoid accent colors that are:

  • Too close to the standard, black text color
  • Too close to the red destructive button and error message color
  • Too low in contrast against the white page background. The accent color should have a minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1. Use a contrast checker to ensure your selected color meets the requirement.


If you're using a predefined dark color scheme, make sure that your accent color looks good everywhere that it will be used throughout your site.

Loading bar color

The loading bar, which appears above the navigation bar, gives users an idea of how long it will take the system to load a page or process an action. Select a loading bar color with sufficient contrast against the navigation bar color to ensure that users notice it.


The loading bar color should stand out from the header bar color so that users notice it

Dark color schemes (sites)

Each dark color scheme comes with predefined colors for the navigation bar color, selected highlight color, accent color, and loading bar color.

There are three predefined dark color schemes that you can choose from: "Charcoal", "Navy", and "Plum".


A site header bar using the "Charcoal" color scheme.


A site header bar using the "Navy" color scheme.


A site header bar using the "Plum" color scheme.

If you select one of these color schemes, make sure that your site pages are using the same color scheme.

To do this:

  1. In the interface for your site page, use a header content layout with the backgroundColor parameter set to the same color scheme used for your site: "Charcoal", "Navy", "Plum".
  2. Put the page's contents into Card Layouts with the style parameter of each Card Layout set to the same color scheme used for your site.

In order to create a consistent style and user experience across your site, avoid creating sites with a mix of dark and non-dark color scheme pages.

The following interface elements cannot use dark color schemes:

  • Record lists.
  • Related action modals.
  • The news tab in records.
  • The related actions tabs in records.

These elements use the default white background. For sites including any of these elements, use the default background on all site pages.


The logo configuration allows you to brand your site or portal to make it instantly recognizeable to users. Use a site logo with a transparent background and sufficient contrast against the navigation bar color.



Border shapes

You can configure the shapes of inputs and buttons at the site or portal level.

You can configure the shape of box layouts and card layouts at the component level. These shape configurations can't be applied site-wide.

Input Shape

You can select an input shape to match your branding and experience. The input shape is applied to all inputs, pickers, and selection fields on every page of a site or portal.

There are two options for input shape: squared and semi-rounded. Squared is the default selection.

The input shape does not apply to the following interface elements:

  • Layouts
  • Display fields
  • Actions
  • Grids
  • Charts
  • Browsers
  • Record banners


This dashboard shows both rounded inputs and rounded cards displayed in a site. Use rounded cards and rounded inputs together for a professional and consistent user experience.

Button Shape

You can select a button shape to match the branding and style of your site or portal. The button shape is applied to all buttons on every page of a site or portal, including record view and record actions.

There are three options for button shape: squared, semi-rounded, and rounded. Squared is the default selection.


This dashboard shows rounded buttons displayed in a site.