Article in the June 2012 Issue of
Canadian Florist Magazine
It is a rare talent to always be able to say exactly the right thing at the right time. Even more so, in sad or tragic circumstances. Fortunately, even the humblest flower possesses that talent. Flowers can speak the words we wish we could, and it is our task as floral designers to make it easy for anyone, looking at the design, to understand and experience the designs on an emotional level.
The secret to cultivating this skill is to focus on the emotion you, as designer, invest, and the emotions you experience when looking at your own designs. Your customers come to you because they love what you do, and trust you to relay an important message. That means there is already a connection between you for them to feel it, if you feel it.
Our busy schedules often prevent us from acknowledging our emotions while designing. But while we create we are instinctively drawing on some emotion that dictates every design decision. The real challenge is to intentionally direct this instinct and consistently create appropriate and meaningful work. This involves taking the time to deliberately think about, and note down, your design choices and the reasons for making them. The questions below are designed to guide you through this process. There is no right or wrong answers, just your answers.
Plant material: Think of different situations and the plant material you naturally choose for them. What plant material would you use to express happiness, hope, gratitude, love or sorrow? How will your choices affect the design?
Techniques: Think of examples where some techniques are more appropriate than others to convey emotion. How will the design choices, design variety, budget and location affect the techniques you choose to use?
Imagery: What images or symbols do you associate with different emotions?
Cultural believes: How are your design choices affected by your, and your customer’s culture? Are there cultures or religions for which your designs are more or less appropriate?
Consideration: What steps do you take to consider the emotions of people who will place, or take delivery of, your designs? How will your design avoid frustration? Are there third parties (e.g. funeral directors and church officials) to liaise with? How do transport and delivery times affect your design decisions?