Compared with the current state of design across many areas of the web (look at all the great themes being developed for WordPress, for instance), the state of forum design leaves much to be desired.
Although forums are a critical part of many web sites from the perspective of driving traffic and retaining visitors, from a design standpoint they often feel like a tacked on afterthought.
The vast majority of forum designs are generic and ugly. I mean really ugly. And blue — if you want to make a forum design look in any way original, do yourself a favor and don’t use blue as the main color. Or green.
That being said, if you look really really hard there are some bright spots out there. I have gathered these together in a forum design gallery over at my Elements of Design category.
I’m sure these can’t be the only forum designs worth celebrating and sharing. Please let me know of any others in the comments.