2The Principles of Floral Design: EmphasisBalanceProportionRhythmHarmonyUnity
3EmphasisEmphasis is achieved in a floral design by creating an accented area or a focal point. The focal point is the area of an arrangement that will draw the most attention and will direct the eye of a viewer to a specific location within the design.
4The purpose of the focal flowers is to draw visually all elements of the design to a single location, the center of interest. An accent will exist whenever contrast is present in a design. This contrast may be in the form of flower sizes, colors, textures, or shapes. The most striking contrast in a design is created by use of brightly colored flowers at the center of interest, with less vibrant tones or tints used as the flowers approach the perimeter of the design.
5The flowers, however, should never be crowded to form a tightened mass of blossoms. Generally, it will not be necessary to allow individual blooms to touch each other; rather, they should appear loose and natural, with some foliage protruding between the petals.
6Emphasis can mostly easily be achieved in a design when the smallest, least-open flowers are placed at the perimeter of the arrangement and the large, fully developed flowers are located at the focal point.
7Flowers with unique shapes also attract attention; using varying degrees of flower and foliage textures within an arrangement may create another striking contrast.Coarser textures will appear to have more visual weight so they will be best used at the focal point.
8An accessory such as ribbons or bow is often used by retail florists to create emphasis in bouquets and corsages. The contrast in texture or color will place the emphasis at the lip of the container.
9BalanceA well-designed arrangement will appear to be stable and self-supporting. An arrangement should possess both mechanical and visual balance.
10An arrangement may be composed of symmetrical or asymmetrical balance. Mechanical balance is achieved when the container is the proper size and weight for the size of flowers being used with it. The design should have the flowers distributed properly so that the containers will support them. This is accomplished by the convergence of lines at the focal point. The flower and foliage stems should appear to arise from a single central location in the container.An arrangement may be composed of symmetrical or asymmetrical balance.
11A symmetrical design will appear to be the same on each side of a vertical centerline. A formal balance is created when the focal point is centered in the container.
12Many floral design styles are arranged with asymmetrical balance Many floral design styles are arranged with asymmetrical balance. This gives the appearance of a more natural design and allows the arranger more originality in his or her work. The size relationship of flower stems, distance from the focal point, and color density must be considered in this type of balance.
13Flowers are arranged from the back of the container toward the front and sides. Depth and visual balance are created in the design when the rear flower stems tip backward slightly, and the focal flower is placed well in front of the lip of the container. Flower heights are gradually lowered, as each flower is placed closer to the front of the arrangement. Balance is maintained by grading flowers by color, texture, size and spacing. This gives the arrangement a feeling of depth and support.
14ProportionA floral arrangement appears best when all the component flowers are related in size, color, texture, and shape.
15The scale of a design is dictated by the size of arrangement and its relationship to its surroundings. Proportion in an arrangement is accomplished by scaling flowers toward the focal point. This means that the smallest buds are placed farthest from the visual center of the design. The flowers are then graduated in size by the placement of increasingly larger flowers in the arrangement until the center of interest is reached.
16The use of negative spaces or voids within the arrangement is equally as important as sizes of flowers in creating a pleasing proportion. Flowers are placed at the same heights within the design will fight for equal attention. Spaces without flowers are purposely left to allow each bloom to be viewed singly. A visual line is left uncompleted with the void balanced by flowers to create the curved line of the design. The absence of flowers in these areas adds interests and proportion within the design.
17Good proportion in an arrangement is created by establishing a pleasing scale relationship of the flowers to the container. A generally accepted rule of floral design states that for a tall container, plant material should be at least one and one-half to two times the height of the vase. For low, flat containers, the height of an arrangement is at least one and one-half to two times the width. This rule is not ironclad and may be altered provided that good proportion in the design is maintained.
18An arrangement that would exceed these height limitations would be one where very visually lightweight foliage and flowers are used. Balance and proportion are easily maintained in a tall, delicate-appealing design. A horizontal style design will have its primary axis running along its width. The height of this type of design would be drastically reduced from the designated rules.
19RhythmRhythm is the apparent flow of lines, textures, or colors that expresses a feeling of motion rather than confusion in an arrangement.
20Motion is created most easily in a design having a curved line Motion is created most easily in a design having a curved line. Here, the viewer is attracted gently from the top of the arrangement along the curving elements of line or texture or color through to its focal point, the center of interest.Rhythm may be achieved in several ways – through opposition, repetition, or transition.
21When flowers having the same color, texture, or form are placed at opposing points away from the focal point, the center of interest is emphasized. These opposing flowers create a balance in the design that naturally leads the eye from one point, through the focal area, and on to the other side of the design. This eye movement is the result of the visual motion within the design.
