Back to Basics
7 Key Principles of Floral Design
Floral Design 101
As we start to consider how floral bouquets can be created and designed in ways that can positively stimulate our senses and improve our emotional well-being, we began researching on some of the key principles of floral design in greater details. As part of our journey to master our artistic craft in floral design, it is always beneficial for us to go back to basics and consider these key principles in our future creations.
After our recent experience in making our simple hydrangea bouquet (Beginnings) , one of the key learning points for us is to stay intentional in every step of the design process as opposed to doing things randomly and hoping for the best. Hence, it is essential for us to understand the core principles of floral design.
7 key principles of floral design
There are multiple variations when it comes to the principles of floral design. Nonetheless, we picked out 7 key principles that we can most relate to at this point of time.
There are two types in floral design: Physical and visual balance.
Physical balance refers to the material weight distribution in the overall floral arrangement. The physical weight of the arrangement should look evenly distributed on either side of an imaginary central axis. Flowers and foliage differ when it comes to the physical size and weight. Hence, it is important to understand the differences in order for us to rearrange accordingly so that the final arrangement can be kept upright and not fall over.
Visual balance refers to the balance that is perceived by our eyes. There are 2 types of visual balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical balance.
Symmetrical balance is achieved by having the same quantity of similar materials on either side of the central axis. This type of floral arrangement is usually used in formal settings.
Asymmetrical balance is achieved by having different elements arranged around an imaginary axis but with equal visual weight on either side to maintain the sense of balance. This type of floral arrangement is usually more stylish and informal.
There are 2 interpretations of scale but both are relevant in floral design regardless.
The first interpretation refers to the size relationship of the floral design to its settings or surrounding area. For example, having a small floral arrangement placed in a big spacious room may not be appropriate as it may be easily overlooked.
Scale may also mean the use of a variety of sizes (small to big), colours (light to dark) and textures (soft to hard) to achieve a graduation from one end of a spectrum to another.
Proportion and scale are closely related to each other. While scale focuses on the size of the floral design relative to its settings and surrounding area, proportion focuses on the size relationship between one part of the floral design to another. We have to ensure that the size of the flowers, foliage and accessories (e.g. container) are in good proportion. For instance, the amount of floral material should be proportionate with the container. Similarly, the height of the arrangement should be proportionate to the width.
4. Dominance / Emphasis
Most floral designs should have a focal point that is usually the main feature which our eyes are easily drawn to. Dominance or emphasis can be achieved by placing sharp contrasting materials in the form of size, colour or texture.
In floral arrangement, rhythm refers to the visual flow or movement in an arrangement. The eye should first be attracted to the focal point and then carried throughout the entire arrangement, giving a sense of movement or motion that connects the floral design from one point to another and back.
Contrast can be achieved via the placement of two different or opposite elements together. This helps to emphasise or accentuate their differences. Contrast allows a feature of the floral design to stand out so that we are able to identify the focal point or the main feature of the floral arrangement. Similar to the dominance, contrast can be applied to many design elements such as forms, colours, sizes and textures of the flowers and foliage.
The last principle is more of an outcome if the above 6 guiding principles are being considered for the floral design. Harmony can be achieved when the combination of the flowers, foliage and accessories provides a pleasant visual experience.