Made of tiles, this typeface captures the essence of Mediterranean interior design

From the Spanish studio®, the ornate and classic Rajola® display typeface is perfect for posters.

13 September 2023

What do you see when you think of Mediterranean architecture and interiors? White buildings, plant-filled porches, long balconies and (we bet) tiled floors. The geometric stone flooring is a mainstay of the extended coastline, its cool composition making it perfect for the heat. But not only used for their practicality, tiles have a rich visual history, the potential they hold for variation with colour and shape making them a celebrated design feature. Aware of their beauty and history, the Valencian creative outfit® decided to use tiles to create its newest display font, Rajola®.

Rajola® saw its beginnings in another project, when the studio had been enlisted to make a typographic poster about Valencia – the only guideline was that the word Valencia had to be included. From the get-go, the studio’s two members, Paloma and Luismi, knew that they wanted the lettering to be composed of something directly related to Valencia and initially they veered toward flowers – a fitting choice considering carnations are an iconic symbol of the city. Fairly quickly, they realised such a task would bring them way over budget, and so the pair sought something more graphically feasible. Then, through their many hours of research they came across images of the tiled floors that you can often find in houses on the Mediterranean coast.

Above®: Rajola® (Copyright ©®, 2023)

Due to their straight edges, tiles proved the perfect symbol – each one existing as a single pixel and easily fitting into a grid-like format. Paloma and Luismi identified that, within these tiled floorings, type had sometimes been included, though with what they saw as a “modern finish”. Instead, the pair wanted something with an “old, classic and traditional feel”. To achieve this, they opted for an ornamental font with angular serifs formed by creating a specific layered pattern with the tiles.

After completing the poster with the words ‘Valencia es la tierra de las flores’ (a nod to the city’s anthem) the pair couldn’t leave the letters behind in the commissioned project, and challenged themselves to make the full alphabet. “We felt that creating the full typeface was truly how we would pay homage to this traditional element of Mediterranean interior design,” Paloma says. In one iteration of the font the shapes are blocked out, leaving only the suggestion of its tiled composition, whereas in another the tiles are distinct pixels, creating a more ornate and experimental look, clearly expressing the tile motif.

Paloma and Luismi are keen to impress that Rajola® is very much a display font, best used in sparingly and in short form – making it perfect for poster design and elements of branding. Being a multi-disciplinary studio that works across design and photography, to present the font, the duo paired the font on posters with their own analog photography of architecture and interiors, drawing the parallels between the Rajola® font and the sun-soaked spaces you might just find examples of its inspiration.®: Rajola® (Copyright ©®, 2023)

Hero Header®: Rajola® (Copyright ©®, 2023)

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About the Author

Olivia Hingley

Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.

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