Elements & Principals of Design through courses at Flower Show Judge school.  It was all a bit overwhelming at first but after awhile I found I was using them in my everyday life.  Think of ‘elements’ as the ingredients of a recipe and ‘principals’ as the recipe itself.  Elements are the tangibles and Principles are how you use those tangibles.

Elements of Design

Color – The characteristic of light by which the individual perceives objects or light sources; how the eye sees and interpret wavelengths of light
Form – A three dimensional object
Light – Illumination necessary for vision
Line – One-dimension visual path through design
Pattern – design formed by solids and spaces between them
Size – the perceived or visual dimensions of components rather than actual dimensions
Space – the open area in and around a design
There are 3 kinds of space – total space, space within plant material, space established in design
Texture – Surface quality of a material

The only way I can remember the Elements is to put them in alphabetical order.

Principals of Design

Balance – visual balance or stability
Dominance – the greater impact of one element over the others
Contrast – use of opposite characteristics to emphasize differences
Rhythm – created by a dominant visual path of lines, forms, and/or colors in a design
Proportion – comparative relationship of areas and amounts
Scale – the size relationship of one object in a design compared to another

Some people use BADCROPS as an acronym to remember Principles. Drop the vowels and you have your PRINCIPLES.

Although my life involves a lot of creativity I have never had any formal training in art.  Once I was exposed to the E’s & P’s I realized that I apply it to projects in my everyday life.  I don’t aspire to be an accomplished floral designer, but I do enjoy giving it a good go.  I typically make my designs with succulents which aren’t considered traditional, but I do love creating them and that’s what matters most, right?!

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