Never hate being honest or be afraid to express your own opinion as long as you do it with respect (and respect other opinions, of course).
I'm with you that I liked the old design better but I got used to the new one. I do understand that although HQ have moved a bit further to give us more freedom (one of the major complaints was the amount of publicity they did for their own products), they still want to keep the same model and feeling among their group of sites... and hence that they redesign the forum to keep consistency with their main page.
Now, I'm used to this one, and design changes are a pain in the neck. It has take us a lot of work (I do have to thank the rest of the forum staff for this, my input haven't been much and I have not made myself very usefull in this process) to fix little glitches and CSS errors, plus to make it more usable and improve the looks. But I guess that we're not going back and I guess that's a good thing. We hope that the future [design], when it comes, will be better