10+ Examples Of Effective Forum Designs


I've posted earlier on internet forum design, including tips to remember when working on a forum design. Here are some examples of forum designs that are very effective, consider these tips, and generally look nice.

Here are some examples of excellent forum designs that look great, are usable, and help the general "feel" of a community.

Default Forum Themes

The default theme for a forum software can work well at times. For example, support forums often stick with a default theme because they don't exactly need users to stay around, because most people will register, ask a question and leave.

Many communities can also get away with using a default theme. For example, xkcd Forums uses the PHPBB default theme (Even the blog uses the WordPress default theme). You can also see the vBulletin default theme being used everywhere. I think even the DigitalPoint theme is based off of it.

Ubuntu Forums

Ubuntu Forums is a great community providing support for all things related to Ubuntu. The layout of the board index is a bit different from the standard forum layout, because of such a large number of categories. I'd say they could easily get away with being different, because even this layout is so easy to use.


The design of TalkFreelance is simply stunning. It has an excellent use of colours that aren't often seen on forums, and makes good use of a sidebar for displaying user information and forum statistics.

ExpressionEngine Forums

The ExpressionEngine Forums have a nice clean design, following a more standard forum layout.

Design Forums

Many of the elements of Design Forums are quite simple, but the way they are put together make it into an excellent forum design.

Wiimote Project

Wiimote Project has a nice, clean theme for SMF, placing more emphasis than usual on the numbers of posts and topics.

If you go to the actual home page of Wiimote Project, instead of the usual board index you will find a portal page listing the latest posts, and various forum statistics.

The Admin Zone

The Admin Zone uses a fairly standard theme, with a table used for the board index. The home page is similar to a portal, but containing various articles, interviews and more.


The layout of Boagworld is less standard. Instead of using a table to list the forums, each forum is displayed with a list of the latest posts.

Typophile Forums

The Typophile Forums have a clean and simple design, with only a few categories.

FreelanceSwitch Forum

The FreelanceSwitch Forum is another example of a forum with a less common layout. The board index contains a list of the latest posts, with the forums (topics) displayed in a drop-down menu.

What other forums do you think have effective designs?

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  1. January 13, 2010

    Even though this site is Swedish I really enjoy the design: http://www.grafisktforum.org/

    Minimalistic with focus on the information.

    • January 13, 2010

      That's a very nice example. Nice and simple, and it gets straight to the point without tons of extra clutter.

      • thilakar
        October 16, 2011

        yeah right!!:-)

  2. Kars
    September 30, 2010

    Very nice, but its also a great list of forum rescources for a web developer. Have you got more of these links to great forums :P?