Today I’m sharing with you some simple flat lay design tips that I use when I’m creating a floral flatlay. For visual storytelling, social media, or simply a wonderful meditative creative activity.
I’ll never bore of creating a floral flat lay. Once the darling of Instagram, they have become a slight cliche to some, as you see so many of them on social media these days. However, to me, the process of creating a flat lay design is meditative, creative, satisfying (flowers will never disappoint you as they’ll always look good!) and importantly, anyone, of any age, can do it. No fancy materials are needed.
- Flowers and foliage – Forage materials from your garden, your local area or as I often do, I’ll buy the discounted flowers from the supermarket or florist. If you get friendly with your local florist you may even score a freebie here of there too. The flowers and foliage may only have a day or two of good life in them, but since you’ll be pulling the heads and leaves off, it doesn’t matter.
- Paper – I like working with A2 sized paper so I have lots of white space between the flowers and around the composition for photographing. An A3 sheet of paper is also good if you’re working with the medium sized to small flowers and leaves.
- Other optional elements are tweezers for particularly small elements, white tack for propping flowers up (important if you want to photograph your composition afterwards) and scissors for trimming and cutting.
- Finally, use 1 completely unexpected prop. I’m an artist so I like to use paintbrushes and paint tubes to tell my story. I’ve also seen wonderful flatlay images made with shoes, typewriters, stationery etc. Whatever your interests are, you can include them in your floral flatlay design to create something original.
Simple Flat Lay Design Tips
1: Tips for Selecting your Flowers & Foliage
I like to select a variety of shapes and sizes of flowers and foliage. The largest elements become the main focal points, but the smaller elements are just as important for creating a balanced, flowing composition. My favourite parts of my compositions are actually the smallest elements such as buds and single petals. They are great for adding sections of interest to draw your eye around the composition as well as creating ‘movement’ within the design.
2: Odd Numbers
I love to group things in odd numbers: 1, 3, 5, 7 etc etc. 3’s and 5’s particularly. You can see in the animated images below and how I use this method of grouping objects into odd numbers.
I’ll often ‘draw’ invisible triangles and diagonals, in my minds eye, through my design as I’m laying the floral elements out. Read more about the psychological meaning of shapes to discover their importance in design and visual storytelling.
4: Visual Flow
This one is hard to describe. Flow. It just is. It’s the zen of design. It’s the movement within a static image. This is where your instincts need to kick in.
For me, I find my flow in the ‘s’ shape. Your eye is drawn to the design, flowing from point a to point b.
POWER TIP: Experiment – and squint! Seriously, squinting your eyes when looking at a composition works wondering for knowing when a design is ‘just right’.
Choose no more than 3 main colours for your design. You can use different hues/tones of colour but keep to a limited colour palette. In this example I’ve used purple, green and an off-white with a tinge of yellow. Yellow complements the purple but works in harmony with the green.
If you look closely, you’ll notice the purple flowers have a tiny yellow centre. The yellowish off-white flowers enhance the middle of the purple flowers. Again, helping to draw your eye around the composition and create a certain harmony within the image.
Organising elements on a piece of paper, is simple but so satisfying. Flowers always look great so you really can’t go wrong with these simple floral flatlay design tips. Have a go and tag me on Instagram with your creations @georgiestclair #georgiestclair.
Have an inspired day
If you liked this post you can learn more about creating eye-catchingg compositions and images in these posts:
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