22The repetition of the same flower types throughout an arrangement ties all the parts into a single unit. The viewer will see the entire design through a repeated use of the same colors, textures, or flower shapes. When flowers are placed with their stems originating at the focal point, they will appear to radiate from the center of the design. This radiation from a single point will create an emphasis at the center of interest and will provide a visual movement as well.
23A transition in color and texture or the gradation of scaled flower sizes can also be used to create motion in a design. The darkest or brightest color may be placed at the focal point. From the center to the outer edges of the arrangement, the intensity or tone of the color is graded to be more subdued. A similar use of texture-quality transition will be effective in creating motion within the design that leads the eye to the center of interest in the arrangement.
24HarmonyWhen an arrangement possesses harmony, all the design parts will fit together into a pleasing composition of flower shapes, colors, textures, and sizes. This could be interpreted to mean that the idea or theme of the design has been successfully created. In order for harmony to be achieved all the component parts of the design must be in an appealing relationship.
25UnityUnity is created when all the design parts blend together without a noticeable separation. Although each flower or area of the arrangement may be distinctive, all elements must visually blend together. Unity is best achieved by repeating related flower types, colors, and textures throughout the design. This helps to pull the components together with the focal point as the center of interest. When one color or type of flower is used only at the perimeter of the arrangement and another at the center, the viewer of the design will feel a lack of unity.
26Elements of Floral Design: LineFormTexturePatternColorSpace
27LineLine in a flower arrangement is the visual path the eye travel as it passes through the arrangement. The line establishes the skeleton of the design particularly when linear flowers or foliages are used. This element produces the underlying framework of the arrangement that holds the composition together.A vertical line gives the arrangement an appearance of strength. A curved line adds gentleness or gracefulness and gives the impression of motion. A horizontal line is more relaxing or informal, so is used most often for table arrangements.
28FormThe flowers, foliages and containers used in flower arrangements have various shapes or forms. Flower and foliage shapes add a visual quality that is important in developing harmony, creating rhythm and establishing a focal point. Form is also expressed by the geometric shape that creates the outline of the design.
29TextureTexture refers to such surface qualities of flowers and foliage as smoothness glossiness, and roughness. This quality of texture may be expressed either as a physical or a visual characteristic of the plant material.
30PatternPattern applies to the contour of a composition and the grouping of materials within it.
31Pattern is monotonous if placements are uniform and forms unvaried, but it will be confused if assorted flowers are randomly spotted causing the eye to jump about. Pattern relates to continuity, since the distribution of lines and forms can proceed either logically or in a disjointed way that disrupts unity. The pattern of a design and that of the individual materials influence each other.
32Patterns are different kinds – intricate, bold, open, dense, regular, and irregular. The pattern of the materials often identifies the style, as traditional, modern, oriental, or naturalistic.
33ColorProbably the most important factor in the compatibility of materials is their color, because color commands the most attention, causes the strongest reaction, and often accounts for success or failure.
34SpaceIt is difficult to think of space as a positive element of design. Usually we regard it as emptiness without limits or definition. In a design, if we mark off space or enclose it, or if we cut out sections in a solid and leave them open, then space assumes shape.
35Factors in the Selection of Containers: In flower arrangement, a container has connotation beyond the dictionary definition of “a thing that contains”; it encompasses more than a vases and bowls, box, can, jar or crate. In floral work, a container transcends its practical purpose and becomes an artistic component of design, an integral part of it.
36Thus two factors – size and decorative qualities – determine the suitability of a container to a design.As the first requirement is to hold materials, it must have an opening adequate for a number of stems and a quantity of flowers and foliage as well as enough water to sustain them.Arrangement and container must be in proportion, the container neither so large that it overpowers the arrangement nor so small that the design dwarfs the vase. A container must be sturdy enough to balance the weight and breadth of a quantity of material.
37Decoratively a container may be of little interest or it may make a positive contribution through color, form, or texture.Except in modern design where it may be featured, a container is usually of less importance than plant material. In any case, a container should share the characteristics of a design, be equally formal or casual, and be related in color but not so intense or varied in hue, highly glazed or patterned that it competes.
38Compatibility also depends on similarity of style and shape, container and design correspondingly traditional, modern, naturalistic, or oriental.The color, texture, and style of a container should be in keeping with the setting or mood of an occasion, and have the same degree of elegance or informality, the same air of gaiety or restraint.
39In collecting containers, be guided also by the dimensions and shape of the area and furniture that will be use for their display and for the type of arrangements to make.