Elements & Principles of Design in Relation to Floristry

The elements & principles of design are universal, absolutely everything we use or create from a single flower to large scale arrangements incorporate the use of the elements and of design.  Correct use of the elements and principles of design ensures a pleasing arrangement.  All arrangements include the elements of design almost by default, the designers job is to incorporate the elements using the principles as a guide.

The elements of design are as follows:

  • Colour
  • Form
  • Texture
  • Space
  • Line

The principles are:

  • Balance
  • Dominance
  • Contrast
  • Rhythm
  • Proportion
  • Scale
  • Harmony

Floral designers need to correctly apply the principles to each element. When practicing, a designer can look at one element at a time.  For example, a designer may ask themselves the following questions “Have I correctly balanced the colour within my design? Have I used rhythm by the use of colour? Have I used scale to ensure the colours are from light to dark? Have I used colours of dominance? Have I used contrasting colours? Has that created a harmonious arrangement?”

Another example is texture “Do I have contrasting textures? Have I used scale between the two contrasting textures? Do any of the textures used create dominance? Have I created visual balance by using textures seeming to be heavy into the base and lighter textures through the top? Have I used the Rhythm in the textures and within, to harmoniously guide throughout the arrangement?”

When designing your arrangements ensure that you have incorporated each of the elements and principles of design.

Now let’s look at each individual principle:


Balance is made up of two parts one is the aspect of Physical balance, the physical weight distribution within your arrangement to ensure that it does not fall over. The second component of balance is the visual balance for example is the use of colour visually balanced? Is the use of texture visually balanced? Is the use of line visually balanced? Is the use of space visually balanced? and Is the use of form and shape visually balanced?


Dominance is often referred to as a focal point, an area within the arrangement that the eye is the first drawn to. Dominance again can be created by any of the elements of design however is most commonly created by the use of colour and or size.


Contrast can be created by use of any of the elements of design like dominance it is also often created but the use of colour. Contrast can create depth and interest within a design for example contrasting colours, using 2 colours opposite each other on the colour wheel. It may also be a Contrast from light to dark within one colour Hue. Contrast is also well used with texture from shiny to dull,  contrasting shapes and contrasting sizes from small to large.


In order for contrast to be harmonious we must use scale. Scale is the use of contrasting elements from small to big, light the dark,  hard to soft,  thick to thin, straight to curvy and everything in between in other words ensuring there is a graduation from one contrast to another.


The next principle is proportion it is extremely important for a floral designer to consider proportion when choosing vases and containers for their arrangements. For example an arrangement too large for its container would be out of proportion and vice versa an arrangement too small for its container would also be out of proportion.


Rhythm is flow or movement, this can relate to the individual flowers and can also be created by the designer linking materials together to create a flow. This is well achieved with the use of line it can also be created by use of any of the elements of design to direct the viewers and also create connections between one part of the arrangement to another


Harmony is the final principle of design and rightly so as harmony is achieved by the correct application of all of the elements using the principles of design.  Harmony is when one’s eye is pleased by the arrangement, thanks to the designers use of the elements and principles of design.

Have fun designing your next creation,

Yvette x

The above information forms part of the Bloom College Floristry Career Change Course

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