The Power of Underdesign

Last week I was sitting here with my wife while she was trying to find a Yoga class online. A very interesting remark of hers caught my attention, she said that  she got many recommendations for triyoga and was very disappointed after practicing there. According to her the “Branded” environment of the studio was too much for her and took the spirit out of the yoga practice. “It felt like a gift shop and not like a yoga studio” she said. After some other recommendations and more web searches she found  astangayogalondon, a very modest and professional studio according to her. After hitting their website for the first time she told me that it seems like a much friendlier studio, and I thought…yes maybe it is much more professional, maybe the owners of this place are interested in practicing Yoga and not in branding themselves, or…maybe its the functionality, this website does not try to sell me an experience it just try’s to give me the information. However this is also not true, they picked a color, they have a logo, they have a picture of someone posing Yoga, but it just looks like it wasn’t designed by a branding agency. So is the strength of the image of astangayogalondon and the “real feel” of it based on the fact that its design is less contemporary than triyoga’s design ? And if the answer is yes, is that a method that branding agencies might start using in order to capture our heart ?


Posted on February 19, 2011, in Rhetoric. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Hello Nadav, it’s insane how this business actually works, I would never prefer the “astangayogalondon” place if I saw both websites, it’s seems less professional, less everything I might think. However, nothing compares or replaces the actual experience of things. Your wife went there, she saw the place, practised yoga and that’s what really matters to choose in the end. This makes me wonder if the “triyoga” class would improve itself by lowering the website quality or if the “astangayogalondon” would damage itself by hiring a proper branding agency. Is it all just a personal/subjective decision?

  2. *it seems

  3. christianarvidsson

    It is true the Triyoga website looks much more professional and can be seen to sell more of a lifestyle, ‘with all the trimmings’ so to speak, for customers to buy into, while the other one might be content to show what they are about, giving more basic info about the classes, how to get there and so on.

    But are Triyoga not just giving a more thought through website than Ashtanga? Adding these images to the website does give it a feel of professionalism. But there might be several reasons to Ashtanga’s site looking the way it does; maybe they just haven’t had the time or money (or will) to invest in their online appearence. Or they are content with what they have.

    Too much these days, is judged by the image company project – online and otherwise; the way they want to be perceived – instead of substance, focusing on providing a good service or experience. It leads to too high expectations and sometimes disappointment.

    I guess the only way to find out whether the actual experience matches the promise is to do what your wife did – go try it out and see. It is very subjective, and in your wife’s case, it didn’t match up.

  4. Just received this on my LCC mail 😉

    Hackney Yoga Project Needs web designer

    I’m running a project called Hackney Yoga Project and I’m looking for someone to design and build a website. A friend told me that LCC has a wealth of talent and as this is a grassroots project with very limited funds, I wondered whether this might appeal to a student interested in showcasing their work / whether there is a notice board at LCC for such opportunities? This would be on a pro bono basis but we could certainly offer yoga as payment in-kind if there were interest.
    Hackney Yoga Project’s mission is to improve the quality of life for refugee and asylum seekers in Hackney through the practice of yoga. (I’m the project director and yoga teacher. For my day job, I’m a freelance communications consultant in the field of sustainable development.)
    The project will be launched in late March, based at Hackney City Farm in East London. For our initial phase, we’ll be working with a group of vulnerable refugee and asylum seeking women, who have experienced gender based violence and, many of them, sexual abuse.
    That is the timeframe, and the ask is for a brilliant designer who really ‘gets’ the project, who could design and build the site, and advise next steps in terms of updating it, etc.
    I write websites professionally and am creative so would provide copy, a tight brief with examples of likes and dislikes, etc., and guidance throughout.
    I have bought all the urls associated with hackneyyogaproject and hackneyyoga. Facebook and Twitter names have also been bought, and we’re looking into blogging.


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