Showing posts sorted by relevance for query unity. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query unity. Sort by date Show all posts

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!

The Very Best Balloon Blog

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!

Friday, March 26, 2021

The Importance of Principles and Elements of Design in Balloon Art!

Earlier this week, I was given the honour of taking part in the Q Corner Convention as part of the Design Panel discussion group alongside Tope Abulude, Cam Woody and Aleks and Nelly Hernández. 

The first question we were asked as a group was "Which of the Principles and Elements of Design is the most important to a creation and why?" 

This got me to thinking... how many balloon artists actually consider the basic principles and elements of design when making their decor? Is this something that many of us naturally do, or should it be considered more frequently?

So, let me put this to you in a different way - have you ever made a design or decor that does not look right, and while you know something is not quite right, you can't quite put your finger on it? Knowing the basics can prevent this from happening!  

So what are the Principles and Elements of Design?

Creating the 'perfect' design is not something that just happens, at least not for most of us anyway!  There are a number of factors that can help to make a design 'perfect,' so let's take a look at what those factors are!

Principles of Design: The basic principles of design include words such as unity, proportion and scale, balance, rhythm and harmony.

Elements of Design: These are the physical make-up of the design. You can touch or see the elements of design. These include colour, line, shape and texture.

By applying the principles to the elements of design, it will bring them together into one design. How you apply these principles determines how successful a design may be!

Principles of Design

Sculptured Balloon Column 
By Sue Bowler
Proportion is one of the easier design principles to understand. Simply put, it is the size of each elements in relation to one another. Proportion signals what is important in a design and what is not. In he typical design, larger elements are more important than the smaller elements. 

Scale refers to the size of the overall design in relationship to its surroundings! If a design is too big in its space, it will look overpowering. Too small small, it will look insignificant.

Balance is the visual and physical stability of a design. The visual stability of a design refers to how the mechanical stability of the design, and whether or not it will easily fall. A design with symmetrical balance should have the same amount of visual weight on both sides. Designs with asymmetrical balance will not mirror the design on both sides.
Remember that darker colours will have more visual weight than lighter colours; therefore, the darker colours belong at the base of your design since they appear heavier.

The spaces between repeating elements can cause a sense of rhythm to form, similar to the way the space between notes in a musical composition creates a rhythm. There are five basic types of visual rhythm that designers can create: random, regular, alternating, flowing, and progressive.

Movement refers to the way the eye travels over a design. One essential element should lead the eye to the next element and so on. This is achieved through positioning; the eye naturally falls on certain areas of a design first.
Table Centrepiece Design
By Sue Bowler

Unity refers to how well the elements of design work together. Visual elements should have clear relationships with each other in a design. Unity also helps ensure concepts are communicated in a clear, cohesive fashion. Designs with good unity also appear to be more organised and of higher quality than designs with poor unity.

Elements of Design

To effectively use colour in design, it is important to understand what it is and how it works. Colours are visually perceived as advancing or receding. Warm colours such as red, orange, and yellow advance, or appear closer.
Cool colours such as green, blue and violet recede or appear farther away. When making a design, the goal is to create colour harmony. The four most basic colour harmonies are monochromatic, analogous, complimentary, and triadic. 

The centrepiece design shown is using a monochromatic colour harmony. A monochromatic colour harmony consists of one hue (colour) and its tints, tones and shades.

Texture relates to the surface quality of each component of a design. Contrasting or opposite textures should be used (e.g. rough and smooth, shiny and matte) to create impact within a design. While balloons themselves have limited textural differences, there are many other ways to create texture within your designs. The texture of latex balloons is smooth and soft, but by adding elements such as tulle, ribbon, fabric, flowers, or feathers, you can create contrasting texture and a greater visual impact.

The design shown has a number of varying textures, such as shiny confetti inside the Deco Bubble and the addition of greenery and flowers within the design - all of these elements adds texture to the design.

