Design Solutions - Interactive Online Course - from 22 February to 24 May

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

Design Solutions explores creating more impact with fewer varieties of plant materials, and finding answers during the creative process by thinking more deeply about design – by understanding and applying design knowledge.

The program is a stimulating, interactive course for Florists, Floral Artists and Floral Designers who want to revisit and renew the principles that underpin their creative and floral design practice.

The course is delivered as a series of five online meetings and four practical tasks, spaced over approximately a three month period. Online discussions can be joined live or watched via recordings.

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"Throughout my career, I have found that I have become better when I’m able to analyse my own work and become practised at finding my own mistakes.

I’m able to improve my skills overall when I look at my designs and assess them through the principles of design and find the flaws, and then find some solutions. It's a journey that never ends, and keeps on giving."

- Mark Pampling, Course Facilitator

The purpose of Design Solutions, as with all our courses, is to provide opportunities for us to improve our floral designing overall, to hone our skills and to become better designers. We all start at different places and we'll all finish at different places.

The idea is to become better through focusing on applying the elements and principles of design.

We all come from different worlds of floristry, floral art and design.

The Principles of Floral Design provide a powerful lens through which we can examine our own design process and grow as florists, designers and artists.

  • The most enjoyable part was seeing all the participants' designs and getting together in the meetings when you would give your feedback.

  • The actual analysing of the students' work and in particular the way you describe why and how you achieved your challenge in the chosen design.

  • Mark's feedback - I think it was detailed, I loved the written report.

Design Solutions tasks are based around a curated set of design styles, offering a breadth of design exploration and individual expression. Approaching each style with less variety in plant materials provides a chance to narrow our focus onto applying the principles of design - finding possible solutions and options to resolve any aesthetic and technical issues that might arise. Reduced material variety narrows our focus and helps us to develop fresh ways of looking for better design outcomes.

  • Lawrence, Sydney

    The focus and objective of this course is being disciplined through the various stages of designing, with methodical thinking, restricted choice of materials and a check list of criteria for evaluation. Mark guided each participant with thorough and comprehensive notes and explanations of each task. As a master florist himself, his knowledge, skills and techniques are exemplary. I can truly recommend this course or a similar one because I enjoyed the learning, particularly the evaluation/feedback from Mark.

  • Natalie, Geelong

    I recently completed the Design Discipline course with Flower Thinking. I found the course to be a wonderful opportunity to challenge and improve my design skills and develop my floristry techniques. With no chance of travel this year, this online course was also an opportunity for me to complete some professional development. Mark is an incredible teacher and mentor and I felt my skills improved with each task. Mark shares his extensive design knowledge and is so patient and kind to everybody.

  • Tammey, Brisbane

    An engaging and exciting course that leads you carefully yet directly through the elements and principles of floral design. This was done so well through a more focused and modern approach. Facilitator, Teacher, and mentor Mark Pampling guided me through each design with a gentle confidence that only someone who has an incredibly deep knowledge and understanding can do. I honestly cannot recommend this course enough. It has changed the way I think, feel, and now understand the floral design world.

Perhaps the most important goal of Design Solutions is to provide opportunities for everyone to grow by focusing on understanding and applying design knowledge – floral design theory.  There is no end to the learning about the elements and principles of design.

In this and every course we run, our key goal is to give participants a chance to immerse themselves in high level design processes, fully supported by Mark along the way, and to enjoy the experience.

Take the challenge!

The course doesn't demand that you create the world’s most complicated designs – it simply asks you to work to your own skill level and create designs that you feel comfortable making.

It is, by all means, also an opportunity to extend yourself and use techniques that you want to work on - what’s most important is that you’re happy and confident to explore and create with your own choice of materials and techniques.

If you have questions along the way please reach out and ask - either during the meetings or by email, and we’ll come back to you. If it’s something that we can share and learn from as a group we’ll facilitate that too.

Questions from participants often generate great content and lead to great learning moments.  We facilitate the sharing of answers as a group to optimise these educational opportunities.

Broad, yet targeted, directions are set for each practical task, encouraging you to investigate various design styles and explore solutions for any design issues encountered.

Hands on tasks include:

- Arrangements

- Bridal designs

- Wreaths

- Overlapping line designs

Guidelines for each task challenge put a spotlight on design principles, while allowing you ample freedom for personal style and different levels of skill and experience.

The set tasks are not necessarily difficult in themselves.  You are encouraged to start your creative process with techniques and materials that are familiar to you.

This course is more about encouraging you to develop your ability to approach designing critically - appraising your design decisions through the lens of the principles of design.

Each task has some core guidelines and parameters, and then the design choices are mostly yours – from simple to complex, minimalist to abundant. You have a relatively free choice in most aspects of your designs.

Resourcefulness is encouraged. 

