Top 10 Forum Designs

Well designed forums form the base of a strong community. Here are our top picks on forum design.

  1. Typophile Forums — Typophile as the name suggests is all about typography. The design thus as expected is top notch, elegant, usable and beautiful. We also guess it is powered by Drupal.
  2. Adobe Forums — Adobe forums are powered by Jive Software’s Clearspace. The design again is top notch, well laid out and beautiful. We had our share of difficulties of deciding for the first position between Adobe and Typophile. We are still not sure so suggest us your top pick in the comments.
  3. WordPress Support Forums — WordPress support forums are powered by bbPress. The forum looks slim, streamlined, elegant and navigable. But guess what… we actually liked for it’s front-page which is also an example of an excellent landing page. If you run a forum make sure that your front page is as usable and inviting as this.
  4. Estetica Design Forum — This one is unique in its navigation. The sections are laid out in the left sidebar and the forum also features a right sidebar for other sections and widgets. We liked the header though. This one is powered by vBulletin.
  5. Smashing Magazine Forum — This one was quite obvious and one very usable design running on phpBB. This is an excellent example of how a GPL forum software like phpBB can do wonders provided you take care of the design (read “architecture”).
  6. CGTalk — Another great example of a well designed vBulletin forum. The problem with vBulletin is that the design has become the de facto standard for forum layout and style. So it is good to find some fresh and creative designs running on vBulletin.
  7. TeeFury — This one has a truly minimalist design yet an attractive one using icons and gravatars very effectively. We term this as creative and highly usable. Apparently it runs on a lesser known Forum CMS/software or a custom one.
  8. Firefox Support Forum — A clean, minimal design with bare necessary content on the front-page, this one makes for a very effective landing page too. This one is powered by TikiWiki CMS/Groupware.
  9. Stylegala — An example of minimalism in forum design, this one has an excellent and unique navigation which relies on tags and views. Try browsing it to get a feel of how things work.
  10. deviantART Forum — A forum of one of the more popular art sites, the DeviantArt Forum is a seamless integration with the main site. It is difficult to tell which CMS it uses though. Simple yet effective and excellent integration.
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