Flowers in design
18th August 2016
As we countdown to the end of the British Summertime, we thought it would be nice to spread the last of the Summer cheer in this week’s creative best of the web, by having a look at one of the many things that the British Isles are famous for, their flowers. Looking at how advertising and design have used this symbol in their campaigns and designs for years to inspire and captivate audiences.
Flowers have always been a central part of our society, from brightening up our homes on some dreary Tuesday to saying something we can’t seem to find the words to say, no matter what the reason, the floral icon seems to do the job. We use them to mark occasions such as anniversaries, weddings, Valentine’s Day and even our own funerals. To influence moods in hospitals that can reduce stress of patients and improve their recovery. Even seeing a vase filled with fresh flowers in the dining room or living room can create a relaxing atmosphere and enhances the beauty of our homes. But what is it that flowers do that help us communicate the way we think and feel? And can we use this in design to influence our audiences?
Flowers in fashion and cosmetics
The fashion industry have been using flowers in their creations for years, designing around the seasons by taking inspiration from the colours and blooms of the time of year. The catwalks are no different, using real flowers to create something quite unique if not short lived, literally. Flowers do make women feel special, like when your boyfriend treats you to a spontaneous bouquet, we feel more beautiful, so understandable how the fashion industry treat the green world as gospel in their designs.
Cosmetics are no different. For years the industry have been trying to create fragrances from the world’s numerous flower life, capturing the beauty of the scent for us to mirror every day of our lives. So again we can see how flowers are a big ingredient in the cosmetic companies products to advertise.
Flowers in art
From many types of art, influencing our plates in top end restaurants, creating great artworks where even the flowers can be eaten, to showcasing the true beauty from petal to stem in baking through great icing techniques. It seems to be the skill in getting something which is truly an icon of nature, so realistic in icing or cooking that is the mind boggling and truly inspiring thing about cooking and baking. It creates an almost raw, untampered feel for the diner, where we don’t want preservatives and fake flavours. By creating flowers and natural designs makes us subconsciously feel like what we’re eating is fresh and good for us. Again another way flowers are making us feel differently subconsciously, like a preset emotion that we apply to other areas of our world, here being our diet.
The art world have always been great lovers to the natural world in their artworks. Creating atmosphere and installations by using real flowers to draw their audiences in. Take a look at the following still life created for the National Gallery in London.
A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase, National Gallery London
To see the installation being put together, click here.
The artwork took 30 florists two days to create this masterpiece altogether, as well as being against the clock to keep the flowers fresh and from wilting. It took 100 blocks of Oasis foam, up to 30,000 stems of 26 different varieties in 37 different colours of flowers to create this gorgeous wall art. The artwork is a rendition of Boss-chaert’s Dutch masterpiece, A Still Life of Flowers in a Wan-Li Vase. The whole display stands at 8.2m in height, equivalent to two double decker buses. A truly brilliant way of sharing the happiness that flowers bring to all of London’s commuters which you couldn’t help but notice even if you tried. The really magnificent part of this location however has got to be the offset of Nature against the bustling urban, built up London that surrounds it.
We could take this another way however, where unfortunately man is taking over the earth at a tremendous rate and the display could be a symbol of struggling mother nature as man closes in around her. But lets keep those negatives to ourselves and go with the joy it brings us.
Flowers in advertising
Taking something that is beautiful and dangerous and making it safe continues Volkswagen’s honesty and safety drive in their campaigns. Interesting how Volkswagen seem to have repelled the normal floral use of embracing the qualities the flower brings like others have done, but instead making it into a hybrid and changing it from its original beauty by removing the thorns. The thorns are what make it beautiful, its imperfections like us all, is surely what makes the flower attractive and relatable. I’m not sure that this works from a maintaining their long live cars reputation angle, as they’re basically saying they’ll change it to make it quality controlled and safe, so not retaining their original claims. But safety is their campaign and safety is what sells so perhaps they’re on point here. A mixed review.
Another example of how we not only want to see flowers in our homes but feel and smell them on us constantly. This continues the reassurance from flowers in food and how we relate to the natural qualities and freshness they provide, the same can be mirrored here, but through wanting to be clean and fresh smelling. Seemingly taking the connotations from flowers to create the feeling for the product.
Love at First Sight
A lovely campaign about love at first sight, created by the ‘funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk,’ a company communicating how flowers can lift our moods and make our everyday lives better and more happy. A nice bit of gorilla advertising.
Mustafa Karakas – Social Advertising
Focused on the massive oppression of women in different culture groups and countries around the world with the aim of raising awareness of the serious issue of the ongoing violence and assaults committed against women. A great symbol of innocence and love, communicated through these floral art forms and artistic manipulation to show interference that kills the flower / women, emotionally and physically in places, e.g. like the rope to tie down or acid used for mutilation. Quite a strong message in this set of posters and solidly based on concept, piggy backing on the flower’s vulnerable nature to communicate his views.
Daisy girl – Johnson’s presidential advert
To see the advertisement, click here.
“If you vote for him little girls are gonna get nuked.”
“Daisy“, sometimes known as “Daisy Girl” or “Peace, Little Girl“, was a controversial political advertisement aired on television during the 1964 United States presidential election by incumbent president Lyndon B. Johnson‘s campaign. Banned after one showing by the campaign itself, it is said to be the main reason Johnson won the election in 1964 over Barry Goldwater. It was also an important symbol in the way political advertising was approached from then onwards. A highly controversial political advertisement which is not that long ago, using the innocence of a single vulnerable flower to set the tone of the little girl to persuade a whole country that he was the answer. From small acorns….
What does the red rose stand for?
True love. Used and publicised in Valentine’s day and a great symbol of your love for another. But lets not forget that all coloured roses have their meaning as well. An interesting angle we could use in design maybe.
What is the daffodil a symbol of?
Rebirth and new beginnings, the daffodil is virtually synonymous with spring.
What about the Snowdrop?
Known as the ‘flower of hope,’ it is one of the earliest spring flowers that arrives during cold conditions, a sign of life returning to the earth after the long winter months.
Favoured by gypsies to spread the luck that it brings, meaning independence, good fortune and good luck.
When you think of a poppy, what are your thoughts?
A long association with Remembrance Day. But how did the distinctive red flower become such a potent symbol of our remembrance of the sacrifices made in past wars? In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were once again ripped open as World War One raged through Europe’s heart. Once the conflict was over the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.
The significance of the poppy as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen was realised by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae in his poem In Flanders Fields. The poppy came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice made by his comrades and quickly became a lasting memorial to those who died in World War One and later conflicts.