Designs do not need to include exotic, expensive or precious materials.  Completing design submissions with readily available materials that meet the task requirements is more than acceptable and encouraged. 

A modest approach is very appropriate and can often result in better learning.

Designs are created and photographed, and the resulting images are submitted for review.  Task submissions are followed by online discussions, live and recorded, which are based on floral design theory.

Taking the work that you've submitted before each meeting, Mark prepares detailed, considered feedback framed within the terms of a range of principles of design.

Tasks and discussions are spaced apart over a four month period - starting on 22 February 2023 and finishing on 24 May 2023 - and they encourage individual expression, creativity and resourcefulness.

Detailed list of meeting dates and times can be found here.

Finally, remember, this is not a competition. We're not comparing or judging one participant against another.

We will all be working at different levels and presenting different levels of work.

The goal is to improve and grow individually. We are here to support you on your design journey.

Join Me

There’s no prize (or exams!) at the end - except perhaps the gift of satisfaction, that you finished feeling that you've grown as a designer - and had fun along the way.

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Some Frequently Asked Questions

What skills do I need to do this course?

Most of our programs are created for participants with some hands-on experience with flowers and a basic understanding of the elements and principles of design. You don't need to be an expert. The programs allow you to use your existing skills and to try out new mechanics, if you want, whilst placing a primary emphasis on applying the principles of design and improving individual creative processes. The programs are not suitable for beginners or those with very limited practical floral design experience.

Are there any prerequisites?

There are no specific prerequisites. Some previous practical experience working with flowers and plant materials is ideal. Being familiar with the core concepts behind the principles of design, in any discipline (arts, craft, fashion, interiors, etc.), is also a great starting point from which to elevate and expand your understanding. While not prerequisites, participants with an enthusiasm for learning and a desire to take their designing to the next level have gained the most.

How much time do I need to commit?

As per the old adage - the more you put in, the more you get out. However, the practical requirements are not onerous. We encourage and support you to use the skills that you already have, work at your own level of experience and be resourceful in your approach to material use. A simple, time efficient approach to a practical task can reap considerable benefits in learning to understand and grow the power of your own creative process through applying the principles of floral design more consciously. A couple of hours per task is usually sufficient time to plan, design, create and photograph your compositions for each practical task. You are, of course, welcome to invest much more time and energy in your practical task submissions. If you especially enjoy using elaborate or intricate techniques and mechanics and paying close attention to detail, you are equally welcome to take this approach. Whether you have a highly methodical and structured creative system, or a more liberal, organic, free-form process, the choice of how much time to invest is yours.

What sort of tools do I need?

There are no prescribed tools. You will need the basic floral tool kit requirements for working with flowers (see along with any tools or equipment that fit with the techniques you choose to employ - which will usually be techniques you already know and tools you are already familiar with.

What sort of materials will I need, and what would they potentially cost?

Generally, design ingredients are free choice, so you can easily control the amount you use and the amount you spend. Past participants have relied on materials from commercial suppliers, their own gardens and/or forgeable sources. Many of the design examples provided for our courses use only foraged, garden and/or recycled components. We encourage resourcefulness as a valuable learning tool. The practical tasks do not demand the inclusion of expensive or abundant materials. An economical approach can easily be taken for the assignments.

What time zone are the online meetings run in?

Live course content is delivered on Sydney time - generally GMT + 11 hours. Sydney time can vary by one hour according to the time of year - standard or daylight saving time. Times are noted and confirmed in advance and referenced as:
AEST - Australian Eastern Standard Time (GMT+10)
AEDT - Australian Eastern Daylight Time (GMT+11)

Can I still participate if I can't make an online meeting?

Yes. Joining online meetings live, while encouraged, is optional. Each online session is recorded. Soon after each meeting program participants are sent a link to an edited version of the recording to watch at their convenience. If you cannot attend a session live, you can watch the recording later. Recordings can also be watched to help refresh and retain any learning content.

Are there deadlines?

Yes. A program timetable is provided for each course. This document details each scheduled aspect, including the due dates for the submission of practical tasks. Generally there is around two or three weeks allowed to design, create and submit images for each practical task. Submission deadlines are usually 48 hours before the live discussion/meeting associated with the task. Late submissions are accommodated, if possible, where time and resources allow, at the next possible online meeting.

What happens if I can't make a deadline?

You are still welcome to submit your designs if you have missed the stated deadline. Designs will be reviewed and evaluated when they can be accommodated, most likely at a future online discussion, in course notes or via email individually. Whilst we will make every effort to analyse and generate feedback on all submissions at some point throughout the course program, this is not guaranteed for those received after the programmed deadline.

I have other questions I'd like answered.

We'd love to hear from you. Just contact us and ask us anything. We're here to answer your questions. No sales pitch, no pressure. Just answers.