Space is the open area, or void around each element of a design. Space allows each element to stand apart so it can be seen and appreciated while still giving the impression of unity. Without space, the eye can have difficulty finding the focal area or rhythm of a design. There are two types of space: positive and negative space. Positive space refers to the shape of an object or the area that is being utilised by balloons and other decorative elements. Negative space is the empty space surrounding the design components.

A line is the described path in a design that the eye should clearly follow. The line provides the framework or outline of an arrangement, as well as a visual path to follow. 
A design can have one line or a combination of lines with one being dominant. 
Lines can be: 
Vertical - creating drama
Horizontal - representing tranquility
Diagonal - expressing uncertainty 
Curved - reflecting grace

Form refers to the shape of each element in a design. Form can be divided into three separate categories. 
Round: A round composition is one of the most common shapes. It is designed to be viewed from all sides. Round designs are often used for centrepieces on circular tables.
Triangle: Triangular designs are usually viewed from only one side, so they are often used as a focal design on a pedestal or banqueting table.
Oblong: Oblong shapes are low, long and horizontal and usually symmetrically balanced. This style of design is especially suitable for a rectangular space.

And finally, Harmony
Harmony is the physical compatibility of the elements within your design. In other words, it is how the Design Elements (form, line, space, texture, and colour) relate to one another in an agreeable way. Creating harmony within a design also helps bring about unity. Every element within a design should coordinate and complement each other. Harmony. is created when all the Elements of Design are applied successfully! 

So in conclusion, to make the perfect design you need to consider and apply the Principles and Elements of design and if for any reason you are unhappy about a design that you have made think about why and what you can or could have done to make it better! 

I will be 100% honest, it took me quite some time to fully understand and have the ability to apply the principles of elements of design to my own work, and I can promise that I do not always get it right! But having an understanding can really help you to master design and become an even better balloon artist! 

Thank you for reading this post and I hope that it has helped!

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tips and Tricks of the Trade - Part 2

Learning how to do things easily or in a better way can take many years of trial and error. I know this well as I have been learning for the past 26 years! "Tips and Tricks of the Trade" is a series of posts that will help you with a variety of different techniques that will make life easier and your work look better.

In Part 1 of this series, Chris Adamo, CBA, of Balloons Online, in Sydney, NSW, Australia, shared some fabulous techniques for filling latex balloons with confetti and also how to easily apply vinyl to foil and Bubble Balloons. To view this post, click HERE

One of my favourite tricks is to cover a base board* using the same Microfoil® balloon that I am featuring in a design.

How to cover a base board.

Here are two designs I made that use a covered base as part of the design. The covered base helps to create visual balance, good proportion, and perfect unity.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Part 5. Beginners Guide to the Elements & Principles of Design - Proportion and Scale

Scale and Proportion are closely linked and both are concerned with size. 

So let's consider how important is it for us to understand proportion & scale when designing our everyday displays. 
Here is a scenario  - " I have been asked to create table arrangements for a party in a venue that I have never visited".
When we start our design process, we think about the colours that we are going to use, and if there is a theme that also take high priority, but I wonder how many of us consider proportion and scale?

For me this is now a very important part of the design process that I need to consider right from the start. 
  • How big are the tables that the designs are being used on?
  • What is the size and height of the room?
Without knowing and using this information very early on in our design process we could suggest, propose and cost work that is total inappropriate for the room that it is intended to be used in! Believe me, I have been there... balloons too small or too big for the height of the ceiling and the size of the room and centrepiece that are too big or too small for the tables! 

You are the expert and you can use your knowledge and skills to advise and recommend to your customers.

So lets look at proportion and scale in greater detail.

Monday, June 26, 2017

A Few Tips When Designing And Making Centrepieces.

Beautiful bat mitzvah centrepiece design by Tanya Joselowsky, CBA, of The Pop, and working with Gideon's Functions and Flowers, Johannesburg, South Africa.

What is a centrepiece?

 Design by Cam Woody, CBA,
Pioneer® Balloon Company

By definition, a centrepiece is a display that can be placed in the centre of a dining table. It helps to set the theme of the event and brings extra decoration to a room.

