Amy Balsters from The Floral Coach arranges a bouquet of asymmetrical flowers.

Asymmetrical Floral Design: What it is + Examples

Amy Balsters from The Floral Coach smiles while holding a whimsical floral bouquet.

What is Asymmetrical Floral Design?

Asymmetrical floral design is the use of two different layout options, spread on either side of a floral arrangement. This type of floral design focuses primarily on the partitioning of material, in distinctive ways, on both sides of the arrangement. Because one side tends to be heavier with the use of material and color, the other side needs to balance with less visual weight. 

Asymmetrical floral design is classified as an informal approach to floral design due to the informal balance it creates.

If you are looking to create an eye catching floral design that radiates both fun and elegance, this design style is the perfect way to go! Let’s take a closer look at how it’s done and what makes asymmetrical floral design so unique from other floral design choices.

Symmetry

When it comes to floral design, the symmetry principle often highlights formal balance; that is all material should be equally dispensed on either side of the arrangement’s center.

For example, if you were to create a floral arrangement and slice through its middle, both sides of the arrangement should look the same. However, this is where symmetrical and asymmetrical differ, it’s what makes asymmetrical floral design so visually appealing! 

Asymmetrical vs. Symmetrical Design

While asymmetrical floral design falls under the symmetry principle, it is unique in that it highlights the opposite idea of formal balance; informal balance. 

The whole idea behind asymmetrical floral design can be found in the previous example; if you were to cut through the middle of a floral design, one side of the arrangement would have to be distinctively different from the other in order to be considered asymmetrical. 

Although it is usually one-sided, asymmetrical floral design can be made into an all-sided design, by use of framework. This is a fun concept to play around with, especially if you’re wanting to make a statement.

When it comes to selecting the right flowers for this design style, be sure to check out my previous post, How to Choose the Best Flowers as a Florist so you’ll be sure to get a great start.

Where Did Asymmetrical Floral Design Begin? 

“Ikebana” is known as the Japanese art of flower arrangement. This form of flower arrangement focuses heavily on asymmetrical floral design and originated in the Muromachi Period (in between the late 14 century and mid 16 century). 

During this time, groups of Japanese artisans were tasked with the oversight of aesthetics. While some artists focused on architecture and various other groups of design, Japanese florists took to floral arranging and created a captivating singular style. This style centered around the idea of a single branch located in the center of a vase, simple, yet stunning.

Ikenobo Senkei, a Japanese monk, later built upon this idea and developed his style of floral design. This resulted in the famous “Ikebana” floral design, which now plays a major role in asymmetrical floral design.

Fun Fact: It was not until the late 19 century, when western plants became popular, that the Ikebana arrangement began to be incorporated into western culture. Look how much floral design we’ve managed to create since!

A Triangle is the Basic Shape of Asymmetrical Floral Design

The basic shapes for floral design fall into 2 categories: round or triangular. 

Asymmetrical floral designs are triangular, with 3 main triangular types. 

Asymmetrical triangle designs are a three-sided composition conducted in the form of a triangle with unequal sides. This style of floral design makes for an attractive optical illusion and is refreshingly fun to play with.

3 Types of Triangular Design

Scalene

This asymmetrical floral design forms a triangle, with all three sides and all angles being of uneven lengths. A scalene triangle design usually has vertical emphasis and an obvious obtuse angle. 

Because a scalene triangle creates such an open angle, it has the potential to draw the viewer’s eye in a powerful way.

Right triangle 

This floral design consists of a vertical axis that forms a 90-degree angle. 

The right triangle design is known to be a famous example of Western Line Design. This design provides direction with the baseline protruding out in opposite directions.

Isosceles 

While not as common as the scalene or right triangle design, this floral design creates the form of a symmetrical triangle, with two sides of the same length, but the last side a different length. 

Three Types of Asymmetrical Floral Design

“S” shaped arrangements 

Otherwise known as the Hogarth Design, this type of floral design centralizes on creating a curved line that replicates the letter “S”. According to William Hogarth, the purpose of this design is to signify life and draw the attention of the viewer towards the beauty of aesthetics.

In his book, The Analysis of Beauty (pg. 102), Hogarth describes the serpentine line as the famous “line of beauty” and therefore, the “line of grace”. What a gorgeous image.

Many beautiful floral designs are assimilated through the “S” design and are perfect for a majority of occasions, especially those that are lively and fun!

“L” shaped arrangements

As the name suggests, this type of asymmetrical floral design is constructed by way of replicating an “L” shape. Because the vertical emphasis is most commonly seen on the left side of such arrangements, it is referenced to a “L” shaped. 

Amy Balsters arranges an asymmetrical floral design.

This type of asymmetrical floral design is great to create when it comes to emphasizing and showcasing. For example, if you had a table layout that needed an extra flare, two “L” shaped arrangements placed on either side of the table would certainly draw attention to what is placed in the center.

“C” shaped arrangements 

I’m sure by now you’ve caught on to the name game! Crescent shaped arrangements are floral designs that place flowers in the shape of a “C”. 

This type of floral design can be arranged in 1 of 2 categories; an upright crescent design and an inverted crescent design. One option requires a low container, while the later requires a tall container that allows for side stems to gently hang. 

Because the crescent shape uses negative space for visual contrast (and therefore requires less material), it is a great option when it comes to budgeting and serves as a breathtaking addition to any occasion.

Asymmetrical Floral Design

Now that you’ve gotten some foundational information about asymmetrical floral design: where they originate from, what their corresponding styles consist of, and the triangular shape they are most commonly made in, you’ll be able to create your own in no time!

Creating an asymmetrical floral design is a great way to catch a viewer’s attention by means of flower fun and their almost magical shapes. Thanks to Japanese florist, Ikenobo, we have even more avenues to play with when it comes to floral design.

With their various angles and captivating use of negative space, asymmetrical floral designs are a beautiful way to celebrate the art of arranging flowers. 

Now that you’re informed and ready to begin making your own design, be sure to check out my post, the 6 basic rules of flower arranging to help you along the way. Have fun arranging and creating your captivating asymmetrical floral design!

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