I this article, you will find a list of the most popular styles of graffiti with examples and descriptions.
In the context of graffiti, „tags“ stands for one-colored signatures (pseudonyms) of graffiti writers.
Decorative elements like stars, drips, arrows and/or splashes may be added to it. For more infos, check out this article.
In urban areas, you will probably find lots of graffiti tags with low quality. The one’s with a unique form and the biggest spread will be remembered.
Handstyles are artistically done graffiti tags.
Letters in simple style basically look like normal letters. The composition is not complex. Hence, they are easily readable. Colors and effects matter the most in simple style graffiti.
Graffiti in bubble-style – a sub-category of “simple style” -look like they have been blown up with air. All edges are round. They do not leave plenty of scope for variation and creativity. Read this article, if you want to learn how to draw graffiti letters in bubble style.
Also a sub-category of “simple style”. The principles of “simple style” apply to “silver style” as well. Except the color of the fill-in, as the name of this style already implies, has to be silver.
Semi-wildstyle graffiti are more complex than simple style. Letters are arranged in a more elaborate way and style elements are added.
The letters of wild style graffiti are very abstract and cannot be identified as letters easily. Lots of style elements, like arrows and big serifs are added to the letters and make the composition very complex. The shadows of the letters fill the spaces between the letters and make the whole piece look compact.
Example of graffiti wild styles
Graffiti pieces with very three-dimensional compositions are called 3D-style graffiti. As a result, the letters (can) have different vanishing points and optical illusions. “Daim” is probably the most popular artist focusing on 3D-style.
Stencil (pochoir) graffiti
Stencil graffiti, as the name already implies, are usually created with a stencil and black coloring. The French word for stencil “pochoir” is not commonly used for this technique, despite stencil graffiti have their roots in France. The french graffiti artist “blek le rat” is considered as the stencil prioneer. He is the first one who used it as his main style. Above all, Banksy is the most popular representative of this technique.
„Character“ is an abbreviation of “cartoon character”. They are usually painted next to a graffiti to create a scenario around the graffiti piece. Even so, some artists decide to just focus on characters. Copying characters (from cartoons) is usually accepted, because they are only used as decorative elements. If the graffiti artist decides to focus on characters only, it is needed to bring in his/her own creativity though.
In contrast to graffiti, streetart focuses on figurative art and not on creative lettering. Thus, “stencils” and “characters” can be considered as sub-categories of streetart. Photorealistic images are the most sophisticated form of streetart.
Wrapping it up
I hope this overview of modern graffiti styles helped you in your creative journey!
Is there something we forgot to mention or do you have a specific question in mind?
Feel free to drop a comment below!
- Das große Graffiti-Lexikon – Bernhard van Treeck
- Graffiti: Kunst aus der Dose – Thorsten Will