There are many type of designs that are classified for the sake
of competition. When competing in a judged show, you should pay
close attention to the Schedule, or book of rules for that
specific show. The Schedule will spell out the
requirements for the design and how it will be judged.
Points are generally assigned for
Even though these rules sound intimidating, it is lots of fun to compete.
You can build your confidence by attending nearby flower shows and looking at the designs carefully.
Pay particular attention to the mechanics, or how the design is held together.
Conformance to these scheduled requirements
Expression (your interpretation of the assigned theme)
Distinction (marked superiority in all aspects)
The following are very cursory descriptions intended to show
you the range of possibilities. They are summaries of the
categories defined in the Handbook for Flower Shows©,
distributed by National Garden Clubs, Inc. NGC introduced
new suggested design types in their 2007 Handbook. Other groups
have other categories. When competing in a flower show, go
to the group's authorized source for a complete description to
be sure your design conforms to that group's rules.
It's all about geometry and angles,
spaces and planes. One triangle will cross the plane
of another, for instance.
Abstract objects are tied to plant materials
through color or form in a three-dimensional design.
This is the design type you think of first. All freshly
grown and beautiful plant material.
This two-dimensional design overlaps material on a flat
surface. Found objects can be included.
Architectural forms are either made
from plant material, or plants are used to enhance a manmade
A simple design, with limited materials, all of which emphasize
a single line.
This design emphasizes a main line and then fills out the form
for depth, although the overall design remains open.
Just what it sounds like! Lots of foliage and flowers arranged
in accordance with the Principals of
Design. Placement of color can create spaces within the
overall design, but the silhouette is closed.
This fun design can be seen from two sides
and displays different designs altogether. The two designs are
clearly separated so that they cannot be seen from the opposite
A static design is suspended within a frame
and should promise motion but not actually move. Specific
schedule will dictate whether or not design may break the plane
of the frame.
May be hung on a surface or suspended
in space and moving freely. A fishing swivel may be helpful in
suspending the design but the line should be attached to a
single, not double point, to enhance movement.
Lights are subtly incorporated into the design and have some
reason for being there. Go to the
Lights category in the shopping area and click on the
images there to see great uses of small, battery operated
These designs have actual or implied
motion and may incorporate some of the other categories like
Framed Spatial, Mobile, Op Art.
No more than 5 inches in any direction, but conforming to all
the rules of larger designs. Take a
peek at the designs one class of hobbyists came up with in
Think Calder for this one. Hanging
elements of Creative Design moving freely in the air.
Visual motion is the aim of this design that causes the viewer's
eye to move about. More than one point of focus caused by use of
color and patterns.
This design has three sides and the structure
is self-supporting. If panels are used, they must be
integral to the design.
Three or more groups that are parallel with
space between them, staged in one container or several that are
grouped as one.
Dried plant materials are arranged on a
plaque to be hung on a wall and include seeds, cones, nuts, etc.
A combination of two or more rooted plants
with other fresh or dried materials in the same container.
of light to the viewer is of primary importance, but the trick
is you may not place a design in front of a mirror. You
must include the reflective portions in the design!
This design features a three-dimensional
sculptural form that must be of one piece or appearing to be one
The whole design may not extend beyond
8" x 8" x 8" and other than that follows all the principals of
any larger design.
Two parallel lines emphasize the space
between them and are equidistant from top to bottom, although
they may be of different lengths.
A sculptural Creative Design that implies
imminent motion although it may not actually move. Must direct
the eye out to space. Should have depth and be able to be viewed
from different angles. Fixed base is generally the same
color as the background if there is one.
Tell a story through a grouping of objects
and plant material. Everything should be used in a
Two creative units, one smaller than the
other, appear to be pulled apart. Strong connectivity is key.
Build an overall design of three disparate
parts that do not have to be complete designs in themselves.
There are lots of variations on this type
which will be dealt with on a separate page.
You can see through parts of this design to
see other components. Emphasize depth and planes.
Trees, Decorated Holiday decorations
adorn trees, both traditional and non-traditional for special
Cylinders are the theme of this design, using tubes and
cylindrical forms with the plant material. A creative
Water magnifies and distorts the appearance of some material
placed underwater. Not all material need be under the surface.
Vibration and sound are the goals here. You may
invite viewers to touch, or depend on hanging pieces to move and