Many times I've heard Invision Communities look all the same. While it is true right after new installation, you are not damned to use the default theme. You are neither not forced to use all IPS features activated by default.
Invision Community allows creating individual themes out of the box. Slight changes (like on this community) are made without any HTML knowledge. There is an Easy Mode Designer that allows to change and adjust colors in the community in seconds. There are also some settings on the theme, that community owners can use to customize a look.
For significant changes or even brand look, you need a professional designer or a lot of patience.
Lets us discover the six most unusual communities created with Invision Community.
1. GreenSock - Support Community
I like their design and clear structure. This is the one of the best examples of how support community can help to engage users.
2. Jimi Wikman's Full Stack Community
Jimi is a holistic consultant experienced in many areas. His forums are not really active. In return, the use of IPS Pages on the project is overwhelming. Nearly every section is made with of section that are connected to each other via database relationship fields (the feature of Invision Community).
He uses almost the whole range of IPS components: Clubs, Downloads, Blog and Gallery. Browse his site to discover what is possible with Pages. It's just inspiring!
3. PRIMETIMER or how to handle over 1000 forums
Some communities start small and stay small. Others grow or even explode. The fan community PRIMETIMER is dedicated to TV Shows. Each show gets its own forum. I have not counted them, but I estimate there are well over 1000.
Browse the forums to see how they simplified the views. No badges, group names or other stuff on user panel. Quote or share buttons are replaced by pictograms. These are very slight changes that help to concentrate entirely on communication.
4. Bariatriac Pal - Community around products
Bariatric Pal is dedicated to weight loss surgery. This is a perfect example of how to build community of interest and market it. Not all parts of this portal are built with Invision Community. While using forums, their Podcast section is created with IPS Pages. Also browse through their Before & After Gallery, made with ... no, not IPS Gallery, but surprise, surprise with IPS Pages.
Now, guess what do they use to build the directory of surgeons?
They do not use Commerce of Invision Community. Being a large store, they need a dedicated shop software.
5. Happiness.com - community for happy and fulfilled lives
This is a supportive community that empower everyone to live happy. Their Magazine is designed with IPS Pages. With some slight color changes and removing unnecessary stuff, they provide clear and friendly design.
I like their magazine blocks they use in forum.
6. Sing.Salon - karaoke app community
This community use activity stream (built-in Invision Community feature) as start page. It's merely like a timeline. Where PRIMETIMER (see above) uses over 1000 forums, Sing Salon just uses one. A perfect example of how to simplify the things. Look into the forum to see how nice the thread list is customized.
Singers section is created with IPS Pages. The projects also uses Commerce to sell premium subscriptions. Paid members get some benefits, that other users do not have. The subscription automatically renews every year until the user cancel it.
At the end of the day, the reason why users come, register and engage on your community, it not the design alone. It is not so necessary to have the best and unique design. The most important thing is to offer a user-friendly way to communicate.
Do you know other IPS communities that looks very different? Post a comment, so that we can feature them.