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Different types of Graffiti styles

Updated on June 14, 2012

Graffiti, art or vandalism

Graffiti is a generic term which, like religion, can be seen in both a good and a bad light. This all depends on the artists intent when inception of the creation had taken place. I am a strong believer that graffiti can be both art and vandalism depending on the intent of the artists or vandal. In spite of this view I hope to collate data using the poll on the right to get the view of the public.

The biggest question to surround graffiti!

Is graffiti art or vandalism?

See results

What are the different types of graffiti?

We have already established that graffiti is generic and so is a container of varying forms, styles, uses and subsequently, their own names. Each of which are recognised in cities all over the world.

In the art world, those who appreciate art more than others are those who are educated enough to understand the art form, its artist and thus understand the art form in front of them. The same goes for graffiti, the ability to identify the graffiti style allows the viewer to understand the artist and their motivation in the creation scrawled, painted, etched or stenciled on/in the medium they have chosen.

They include:

Hip Hop Graffiti

Hip hop graffitists create 'pieces'. Pieces are large and colourful work created by aerosol spray paints, usually including either a complex mix of letters or a cartoon-style picture. This type of graffiti often takes an extended period of time and much thought and planning has gone into the design.

The photo below shows a very typical example of this style mixing real life and cartoon characters with a flamboyant and colourful 'piece'. This particular piece is renowned for use as memorial 'pieces' which would be created to help keep the memory of a lost loved one forever alive. Many deceased rappers have been painted this way.

A typical example of Hip-hop graffiti

The sharp interlacing letters are sprayed in front of an imalgamation of real life and cartoon characters.  This is a typical 'piece' depicting Hip-hop graffiti
The sharp interlacing letters are sprayed in front of an imalgamation of real life and cartoon characters. This is a typical 'piece' depicting Hip-hop graffiti


The appending of "hammertime" has been copied all over America.  Although simple, it has the ability to make any individual stop, stare and smile.
The appending of "hammertime" has been copied all over America. Although simple, it has the ability to make any individual stop, stare and smile.

Opportunistic Graffiti

Opportunistic graffitists select the location for their graffiti impulsively, on the basis of low risk and low natural surveillance. Opportunistic graffitists can use "tags" or "scrawling" to mark their territory. There is usually a limited use of creative painting due to the quick impulsive opportunity, however, words are sometimes cleverly used especially when prepended or appended to signs.

The photo shows a typical example of an individual who, although may lack creative flair when wielding spray paint, has obviously a quick thinking mind cultured mind.

3D graffiti

3D graffiti is a relatively new movement and more associated with public art and advertising then border line vandalism. The likes of T-Mobile, Coca-Cola and Sony have all hired 3d street artists to help sell and advertise their products. The realism and accurate spacial awareness of these 'pieces' are reliant on the background and medium used and chosen by the artist.

Gang Taggers

Gang taggers use "tags" or "scrawling" to mark territory, create notoriety or show off their defiance of the law and society. Gangs use this form of graffiti as a mode of marking their presence. Gang taggers may plan their graffiti or do it impulsively.

Political & Social Graffiti

Some graffiti is racially or politically motivated. This is not widely regarded as part of the graffiti subculture, but still causes damage to property. The work of Banksy very much follows political and social graffiti movement.

Commercial Graffiti

Commercial graffiti is an emerging civic problem. Commercial graffiti occurs where private organisations pay graffitists to spray advertising logos onto walkways and buildings, in order to promote their product. Commercial graffiti is an illegal form of advertising that circumvents normal planning laws.


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    • Vimural profile image

      Vimural 4 years ago from Tucson

      The many wonders of graffiti! Love the hub!

    • profile image

      kane 4 years ago

      graffiti is really cool i just learned how to do it

    • profile image

      BananaBoat 5 years ago

      I like bananas

    • profile image

      sweetblood134 5 years ago

      I think it depends on what its saying. I think that once it starts to turn to swearing and just a signature without any meaning is making the community ugly BUT if they express themselves in artistic way then its art

    • profile image

      abdul 5 years ago

      GRAFFITI! is bad

    • profile image

      dullyyy 5 years ago

      graffiti is bear sick

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 5 years ago from Oregon

      I have always been a big fan of graffiti as an art when done well. When someone just tags on the wall or stop sign or some business it is just vandalism, but a huge mural on a derelict building is a great canvas for art in my opinion.

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      Tina 5 years ago

      Im doing an essay on this and it is really helpful :)

    • profile image

      Person 5 years ago

      Im doing a project on this :P

    • katyzzz profile image

      katyzzz 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      More vandalism than art I'd say, top exception being Bansky

    • profile image

      pipiman 5 years ago

      this is my pipi

    • profile image

      $$$DJ$$ MC Dazzle!!!!!! 5 years ago

      Loziez, I'd love me a potato

    • profile image

      qwerty 5 years ago


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      Bobby 5 years ago

      Hello :)

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      rosey 5 years ago

      hi guys

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      Debbie 5 years ago

      Hi Peter, what you up to on the weekend?

    • profile image

      Peter 5 years ago

      Hi Debbie

    • profile image

      Debbie 5 years ago

      Hi I'm Debbie

    • profile image

      brenda:) 6 years ago

      i like graffitti:)

    • profile image

      Ty 6 years ago

      Good advice