The basic standards used to organize the design elements are balance, dominance, contrast, rhythm, proportion, and scale. A floral arrangement is ultimately judged on how well these principles are applied.

1. Balance

By placing equal visual or actual weight on opposite sides of an imaginary central axis, this is the visual stability that is achieved. This principle is often taken by novice floral arrangers. This means that the arrangement needs to be completely symmetrical. That’s not the case here. Having balance in your bundle of blooms simply implies that when you’re done, the arrangement should not look lopsided. If either side looks heavier than the other side, then you still have to do some rearranging.

balance six principles of design

For example, if you have a heavier element on one side, on the other side, you need something of equal weight. Even if things are completely different, such as a large flower on one side and a cluster of smaller ones on the other, or two different kinds of flowers of the same size. Make sure you rotate your arrangement from all angles as you make it to check. Balance is possible in two ways:

  • Symmetrical balance: By placing equal quantities of similar materials on either side of a central axis, symmetrical balance is achieved.
  • Asymmetrical balance: Asymmetrical balance is a balance without symmetry, achieved by placing on each side of a central axis an approximate equal visual weight of different elements.

2. Dominance

This is the regulation of a design by one or more of the components. It indicates the presence within the design of main and subordinate elements. In your floral design, choosing one dominant element creates a harmonious outcome. A common color, texture, shape, or size may be the aspect. To create a feeling of unity throughout the arrangement, you only need to find something to carry through your creation. This doesn’t mean that it is necessary to repeat the exact same flower, although it can be repeated. You just need to carry a core component throughout. It makes a piece feel divided and is less likely to hold interest if there are two or more competing elements.

3. Contrast/Color

This is the use of elements that are opposite to emphasize differences, and add interest. Be sure to give some consideration to the feeling you’re trying to capture before crafting your floral piece. Those who understand basic flower arranging know that different colors and color combinations bring out a range of emotions. You should help select the right colors for your piece by giving some thought to the feeling you want to get across.

contrast color six principles of design

4. Rhythm

This is a key visual path through a layout. It is achieved in a linear direction through the use of gradation and repetition. Instead of honing-in on just one spot, you want the eye to move across the complete arrangement. That is why rhythm is one of the basics of flower arranging. Having rhythm in floral arrangements creates a pleasant overall piece, as with music. One way to create a rhythm, is by repeating a specific color pattern all through the arrangement. The eye needs to flow easily from one part of the structure to the next.

5. Orientation/Proportion

This is the connection between one area of a floral design and other areas of the design. It basically deals with the whole of the design. Typically, in floral design, the objective is to have all elements arranged around a single axis. Having different parts of the arrangement look as if they meet at various points, makes the final product look disjointed.

6. Scale

This is the size relation of a design’s individual component parts to each other. It deals with the arrangement-size relationship and the surrounding area. Scale is another fundamental flower arranging rule to be kept in mind. You want to fit the final product into the space where it will be placed. For instance, we could say that a large, bushy arrangement would look out of place on a small countertop. In contrast, in a spacious space, a dainty arrangement is likely to be overlooked. Try to fit the arrangement into the room it’s going to occupy.

Whether you choose a bundle of flowers for a stroll or have just received a lovely flower arrangement, it is helpful for anyone to know some flower arranging basics. We all like to imagine that we’re expert floral arrangers in these instances. But the truth is that you can end up making a bit of a mess of those pretty blossoms without some fundamental knowledge. There is a long and storied history of arranging flowers. Not to worry, you can transform that loosely-arranged cluster into something of a standout style with a few rules under your belt.

While flair and personal preferences differ greatly from one florist to another, all their techniques are informed by some fundamentals.

Final thoughts

Floral design or flower arrangement is the art of producing an eye-catching and balanced composition or display using plant materials and flowers. You can create gorgeous floral arrangements when these basic flower arrangement rules are understood and used correctly.

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