Proportion is the relationship among the

different elements within a design. For

instance, the size of each flower must be

compared to the size of the other flowers in

a design to maintain a pleasing proportion

among the parts of the arrangement. A

design that contains disproportionate flowers

(Figure 1), or a design that’s placed in a

container that’s too large or too small (Figure 2),

looks unbalanced and odd.

Proportion also refers to the overall ratio of

the height, width, and depth of an arrangement.

Decisions about proportion will eventually

become second nature to you; until then,

you can use rules to measure proportion.

One such rule comes from the Fibonacci

sequence, which are a sequence of numbers

that are the answer to a math problem

Fibonacci published in 1202. Each number in the sequence is the sum of the two numbers

preceding it: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, and

so on. This sequence has been studied by mathematicians since

Fibonacci published it. They discovered that parts of this

sequence describe proportions found in nature, such as the

dimensions of a budding branch and the parts of a human

limb. The Fibonacci sequence has thus become a guideline by

which to measure pleasing proportions.

The 3:5:8 ratio of measurements is a good place to start when

learning proportion in floral design. For example, if the depth

of an arrangement is a multiple of 3, the width is a multiple

of 5, and the height is a multiple of 8, your design would have

pleasing proportions. Suppose you need to make an arrangement,

and you choose 4 as the multiplier. To be proportionate, the

proportions of this design would need to be at least 12 inches

deep (4 × 3), 20 inches wide (4 × 5), and 32 inches high (4 × 8).

This system works for long, low arrangements too: 32 inches

high, 20 inches wide, and 12 inches deep.