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Elements and Principles of Floral Design

floral design floral education inspiration Feb 26, 2024

Grow Your Profitability

Is there more to creating designs than simply making them beautiful?

Florists are driven by passion. The passion for beauty, for emotion, for flowers and nature. The hard grunt work, the long nights and stressful deadlines are all challenges that every single florist on the planet has to face, yet passion for flowers seems to be a strong driving force that pushes us through. Just as being profitable and striving to make the business more sustainable often times seems to become secondary as we make that decision of “I’ll just add a little more flowers here…” or “let me fix this by putting more green there…”.

Sounds familiar?

Being smart about the way you conduct your business and being passionate about flowers and beauty do not exclude one another. What if there were ways in which you can do both: be conscious and aware of your profits and income and keep a high standard of delivering beauty and triggering emotions in your clients? 

A lot of times the floral designers and florists focus themselves only on the blooms, the flowers and fall into the trap of becoming flowers or floral arrangements salespeople. When that happens, the limitations they set ups themselves are connected to so many factors that are simply uncontrollable from the position of a floral business owner. These factors include - longevity of flowers, which is simply a matter of how nature works; the freshness of flowers - which can be altered by so many things, from transportation conditions to care and handling, and so forth; the acquisition prices - which no matter how savvy you are in purchasing flowers, they are still determined by bigger forces, so to say. 

What if you could focus on guiding your decisions towards things you can control and place your focus on working with tools that can make you more successful? Both in business and in delivering beauty to your clients.

Floral design is not about flowers. At EMC, we start our curriculum with precisely that statement. True changes in life occurs when changes in your mindset happen! Therefore, changing your mindset about the way your perceive flowers in your work is essential in order to achieve a real change in your work, business and overall life, at the end of the day. 

Floral design is about people and emotions. Flowers are merely the medium we use to create emotions and reach people on a deep, meaningful level. That’s the basis of creating long term clients, of building trust in the relation with them. Surely, flowers are important, their freshness matters, the prices make a difference, but the way your designs make people feel, that’s where the pricing and the value truly raises you above most florists. That actually puts you out of the competition for low prices, and sets you on a journey to find your clientele, your signature style, your own path to uniqueness, where competition is only with yourself. Your desire to grow becomes the only factor that matters in how you spin your business and decide to work moving forward. 

So, if flowers are not the centrepiece of the floral design story, what is?

Your creativity and your ability to deliver emotions through the designs you create is the centrepiece of your entire floral business. Both these things are fuelled by knowledge and confidence in what you do, and there’s no better way to achieve that than by mastering the Elements and Principles of Design. Balance, character, floral lines, proportion, colour and so on, are all principles that define a framework in which design can truly be taken to a whole new level.

But how do you learn all these things? And we mean, in a way that they can truly help you not only to improve your design level, but also to increase your efficiency, take the right decisions in implementing techniques and purchasing the right materials, without double guessing yourself and always overbuying to make sure you're covered. Floral design education has to transcend the classroom and become a tool that gives you the power to control your floral business, it has to provide guidance for practical applicabilities of the things you learn. Otherwise, workshops and demonstrations or classes that focus on one technique or one style alone will be even more confusing, as your have this amazing experience in the class and then once you return to your own shop, you simply go back to your old habits and way of doing things. Floral education has to make a true change. 

How is the EMC program built for you?

The Foundation Course is entirely focused on learning the Elements and Principles of Design. We dive into each of them in depth, defining the terminology and offering comprehensive example and challengers for our students. Learning the basic rules of design is key not because you will have to follow them, but because you will have to adapt them to your own reality in practical life. Being able to juggle with your designs to be able to serve the clients with professionalism is definitely a skill that requires a strong foundation in knowing what each element and principle does, how it affects the importance of using it and how you can put it to use for the most profitable deal.

Take Balance for example - talking about symmetry and asymmetry is common in so many floral design classes, but have you ever considered why is it so important? At EMC we really get in depth with the knowledge and clarify what balance implies and how it affects the overall impact of the design you create. We talk about physical balance and visual balance and the difference between them. Shape and form are clearly definitory for the balance of a floral expression, but have you ever considered how colour influences the perception of the viewer regarding the visual balance? Symmetrical compositions are soothing, calm and relaxing while asymmetry brings tension and spikes the attention of the viewer. When do you choose to create a symmetrically balanced design and what are the opportunities the asymmetrical balance offer you as a designer? These are all questions that are being answered during the Foundation Course of EMC and furthermore, they are explored in depth as we guide students towards their success.

We don't only dive into the actual knowledge by defining each term we use, we offer a strategic plan of learning, with keywords and a lot of visual support, starting with sketches, theory and demonstrative videos with Tomas De Bruyne and step by step guidance form the EMC Team as you execute your assignments. Feedback sessions are focused on each individual and create a sense of community as well, where the educational experience becomes a whole, learning not only from what you do, but also from the works submitted by the other designers who are part of the course. 

Diving into the Elements and Principles of Design in the Foundation Course becomes a coherent roadmap towards the end of the course as we explore practical applicabilities of them in wedding flowers, funeral designs, hand-tied bouquets and plant arrangements. This part of the experience starts to clarify the usage of the knowledge and how this creates opportunities for each design to enfold in unique ways. It's not about the flowers or materials we use, it's what you do with them and what combinations you create in order to build a cohesive design that matches the expectations of your client. Those opportunities are the ones that allow you to explore the financial potential of your creations, figuring out ways in which you can create the same visual impact with maybe less floral material, introducing colour or transparency in your design, for instance. 

Speaking of visual impact, this complex concept becomes the focal point of the Practicum Course, a follow up where students who have successfully finished Foundation can dive deeper into the understanding of how Elements and Principles of Design truly help them. Concepts such as Visual Impact, the value of Sketches, using SWOT analysis to help your design process and more are weekly introduced to the students as they tackle the assignments and practice the Elements and Principles of Design. The interaction between them and the connections that this knowledge has with their daily approach of floristry is constantly also brought into discussion during the weekly feedback sessions.

The EMC Program culminates for every student during the Advanced Course that takes place in person in Brugge, Belgium. For 9 days, the students get to put into practice all the knowledge and use the Elements and Principles of Design to dive deeper into concepts such as Structures and Constructions, Natural Flower Support and Gestalt. We dare our students with challenges such as The Power of One to really learn the potential that mastering the Elements and Principles of Design provides even when using few materials. 

The journey of floral design transcends the mere arrangement of flowers; it is an intricate dance of creativity, emotion, and profitability. While passion for blooms fuels our craft, it's the integration of knowledge, particularly in understanding the Elements and Principles of Design, that elevates our work from mere arrangements to transformative experiences. At EMC, we believe in equipping floral artists with not just theoretical understanding but practical applications, empowering them to make informed decisions that enhance both the aesthetic and financial aspects of their business. As you embark on this journey with us, remember that the true centerpiece of floral design lies not in the botanicals only, but in your ability to craft emotion, foster connections, and ultimately, flourish both creatively and financially.

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