Athleta is constantly stretching what clothing can do.

In this fall’s catalog, Athleta introduced Sculptek denim, an uber-stretchy jean alternative. (Noticeably NOT called “jeggings,” which evokes the jiggly imagery of Jello and jellyfish—nothing sleek or toned.) In dramatic poses, a dancer, a cross trainer, and a yogi (with three different body types) show that these jeans promise all the flexibility and comfort of standard exercise leggings…but with the hipness of skinny jeans.


With all of the athletes on a white background, wearing black sports bras, simple updos, and minimal accessories, the jeans are clearly the common denominator, the subject of interest. Names, set in a serif face, in all caps, contrast boldly with geometric sans serif details. As we saw yesterday with Athleta’s site glitch, the choice of typeface can make a big difference in communicating the values of a company and who they seek to serve. These typefaces look elegant, but strong and no-frills. Solid hairlines look stable and firm, keeping things tidy.


Each of these three units of information (the athlete and the text description) is arranged in a triangle, with the longer description about Sculptek denim placed as a unit itself to complete a circle. Notice that the two figures with more horizontal and stabler postures are placed at the top and bottom. The resulting layout is balanced yet active…a combination of adjectives well-fitted to Athleta’s brand.