Just consider all the ways a well-designed centrepiece can contribute to your client's event space:
- Will be the centre of attention at the dinner table— guests have no choice but to spend most of the event gazing at the centrepieces!
- Creates a visual atmosphere that sets the mood for the event
- Ties together the theme of the event and helps bring it to life
- Acts as icebreakers for guests at events with assigned seating
- Provides an opportunity for individual expression
- Can be souvenirs for guests
Leaves a lasting impression—good, or otherwise!

Tina Giunta, CBA, of Shivoo Balloons in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, creates two fabulous complimentary centrepiece designs that work perfectly on this rectangular table.

Mixing Tall and Low Centrepieces - and those all important height rules.

There’s nothing worse than walking into a reception space that feels empty or under-decorated. Mixing short and tall centrepieces will help make a space feel vibrant and full.

For tall centrepieces, the added height helps to fill up a room. Just be careful to use them appropriately—you don’t want to block the line of sight for guests. You can put tall centrepieces on tables with less traffic (i.e., gift or buffet tables), or make sure guests can see through the centre of the design. Conversely, short centerpieces are great for accommodating conversation amongst the guests. You’ll want to make sure the centrepieces are low enough that seated guests can see over the top. As a general guideline, you’ll want to start your tall elements 24” (60.96 cm) from the table or higher, and 14" (35.56 cm) or lower is the maximum height for your short elements (the floral industry recommends a 12" height rule for a low centrepiece). When adding helium filled balloons to a centrepiece, ribbon is not considered a visual barrier; be sure to follow the 24" rule. Equally, when using products such as the Lomey Pedestal System or Plexipole, these also do not affect the visual line rule due to the fact that they are made from a clear perspex.

Centrepiece using the Lomey System

Don't Forget About the Shape of the Table

When designing centrepieces, you need to consider the shape of the tables at the venue. The most common shapes you’ll come across are round, square, and rectangular. Each shape will have its own considerations:
Round: This table suits a single centrepiece. You can definitely use tall centrepieces since the circular shape makes it easier to look around to the other guests. 

Square: Square tables have more space in the centre than other shapes. Design a more substantial arrangement to utilise this space and keep the table from looking empty.

Rectangular: A single centrepiece on a rectangular table will look lonely. Aim for multiple centrepieces (i.e., a larger middle centrepiece with smaller arrangements on each end). Keep them narrow to avoid crowding the table since you need to leave space for the place settings.

And remember that your centrepiece arrangement should be proportional to the size of the table.

The Design

When designing a centrepiece, we need to ensure that we create perfect harmony; ensuring that all the elements within the design give a sense of oneness or wholeness and that they look like they all belong together. Every element used should complement one and other and not compete for attention! 

To find out more about Unity and Harmony, check out my post - Part 6 Beginners Guide to the Elements and Principles of Design - Unity & Harmony

Fantasy Flower 
centrepiece design
by Sue Bowler, CBA.

If you would like to know more about Fantasy Flowers, check out my post - The Art of Fantasy Flowers.

I hope that some of you find this post helpful. I love to design and create centrepieces using different techniques and textures within my designs.  I would like to thank the very talented Tanya Joselowsky, Tina Giunta, and Cam Woody for allowing me to share their beautiful centrepiece designs with the Very Best Balloon Blog!

Happy Ballooning!


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

How Can I Find Training Courses as someone who is new to the Balloon Industry?

If you were to ask any seasoned professional what they would do differently if they started their balloon business again, you would find that most of them would have taken up training sooner. Balloon artistry is a creative skill, and there is so much more to it than you many think... but maybe you have already started to find that out?

Training Instructor TY Wong of Colour Life, Hong Kong

I know of a number of very successful balloon businesses who started their ballooning journeys in recent years offering only organic décor. They in their own words were 'self-taught'; however, as their businesses grew, so did their clients requests and it became evident that they needed to learn the true foundations of balloon artistry: Classic Balloon Decor. 

