“Floral design or flower arranging is defined as the art of organizing the Elements of Design found in plant material and (optional) other components according to the Principles of Design in order to obtain beauty, harmony, distinction and expressions.” Handbook for Flower Show, revised 2007. Choosing to enter a floral design in a Standard Flower Show requires planning and a basic knowledge of design.

Elements of Design
The elements of design are physical characteristics plus space and light. In floral design, these include the following.

  • Line – visual path through a design
  • Form – three dimensional object
  • Light – illumination
  • Color – characteristic of light by which the individual perceives objects or light sources
  • Texture – surface quality of a material
  • Size – perceived or visual dimension of components
  • Space – open area in and around a design
  • Pattern – spatial divisions of solids and voids
  • Principles of Design

The principles of design are the ways all artists use the elements of design in art. Whether in floral design, paintings, sculpture or other art forms, these principles are employed.

  • Balance – distribution of visual weight – symmetrical or asymmetrical
  • Contrast – unlike characteristics of a single element placed together to emphasize their differences
  • Dominance – greater impact of each of the physical characteristics, catches attention
  • Proportion – feeling of unity when all parts relate well to each other
  • Scale – size relationship of one object compared to another
  • Rhythm – one or more elements create a feeling of organized movement

While all this information may seem intimidating, it is the basis for all forms of art and helps the designer put together the components of a design in a pleasing manner. The Flower Show Schedule determines the type of design required for an individual flower show class. It is very important to read all of the flower show’s rules prior to entering a design competition. Failure to adhere to the schedule results in a loss of judging points. Designs are judged against “perfection” – starting with 100 points. Any faults in the design, related to the principles and elements of design, results in a loss of points. Design styles in a show are traditional or creative. For more information on types of design, including examples, please see the Wisconsin Judges’ Council pages.