The Art & Science of Design


“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

– Steve Jobs

When we set about to create this issue, we wanted to know how science informs creativity and design. To answer that question, our editors sought out designers who had made a serious life choice: Changing careers later in life. I made that decision myself. At the age of 50, I decided to enter the publishing business by purchasing Florists’ Review. My life experience up to this point informed my decision to make that change, and it continues to shape how I build and change the company. So how does moving from the sciences to floral design shape a designer’s perspective?

To find out, we set out to talk to designers who were once scientists, mathematicians, engineers, etc. In that quest, we were surprised to find many designers had earlier careers in the sciences. So many in fact, that it was difficult to choose which ones to interview.

The Art and Science of DesignWhy did so many of them make this difficult shift? That was a far more complex question. Each individual answered in unique ways, but the bottom line for many of them was that they made the decision in order to pursue a creative career. In that search for a creative outlet, they were introduced to floral design through friends and family.

Once they made the shift, they were often surprised by how much of their scientific backgrounds were represented in their floral work. They were clearly inspired by earlier disciplines to create works that mimicked architecture, biology, math, etc. In fact, the use of science created a unique rhythm to their work that others without similar training might never see.

Besides being informed by science, we were also interested in late-life career change. Why would someone in the high-paying world of science and technology opt for a less-secure jump to floral design? Does following your heart really pay off? Is the old adage “Do what you love, and the money will follow” still true?

For our group, that seems to be the case. These designers are following their heart and their love of creativity mixed with science to make something utterly new and unique. And we’re the lucky ones who get to see and experience the results of that love. I hope you find inspiration in this issue. I know it was a good reminder of why I followed my love of publishing and flowers to this amazing new career that I get to experience along with each of you.

The Art and Science of Design