If in a simple and old technical definition, ceramic means fired mud, but from an aesthetic viewpoint, it is a harmonious composition of color, form and dimension which realize the meaning of ceramic and ceramic tiles. Application of pattern and color in the production of ceramic parts specially for covering interior walls, ceilings and façade of buildings goes back to more than 1000 years ago. In previous centuries, Iranians have been the pioneers of this field in such an extend that some time they had no competitor, so that artistic masterpieces of tile production and tiling, remaining from past ages, still attract the visitors to the accuracy, tenderness, innovation and just in a word art creation of the makers.
Production of ceramic products by using colored glaze, in glaze or on glaze, outstanding geometrical patterns, flower, bush, bird, line and… and harmonious and appropriate application of such products on flat, angled and curved walls indicate the accurate technical insight of Iranian tile makers in past centuries. Whereas, such products still catch visitors' eyes for the beauty and decoration of building and transmission and design of cultural concepts of their era and in technical and qualitative terms, the secrecy of their production and materials used for their formation, bisque firing, glaze and colors have not been discovered yet and technical insight and progress of Iranian artistic craftsmen in that age is manifested clearly. Henceforth, it can be claimed that utilization of tile in buildings by our successors, is not limited to building decoration; on contrary, they are remarkable and thinking-worthy for their technology, industry and transmission of cultural and historical load, even sometimes more than their decorative aspect.
During the time, along with the provision of conditions which resulted in Renascence and industrial revolution in Europe, domination of this continent in different aspects of science and technology started and ceramic tile industry naturally underwent such situation and Europeans achieved remarkable technologic progress day by day, so that we see some European countries like Germany and Italy are distinguished in the field of ceramic tiles and related technology. Toward this movement and through wide and various application of ceramic tiles in the buildings either residential or non-residential, Europeans took necessary action for producing decorative tiles which are decorated and completed in different processes such as third firing or fourth firing. While, that part of Iranian decorative tiles known as traditional tiles (although they are decorated in 3rd and 4th processes, too) continued their life in the same confined scope of consumption only for ceilings, mosques' walls, cupolas, inscriptions and Hoz
Khaneh-ha and sometimes in some parts of modern architecture.
As of one decade ago, coincided with the commissioning of modern ceramic tile factories of Iran which technology had been imported mostly from Italy, need for decorative ceramic tiles to complete interior or exterior tiled surfaces has been sensible and parallel to wide changes in the consumption of ceramic tiles in Iran either in terms of variety, size and quality of products or the manner of their consumption in construction industry, such as design and arrangement to meet the satisfaction and desire of consumers, the necessity for producing modern decorative tiles was highlighted. Such a necessity had imposed itself to ceramic tile and construction industries of developed countries one or two decades ago, as an integral part of ceramic tile consumption.
On the basis of this necessity, a part of ceramic tile industry of Iran was dedicated to some producers who have small facilities and use parts of ceramic tiles (first and second firings) produced by modern factories and then they produce decorative ceramic parts (third firing) such as border or single and tableau with inspiration from the said traditional ceramic tile approach. As a matter of fact and in spite of all their confinement of facilities, they not only succeeded in creating complementary products symmetrical with the products of modern factories, but also they play a great role in creation of a new culture for ceramic tiles consumption. So that, nowadays, consumption of border and single in various patterns and designs is practically necessary in construction industry.
Along with daily increase of the quality and quantity of ceramic tiles production technology in terms of dimensions, bisque quality, glazing and variety of designs, main manufacturers of the machinery of ceramic tiles production, specially German, Italian and Spanish industries, with a rapid progress, provided facilities and possibilities required for mass production of decorative ceramic products used in buildings and special tiles for stairs, corners, angles, cornices and … and developed them.
At the end, it can be said that although the role of advanced technology and appropriate raw materials in production of decorative ceramic tiles is inevitable, color, pattern, form and innovative and eye-catching dimensions of products play final role in meeting aesthetic needs of consumers.