Rainbow Arch and Decor by Sue Bowler

Classic Balloon Decor is the foundation of balloon decorating. Foundations can be found in the early defining work of a discipline, and balloon decorating started with balloon garland arches, swags, columns and 'string of pearl' (SOP) arches.
Classic Balloon Decor is the starting blocks for ballooning, and almost all balloon artists/decorators start here! It's as basic as learning how to inflate balloons to a specific size, tying a duplet, twisting balloons into clusters as well as the art of adding balloons to line or framework! Once a decorator has these mastered, they can move onto more challenging projects! 

Decor by Sue Bowler

Classic Balloon Decor can be used in so many ways and for so many different types of events, including weddings, corporate decor or shopping malls; think large spaces where balloons can be used on large scale!
 It's not just about learning Class Balloon Decor techniques, it's also having a good understand of the elements and principles of design.

Creating the 'perfect' design is not something that just happens automatically, at least not for most of us anyway! There are a number of factors that make a 'perfect design', so let's take a look at what those factors are!

Elements of Design:

These are parts that make up the design, and you can either touch or see the elements of design. These include colour, line, shape and texture.

Principles of Design: 

The basic principles of design include unity, scale and proportion, balance, rhythm and harmony.

Applying these principles to the elements of a design brings them together into one cohesive idea. How you apply these principles determines how successful a design may be!

So you may be wondering ,how can you learn about these and where can you find training courses, especially during the pandemic?

It is true to say that the pandemic has definitely thrown a spanner into the works when it comes to face-to-face training courses! However, finding good training in many countries has always been difficult even during normal times. 

During the past few months, when many countries have been in lockdown, Qualatex has worked hard to bring training to the world-wide community in the form of webinars. To-date, there has been 10 webinars covering a wide variety of topics.

For anyone new to the balloon business, I would like to recommend: 

"Cooking with Cam & Eve - Ingredients for Success Part 1 - Qualatex Latex" as well as "Cooking with Cam & Eve - Ingredients for Success Part 2 - Qualatex Microfoil and Bubble Balloons."

I can even offer you a coupon code that will give you $5.00 off each of these courses!


Both of these videos in addition to other fabulous online classes from industry leading instructors are available to purchase and download from Qualatex Online Education at Vimeo - Click HERE for a direct link or go to

Can you learn from YouTube?

There are so many great tutorials available on YouTube, but for every quality video there is one that gives bad or ill-informed information You can easily learn really poor skills and techniques which is not a great way to start your ballooning career. I have used YouTube myself to learn how to make different styles of bows, and other non-balloon related techniques, so it's definitely not all bad. Just use discretion when browsing YouTube!

My advice to you would be to seek balloon artists whose styles and designs you like, and follow them on their Facebook and Instagram pages. If they have videos, which many do, then those are the ones that you want to watch.

Qualatex has their own YouTube channel - Q Corner, and I would certainly recommend that you check it out, as it is packed with many great tutorials and training videos - click HERE for a direct link or visit

If you would like to learn more about the elements and principles of design, and how it will help you with your balloon designs, I have written a number of blog posts that will help you greatly:

Part 4: Beginners Guide to the Elements & Principles of Design - Rhythm

And of course, don't forget to tune in to Happy Hour with Cam & Eve, you can find that on Mr Q's Facebook page LIVE every alternate Tuesday at 1pm CST. You will need to check your international clocks if you want to watch it live, or you can catch-up afterwards as they are all available to watch, all you have to do is visit Mr. Q Facebook Page and click on videos! 

I hope that this is helpful to you, and keep checking The Very Best Balloon Blog as it too is packed with great information and so many helpful resources! 

Happy Ballooning! 

Follow me @suebowler

Thursday, January 23, 2020

You are Never Too Old for a Balloon!

I wanted to share this short, but uplifting story with you! 

In 2019, a friend asked me if I could make a balloon arrangement for someone who was reaching the incredible age of 100 years old! 

