Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Agriculture & Natural Resources

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Christine Henderson

Introduction to Principles of Design

Part of Unit: Floral Design

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

A summary of the basic principles of design used in floriculture. Also includes a notes and activity handout for the principles of design.

Lesson Time

Principles of Design
90 Minutes

Objectives and Goals

Students will be able to identify and define each of the principles of design (used in art, floral design, and landscape design).

Activities in this Lesson

  • A fun quick comparison of designs and have students choose which they think looks the best. They need to consider the organization and placement of flowers. There is one bad and one good example. It will help students realize that they have a natural preference for certain principles of design.
    As you show the students the proper flower arrangement discuss the use of artistic elements (which should be a review topic for the students - line, shape, space, depth, etc.) and how we use these elements it allows the viewer to like or dislike the design.

    There is no right or wrong selection, rather just a comparison that the human has certain preferences. This PP should be an 'activate prior knowledge' activity, even though the students don't realize that they have this knowledge. This PP should be used to start a dialogue about principles and elements, and help students to use and understand the vocabulary of design.

     In slide 1: the basket has the grouping technique (groups of carnations, groups of daisies, etc.) and the arrangement on the right has a more evenly dispersed design. Both are good, and both have focal areas, balanced color, variety of textures, and good scale and proportion.

    In slide 2 the standing funeral spray on the left is a full massed design with a variety of colors and textures and is very 'busy' with rhythm. The small design on the right is a monochromatic color scheme with yellows, and is very simple, elegant, and organized. Both are 'pretty' or aesthetically pleasing, but each have their own descriptive terms you can use to describe the styles. The simple yellow design has a clear focal point, a graduated rhythm with the size of flowers, and radiating stems.

    In slide 3 there is a structured square design on the left with a clear focal point and groupings of flowers whereas the vase design on the right is more scattered and no clear color scheme. The placement of flowers on the right is no organized and does not give an overal appeal to the customer. The design on the left follows an analagous color scheme with a modern style.

    In slide 4 we have an asymmetrically balanced tropical design on the left and a novelty topiary on the right. The topiary on the right is neither visually or physically balanced. The focal point is in the wrong location, and the overall design is not color coodinated, so it lacks unity and harmony. The design on the left (tropical) has a clear vertical line of yellow orchids, and 3 large red anthuriums to stairstep the rhythm down to the central, low focal point. The tropical flowers are very harmonius in color, texture, and style, especially with the use of tropical foliage and flower selections.

    In slide 5 you see 2 tropical designs, one asymmetrical and one triangular. The problem with the left design is that it is lacking balance, harmony, and rhythm. The flowers are not properly placed to achieve proper eye movement throughout the design. The focal point is not located in the proper location. The choice of flower materials are not compatible (yarrow with tropicals). Also, the angle of the stems does not feature the flowers to their best appeal. The design on the right is more balanced in color placement, the stems radiate from the center, and the focal point is low and centered as it should be.

    Resources and Materials

    • Good or Bad? Flower Designs [ Download ] A powerpoint with pictures of good and bad examples of flower arrangements.
  • Here is the PowerPoint on the Principles of Design, with activities incorporated. For each principle there is a definition, examples and pictures, then a quick activity where students find their own example to include in their notes. I have had students draw in examples for each principle, or cut out an example from industry magazines, such as Florists Review or Flowers&.

    Introduction - slides 1 -2

    Harmony - slides 3 - 5

    Unity - slides 6 - 9

    Balance - slides 10 - 13

    Proportion - slides 14 - 18

    Scale - slides 19 - 21

    Focal Point - slides 22 - 26

    Rhythm - slides 27 - 28

    Graduation - slides 29 - 30

    Contrast - slides 31 - 33

    Resources and Materials

    • Principles of Design PowerPoint [ Download ] Powerpoint covering all principles, examples, and activities for students.
    • Principles of Design PowerPoint notes [ Download ] Student notes handout to accompany the PowerPoint.
  • Within the worksheet students will add in their own examples of floral designs that demonstrate each principle of design. The powerpoint has many examples, and the students can draw in their own examples or cut out an example from industry magazines.

    Simply give the students a credit or no credit grade for adding an appropriate example (possibly stamping their notes before the end of class).

  • An overview of the general principles of design. (a shorter alternative presentation)

    Resources and Materials

    • Summary of Principles [ Download ] Student notes worksheet
    • Summary of Principles - teacher [ Download ] Teacher overhead
  • Either you can prepare the flashcard activity ahead of time, and laminate them for future uses, or students can make their own flashcards and then partner up for the activity.
    Flashcards should include the principle names and also a set of the definitions. Have students work in partners or teams and match the principle to the definition. Another version of this game is to have one side of the class have the card with the principle name and the other side have the definitions and then they have to find their match.


Assessment Types:
Teacher-Made Test,

  • Principles Quiz Principles Quiz [ Download ] Matching quiz, terms and definitions.