A LIST OF TERMS USED TO DESCRIBE AND COMPLETE CONTEMPORARY FLORAL DESIGN
Arch--A modified garland that more resembles a linear spray of flowers and foliage. If the line curves upward in the middle, it is an arch. If it curves downward in the middle, it is a festoon. If it is a vertical line, it is referred to as a swatch. In the late 1980ís and early 1990ís, they became very popular, and usually are designed with dried or preserved plant materials such as eucalyptus, babyís breath, and statice, or other similar materials.
Banding--A thin, flat strip of material surrounding a stem or container for decorative purposes.
Basing--Materials in a design's foundation which give the design and the materials emerging from it visual stability.
Biedermeier--A style of design featuring compact circular and oval forms constructed of concentric rings of material. The design is influenced by a period of German and Austrian history near 1815-1848.
Binding--The process of uniting three or more like materials by tying them together in bunches.
Binding Point--The point where stems are bound or attached by any of the various design materials that could be used in binding techniques.
Botanical--A design representing a study in the structure, properties
and processes of plant life. The life cycle of the roots, leaves,
and flowers, may be portrayed.
Clustering--A collection of like materials placed so closely together in a design that quantity, shape or number cannot be determined. Materials lose individual identity and function more as a group in their impact.
Decorative--A design influence that emphasizes ornamental use of materials, without consideration of their natural growth, but rather with their use as adornment to enhance the design. An example might be the use of berries, fruits, or flowers removed from their natural branch.
Flemish style--Using seasonal and non-seasonal flowers together in the same bouquet, as did the Flemish painters, since plants in greenhouses became available out of their regular blooming seasons due to improved horticultural techniques, facilities, and interest.
Focal Area--A large area within a design which captures the eye of the viewer.
Focal Platform--The extension or concentration of visual interest along the base of a floral design. (particularly useful in parallel systems)
Focal Point--A single, usually central point in a design from which design materials radiate, and toward which the eye of the observer is drawn.
Formal Linear--Designs focusing on forms, shapes, and lines, with their respective interplay, particularly in asymmetrical patterns.
Framing--the use of materials in a design to partially or completely enclose and area or object. This usually is used to focus attention on the subject with the frame of branches, foliage, or flowers.
Freestyle--The use of floral materials in expressive, non traditional applications. Freestyle designs are carefully, yet spontaneously created expressions of feeling and purpose that represent the intention to push known design techniques and ideas beyond what is comfortably accepted. Principles and Elements of design are followed, but interpreted creatively.
Grouping--Identical materials in a design placed in a specific, limited area with space between the individual parts.
Hand-tied--A term that refers to the method of designing by gathering and binding stems in a variety of formal and informal bouquets..
Interpretive Design--Designs suggestive of symbolism and meaning, often expressing personal feelings or intentions.
Landscape--A design resembling a large dimensional view of a garden. Trees, bushes, soil, flowers, and sometimes water features may be impersonated with usually natural materials.
Layering--a technique of closely applying rows or layers of material on top of each other. Very similar to terracing, but generally more compacted and not so pronounced in the appearance of 'steps." (see terracing below)
Mille de Fleur--A phrase meaning "thousands of flowers," refers to a design style created with many flowers varieties and colors, usually in a symmetrical fan-shaped or radiating form. (often associated with the "Flemish" period styles as seen in the work of many famous artists of the Baroque and Flemish periods of history)
Negative Space--Purposely empty areas between flowers or materials in a design.
New Convention--A structured, linear-style design of vertical groupings reflected forward, backward, and to the side at sharp right angles.
"Open & Airy"--A term used by some floral designers to imply the use of soft linear flowers to imitate the feminine influence of the French periods of history strongly influenced by such women as Antoinette Poisson, and Marie Antoinette during the reign of Louis XIV, XV, and XVI. Today the term would be used to describe the French Country that has gained popularity in the late 1980's and early 1990's.
Parallelism--Two or more equidistant lines extending in the same direction. The lines never meet in, or radiate from, the same point. In parallel designs, originally, three groups of three flowers were arranged in parallel vertical patterns.
Parallel Systems--Two or more vertical groupings with negative space
Pavè--Design materials placed closely together in a "cobblestone" effect. The appearance is that of a jewelry design setting. This technique may also be used at the base of a design.
Phoenix--The regeneration of a round form with a tall burst of materials from its center.
Pillowing--Small clusters of flexible parts arranged closely together. The tufted groups flow like hills and valleys.
Point of Origin--The imaginary point where all stems of a design would appear to intersect, if extended beyond what is visible above the container into the unseen portion of the design within or underneath the container.
Positive Space--Area within a design that is occupied by material.
Sequencing--Placing materials in the order of gradual or progressive change. The gradual change of colors from light to dark, or moving from smaller to larger flowers within a design would create a visual sequence.
Shadowing--A method of enhancing the visibility or impact of a material in a design by placing a second identical material behind and below the first.
Structuring--The addition of details, usually decorative in nature, to enhance interest in the design by distracting or contrasting, creating visual tension.
Tension--The use of contrast to create greater interest in a design. Usually portrayed with opposing lines or shapes, tension demonstrates the energy held captive within the formal boundaries that are portrayed with floral materials.
Terracing--A "stair-stepping" of materials created by placing foliage or flowers in a series of ascending or descending levels.
Topiary--Distinctively formed arrangements that simulate the topiary pruning styles from the French Rococo period at Versailles. Frequently the designs are created from balls of foam or other structural material that may be placed at the top of a branch or stem placed vertically in a pot or vase. Variations may be constructed with fresh flower stems bound together and clusters or groups of floral material forming the round top. Some topiaries may be as simple as a chicken wire ball placed on a vertical stick or dowel, then covered with moss.
Vegetative--To present materials as they grow in nature. Two types of vegetative design are prevalent. One follows a radial pattern, while the other adheres to a parallel theme. The radial vegetative design requires that all materials appear to grow from the same internal point within the design. The parallel version is created with several groupings of materials (equally distant from each other) that emerge from the container at separate points.
Waterfall--Floral materials placed in a steep, flowing extended cascade. Materials are placed in several layers that appear to spill from an imaginary pool in the back of the design.
Zoning--A technique of restricting the numbers and types of materials used in specific larger areas. This usually applies to a large mantel or stage-front decoration, much like a huge focal platform with very distinct groups of material, carefully kept in separate zones away from each other.
The Professional Floral Design Manual, published by AFS, American Floral Services, Oklahoma City, OK
Holland Flower Design Book, published by the John Henry Company (available at your local floral wholesaler)