After some careful consideration on what would be a balloon fit for a 100 year old, as well as deliberation towards the availability of space to accommodate it, I decide to make something small and compact. The arrangement also needed to be elegant, but fun - it is a balloon after all!

Personalisation was high on my list of importance, as reaching 100 years of age is no mean feat! For me, putting someone's name on a balloon lets the recipient know that they are an exceptional person with a very special occasion to celebrate!

One of my favourite styles of arrangements from last year was my air-filled board designs. Where the rest of the ballooning world is super-sizing their designs with fabulous giant fusion arrangements (which I love), my preference, especially on this occasion was for a design that was compact and neat. I used a large cake board for the base, which I covered with a stretched Microfoil balloon - you can learn this technique by clicking HERE or by referring to Tips and Tricks of the Trade - Part 2. I've noticed that using the same or a complimentary colour balloon for the base cover gives a sense of unity to the design as well as a mirror like reflective effect. I added a personalised air-filled 18" Microfoil® balloon to the base using Oasis Uglu™️ Dashes, and then added a selection of balloons inflated to a range of sizes, and finished the design by adding in a couple of silk roses heads and greenery - all carefully secured using Dashes.

The great thing about a design like this is that it's long-lasting, robust, and easy to transport.

The reason I am telling you this story is because Cath, the birthday girl, had never once received a balloon in her 100 years, and she absolutely loved it! She loved it so much that she took it away with her for her Birthday celebrations, and brought it back with her when she returned home a week later. She still has her balloon... quite a few weeks later now, and proudly displays it for everyone to see. 

This truly does prove that you are never too old to enjoy a balloon, and how much pleasure it can bring to someone! 

Happy Ballooning!

Sue Bowler

Monday, August 11, 2014

Part 1 Beginners Guide to the Elements and Principles of Design - Colour

Elements & Principles of Design

Creating the 'perfect' design is not something that just happens, well not for most of us anyway!  There are a number of factors that make it a perfect design, so lets take a look at what those factors are?

Elements of Design:
These are parts that make up the design, you can either touch or see the elements of design. These include colour, line, shape and texture.

Principles of Design: 
The basic principles of design include unity, proportion and scale, balance, rhythm and harmony.

By applying the principles to the elements of design brings them together into one design. How you apply these principles determines how successful a design may be!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Tope Abulude designed the 'Very Best Balloon Show on Earth' Costume Party!

I would like to start this blog by declaring that I am totally in awe and full of respect for all those who design and create amazing large sculptures and large scale decor for parties! The amount of pre-planning and work involved is incredible and should never be underestimated!

Many months ago, Qualatex threw down the gauntlet and sent out a Worldwide Challenge to balloon artists offering them the opportunity to create the party decor that "only dreams are made of," where the balloons are unlimited and you have a full staff to bring it all to life!

What an amazing opportunity, but how does someone even start to plan for a party such as this?

WBC 2012
Tope with Norma Roberts
10 years ago there was a young man from London, England called Tope Abulude, CBA of Balloon Inspirations, who did just that, and back then, he created the Medieval themed Thursday night costume Party at IBAC (International Balloon Arts Convention.)  I remember It well as I also worked on this party creating King & Queen "Dance floor Darlings."

Once again Tope rose to the challenge and was declared the winning designer to create this year Thursday night costume party at the World Balloon Convention 2012 -

'The Very Best Balloon Show on Earth'!

How do start the designing process for a party such as this Tope?

"The design process is usually the more interesting aspect for me...I approach room design (regardless of how big it is) like it's a big centrepiece design. Then I will treat each component like they are centrepieces in their own rights. It's always back to design basics for me. The elements and principles of design are my anchor, so using space, colour, line, form etc. and how these come together in unity, harmony, rhythm, proportion to each other to define the final whole of whatever project I work on. I think taking the time to understand these fundamentals of design, and the application is what makes the difference between a decorator and a designer in any art form.Once I had submitted my drawings, I decided I was going to enjoy the journey/process this time around".

Tope was asked to submit sketches to depict decor for the following areas of the party.

