I am a researcher and publish my findings in academic journals, websites/blogs, and social media. The results often involve plots and other graphics, and I try to make them as attractive as possible.
Publications such as NYT, FT, The Economist, ... have characteristic (and pretty imo) styles for plots that many people like and try to mimic. One particular example is fivethirtyeight, with their style being even integrated as a style in matplotlib.
I wonder what is the stance about this topic in the data science community and academia. Is it okay to get inspired by someone's design of graphics and follow it?
I am not sure whether a plotting style can be protected and patented (and can you get sued for re-using it), but if not: is it unethical to mimic plot styles from others?
Another thing that may complicate things further is that when one publishes in academic journals, often the copyright of the content is transferred to the publisher.