In scholarly journals, or publicising in certain magazines you are expected to hold true to a certain design pattern and citation style. However, when publishing your own work independently you are free from those constraints, or are you?
I am a designer by heart and every couple of years I create a new template that I use for future academic papers, following contemporary design patterns. In my opinion, my templates look nice. Not too strict, though flirting with kittenish. I am convinced that a nice design leads to a fruitful first impression. However, I am aware that this might be very subjective.
My question is, then, do academics generally look down on "design hippies" and should all retain a strict - possibly even chippy - style? Or does all of this matter not as long as everything is legible and well-formatted?
I use hand-written, cursive fonts in informal paperwork all the time. That's why I posted this question: even though certain fonts are well-suited for distinguished forms of design and publicity (such as magazines or webdesign), how does a formal academic world react to such patterns. On a (possibly less formal) website, for instance, Pacifico would be used without question. Of course, an academic audience is an 'ole other bunch all together. That's where my inner designer and outer academic struggle with one another. Should we stick to the trusted, formal (and, let's be fair, boring) style, or can we go a little (just a tad!) crazy? Note that I'm not strictly talking about fonts. It can be anything, going from structure (column layout), to colours and highlights, to bold face and font families. Heck, maybe even illustrations!
Update: people in the comments seem to focus a lot on the fact that I mentioned Pacifico, a cursive font. First of all I should clarify that I only brought it up as an example. Secondly, I only considered that font as a candidate for large headings with a font size of 24pt or larger - which increases readability. I did not imply to use this particular font as the main typography for my text, but merely as a means for catching titles. I'd also like the emphasise - again - that I am aware that certain fonts are not formally applicable and would annoy rather than refresh an academic reader's mindset. But as said, I am a big fan of design trends (focusing on, but not restricted to, fonts) and innovation, and I am simply curious to know how academics think about this: how far can one go. How different is an academic design style from for instance web, advertising, magazines and newspapers.