Detailed sketches of specific decor elements fitting the circus theme for each of these areas: 
1.        Entrance/foyer 
2.        Stage/backdrop, including sides of stage and video screens 
3.        Ceiling treatments (ceiling height: 17 feet) 
4.        Room perimeter/focal point decor 
5.        Table arrangements for buffets/centerpieces 
6.        Special effects 
7.        Photo backdrops 

Here are a few of Tope's original sketches!

Tope Abulude

Tope Abulude

Tope Abulude

Tope Abulude

How did this party differ from the one that you did 10 years ago?

"I overworked myself during the preparation and I couldn't enjoy the party 10 years ago, ( I didn't even bring my own costume to Chicago.) This time I paced myself better and I was more organised.

I focused on my strengths and I chose to delegate a lot more than I did 10 years ago.
I arrived in Dallas early to start work on the Monday. I took breaks when I needed, and I had a fantastic team around me and a good project manager."

Tope selected the Polka Dots & Dots Bubble (15608) to create his colour palette for the party!

Here are a few photographs from the early stages of prep...

WBC 2012

WBC 2012

WBC 2012

WBC 2012

Tope's amazing team at work!

WBC 2012

WBC 2012

WBC 2012
more Monkey's! 

WBC 2012

WBC 2012
Tope's awesome team!
The Party!
It's great to see that so many people dressed up! It really does create the best party atmosphere...

I asked some of the newly qualified CBA delegates from the World Balloon Convention to tell me some of their WBC highlights, as you can see the party featured very highly!

"The costume party. The decor by Tope was fun and rich and it was great to see everyone parting and just having a good time"!   -  Malachi Robinson CBA
"The Gala and Circus decorating was amazing"! -  Tracy Hawes CBA
"The WOW Factor of all the Decor, I have only seen in magazines and online - it was so much more impressive and the techniques were easier to comprehend". - Amanda Pierce CBA
"Circus theme party and Gala dinner where everyone dressed up for the occasion"! - Annabelle Claire Tan CBA
"Helping to build the decor for the special events". - Elaine Holmes CBA
"Blown away by the Circus theme, absolutely fantastic"! - John Brew CBA

WBC 2012
The awesome Clown entrance arches!!!

WBC 2012
The 'Big Top' and Clown Head...

WBC 2012
'Circus' Stage Wall

WBC 2012
Looking across the room

WBC 2012

WBC 2012
Room decor with the stage 'Circus' wall and some very cool lighting!

WBC 2012
Fantastic costumes!

WBC 2012
Guess who... this IS Ted & Betty Vlamis... looking great!

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tope Abulude and his amazing team, the decor and party was truly awesome. I would also like to thank Tope for sharing such great information, his early plans & details on how he worked to create yet another truly memorable event!

WBC 2012
Tope Abulude CBA,  Balloon Inspirations, London, UK
Tope has asked me to to add his own personal thanks to the following people: 

"I would like to thank contributing artists Cam Woody, Keith Stirman, Dom Cassidy, Connie Iden-Mounds, Dmitriy Tishenko, Andrey Osokin and David Debustos,  the WBC staff and Volunteers (too long a list to name) and it was a pleasure to work with Nick Otis (and his team) and LaDonna Belcher".

Before I started to write this blog, I truly wondered how you would even begin to start planning for an event on this scale? I would also have said that my own personal creativity comes in 'small, easy to handle packages', any bigger and I feel totally out of my comfort zone! However, I really liked how Tope says that he treats all his jobs like a big centrepiece design and builds each component of the decor in a similar way... wow, that really makes sense...hmm, maybe I could one day design decor on a large scale?

Well, I am off to 'BACI'-  Balloon Arts Convention Italy, where I will be making a large sculpture with 'Team Bowler'! I am hoping that they will have 'livecam' during the sculpture build again this year (Friday 20th April & Saturday 21st April), if they have, I'll make sure that I post it on the Qualatex Facebook Group page!

See you soon with some great new blogs!

Happy ballooning!