I went to Athleta.com to link to some pants I wanted to discuss here, and saw this.
I hit “refresh” four times because I couldn’t believe it was true. Cursive as site body copy, and with tabs in all caps?! I can hardly read the text, much less tell the difference between “Skorts,” “Skirts,” and “Shorts” (bottom left, in the menu). I started to wonder if Athleta believes that selling sportswear to females means the font must be girly and curly. And if so, how offensive! I thought Athleta was leading the movement away from women having only flimsy, decorative sports bras and pink running shoe options! And how disappointing, given the motto of Athleta: “Power to the She.” There is nothing powerful about script in all caps! And that kerning…wince, wince, wince.
As I started to question everything I thought was true about the company, I discovered that if you click on one of the tabs, it looks like the Athleta I recognize. Phew.
But no matter what caused it, this glitch makes an excellent example of how script faces are hard to handle for website copy, and how a site can look completely off-brand (and even offend) simply by a change in typeface.
Since I’ve taken up all this time talking about fonts, I’ll save the discussion about the pants (more accurately, a layout featuring pants) for tomorrow. Consider this the first leg of the journey…