XenForo first of all comes with a great toolset that lets users who just want a their forum to match their site to slide in a color pallet to achieve that. The majority of the themes that people have asked me about I have been able to help them get started by showing how to use this toolset.
Secondly, it has a great and simple html5/css3 support via an extensive template system that might appear overwhelming but is properly organized. And a community here and around the XenForo universe that gets those specific customizations achieved. Since HTML itself is so simple, and with the help of CSS it can be presented in a simple and elegant way, I see no reason to invest in a paid theme.
And that makes me come to the third point, I think there are great themes out there that people could realize are simple, but a good starting point. And the other group of people that don't want to play with html or css or the color pallet want someone to do it for them. These themes are that starting point. Some are simple, some are more complex.
The final group in my experience are those who want the complexity, or a completely custom theme, or just something very graphic heavy (an arguable choice over usability in my opinion). These themes take time and effort to create, and they can be rewarded by asking for a fee.
Personally I would not invest in a theme because of how XenForo is already working just great for a couple of reasons, but I can imagine situations where someone simply wants someone else to do the hard(er) work and spend the time.
So for me: No, and that's why I voted that.
Is there a market for paid themes for this forum product? To be rude: At the moment, I do not think so. And I know I will get slack for saying that. And I really don't want to have a discussion about my opinion in regards to that. So I apologize for disagreeing with others on this ahead of time.
Will there be a market for XenForo themes? Oh, definitely.
I actually really like the template setup of Xenforo. It is very easy to customize and extremely lightweight. I'm thinking more along the lines of creating different views, different layouts, different structures but still keeping it easy to customize. Maybe making a few with polished interfaces and custom plugins.
Then also offering the chance to have custom skins for those users that want to pay a little more. Part of this is for my own experience and portfolio, not too concerned about making money.
Never purchased a xenforo theme and never have purchased a themed for any software.
Is there a market for paid themes? That all depends on what your offering? whether what your offering is unique, will your themes include a framework that allows users to give thier styles something unique? in otherwords if your different from what others are offering they'll pay and there will be a market if you establish yourself and market your products well enough.
Graphical themes don't necesserily take an age to implement and finally your goal complete. I could have a visually graphical theme up designed from scratch and implemented in a day or two if i put my mind to it and i suspect many others would be able to do the same.
It's going to be a tough niche to crack. there's some great stylers and coders working together whom are about to include they're own excellent framework and talent to they're styles and i can say your going to need to up your game because i suspect the bog standard change a colour here and there will not be enough to break into the style providing market.
Depends what your going to be offering, your talent and a host of other factors I haven't mentioned.
To be honest, if you come in saying you want high quality themes, but aren't worried about money and it is mainly for your portfolio. Your motivation might be in the right place, but in my opinion it probably ends there. And having the right motivation I think is not enough to actually create high quality themes. Not in the long run.
If you make two to five themes that look pretty on the outside, and a few people use them. And a portfolio is bigger. I can't help but ask myself "But, if I were to hire this guy based on his portfolio, how high quality are these really?".
And sorry if it offenses you as I can't get around the fact this can be viewed as being targetted personally against you by me saying this all, but placing a statement like that, when you're asking a question with the argument 'high quality'. I don't see the trust - which should come with 'high quality'. Maybe not on paper, technically the customer has nothing to do with trust when they use a theme. But a freelancer has a portfolio for a reason, and that means the direct marketing step of 'repeat customers, build long term relationship, get a revenue stream going' is a specific decision. And then trust comes into play. Your visitors will see right through that, especially after paying once.
Is there a market for high quality themes? Yes, but I believe only for high quality themes. Anything less is something the user can easily do (with the three points I mentioned in the first response). But it's only high quality if it is .. high quality. Self-aclaimed high quality where it's only feeding a personal portfolio .. I personally do not consider that high quality.
Exactly and I think that's why the Theme Selling market doesn't work anymore. There are too many good quality themes for free people will make do with first over paying for one. The theme market used to be not that bad, but these days there's too much free high quality work knocking around, some are on par with the best paid themes.
I think a lot depends also on the software you target with premium themes, no offence but there are not enough XenForo users yet to hope you could make a decent profit selling themes for it. The large user-base needed to do it is not there.
No, I've never seen one worth the money. Sure, they change color schemes, add some gradient backgrounds and some custom icons, but thats easy enough if you have the time. Before I'd pay for a theme, it would have to substantially change the layout of the forum, to something unique. If its just changing the drapes and carpets, its not that impressive.