Friday, October 24, 2014

Part 6 Beginners Guide to the Elements and Principles of Design - Unity & Harmony

I would like to conclude this series of blogs by taking a look at Unity and Harmony.

Unity refers to the relationship and incorporation of all the elements in a design or decor such that it imparts a sense of wholeness or 'oneness'.

I find it very easy to create unity when I am working with Qualatex balloons as many of the balloon designs co-ordinate... let me show you what I mean.

Here is a really obvious one to start with. Let's say that we want to create a design with a farming theme for a birthday, look at all the balloons we can use, and there are others too!

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Anne Cahill McGovern made a great design using a selection of these balloons, along with added texture with a little raffia added into the base, this design demonstrates perfect unity!

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Farm Centrepiece by Anne Cahill McGovern CBA

Strong unity exists when all the components in a design interpret the theme or idea. 

Sometimes we can be challenged by our clients to create room decor that may not allow us to offer unity, this usually happens when a variety of themes are suggested, it could be hobbies or a clients favourite sports. It is our job as the professional to ensure that we find a way to work with and incorporate the themes in such a way that we can maintain a level of unity within a room. This happened to me a number of years ago when I was asked to decorate a 50th birthday party where the client wanted a rugby (sports) theme but also they wanted the room to look girlie and elegant. It took me a little while to pursued the customer that we should use the rugby theme to create a fun entrance to the party to 'set the scene' as the guests arrived and then once inside the decor would change to elegant and pretty. It worked really well and she loved it! If you take the time to discuss a clients needs with them and then explain the best way to achieve them you should have a very happy customer!

Here is another great example of unity! This is such a fantastic design by Cam Woody CBA that we can all make for Valentines Day! 

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Wild Valentine's Day Wishes by Cam Woody CBA

Cam has chosen the 'To My Valentines Zebra Stripes' #34079/ #34077 balloon as the starting point for her design, this is the balloon that holds the message or sentiment that the balloon arrangement is expressing , she has then decided which balloons she can use with it to create her fun and humorous Valentines gift. 
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This Valentines balloon is so versatile it can be used to create an elegant and romantic arrangement, and as we can see it can also be used to create Cam's fun and very sellable design too! If you have not checked out the OCT/NOV/DEC 2014 Balloon IMAGES magazine yet, look in the Balloons to Go section to see some other fantastic Valentines designs!
There is also a great article 'It's Never too Early for Love' on preparing for Valentines 2015 too!

And finally lets look at some party decor that shows great unity with a fantastic 'Tropical' theme! This was from the Slovenia Event in 2013 and was the combined work of a number of instructors and delegates. When working on a project like this it is very important that each of the designers communicate their idea's and use of colours with each other and in this instance a project leader Luc Bertrand was selected otherwise the results could be disastrous!

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Tropical centrepieces designed by Romana Kolenc CBA

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Entrance decor designed by Luc Bertrand CBA & Dolphin Column by Alberto Falcone CBA

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Flamingo's by Pieter van Engen CBA

Unity is not only reflected through theme's it can also be expressed through colour and shape, so understanding the use of colour is also very important as well of the shapes of the balloons and containers that we use.

I think that many of us confuse unity and harmony as being the same thing, but in actual fact for a design or decor to be harmonious all the design elements including line, form, space, texture and colour must relate to one another in a pleasing manner.

So, harmony is created when all the elements of design are applied successfully. Components must compliment each other and coordinate. There should be contrasting textures and shapes. A suitable colour harmony should be established. There should be space around the outline of the design and between components. And, the design should have a recognisable shape or silhouette.

Good design and designing depends on mastering the principles and elements that we have been highlighting over the 6 parts of this beginners guide, but it also depends on the quality of the materials used. Using old or poorly inflated balloons or damaged accessories will reflect heavily on the results and will show a lack of professionalism. Your customers expect quality, value and professionalism.

Here are a few great tips!

  • When in doubt leave it out! Keep your displays simple, don't overload your decor or display with too many colours. I have often seen elements added into a design that makes me question why, why is it there as it has no bearing on the theme!
  • Use the squint or walk away test. As you work on a design, stand back and squint at it periodically, or on larger projects walk out of the room and return with fresh eyes. This will help you detect problems with harmony, rhythm, space and other areas of design.
  • Compliment not compete. Once a focal area is established be sure that other elements used enhances it's appearance rather than distracts from it.
  • Practice and play. While practice is important to establish a good eye and mind for design, play can be essential to develop creativity, take time to experiment regularly. It can take me several attempts to be satisfied that I design that I am working on is right or that it fits the purpose.I have been known to work on a competition design for many months before I am totally satisfied!
  • Know the purpose. Regardless of your talents, if the design does not fit the purpose you may lose a customer. Be sure that the materials as well as the style, reflect the mood and theme of the occasion or event i.e informal v formal.

I hope that you have enjoyed each of the Beginners Guide to the Elements and Principles of Design. For me they understanding these has been one of the most powerful tools that I have learned since working in this industry, I know that they have helped me to be a much better designer!

Happy Ballooning!


* Excerpts of this blog were taken from Design & Design Basics with Balloons both Qualatex publications.

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