Mosaic has been a popular material for decorative purposes since Roman times. While it is possible to use broken or specially cut pieces in order to create any desired pattern, perhaps it is more interesting when used 'as bought'. In both of these examples from California, the inflexibility of the material creates unexpected letterforms. The 'E' is at the entrance to a shopping mall. The name, 'Valencia Town Center', is spaced around a large circle with no single character square to the grid. Although starting life as characters from a standard typeface, the colour, material, and effect of the grid on each letter's form makes them far more interesting.

In the shop doorway 'Olive' from Los Angeles, the mosaic is constructed from more unusual hexagonal tiles. Their shape has made a succession of upright letterforms difficult and this has been fully exploited.