A Guide to Graffiti Word Art: The Different Styles

A Guide to Graffiti Word Art: The Different Styles

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A Guide to Graffiti Word Art: The Different Styles

A Guide to Graffiti Word Art: The Different Styles

Once frowned upon and classified solely as a criminal act associated with crime and gangs, graffiti has come a long way over the decades. More and more people now appreciate the culture, styles, and message behind graffiti word art.

In this blog, we will be exploring the different styles of graffiti word art. You should recognise many of the graffiti styles as you will have experienced many of them in different cities, so read on to learn more.


Introduction to Graffiti

Graffiti is an artwork style that is created in public areas. It is usually painted on walls and other surfaces.

Graffiti art has developed over time and was originally done illegally, often to portray messages about status, to establish a reputation as an individual or gang in certain areas, or to express topics of politics, emotion, and self-expression.

Graffiti has always been intended for public viewing; back in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, graffiti was frowned upon and seen as an act of vandalism and therefore a criminal offence.

Locations, where graffiti was present were often associated with other types of crime and were therefore viewed negatively, and the artwork received a bad reputation in local areas.

These days, since the rise in popularity of graffiti and street art in the 1990s and early 2000s. Graffiti is seen in a more positive light and recognised as its own art form. It brings boldness, brightness, and colour to an area and even boosts the community and local economies. Heavy graffitied areas are even popular tourist attractions in many cities across the world.


The Different Graffiti Word Art Styles

Graffiti has come a long way in a relatively short space of time. Here we will look into the different styles of graffiti and graffiti word art.



Tag graffiti is where graffiti art started. This is the simplest form of graffiti and is used to establish status in an area or mark territory.

A tag in graffiti is a name, nickname, or symbol marked most commonly in spray paint in multiple areas. Some of the graffiti tag artists include the likes of TAKI 183 and Cornbread, these were some of the earliest taggers in New York City, and their work covered the New York subway system.

Tagging is probably the most commonly found graffiti type. It is seen as disrespectful to tag over an existing artist’s tag, and tags can be strategically placed.



Throw-ups, otherwise known as ‘throwie’, are a type of graffiti word art that is an elevated form of tagging. This art has the same reason behind it but is created with bubble-style writing and incorporates more colours than basic tagging too.

A throw-up generally consists of a colour bubble outline with a fill colour. Throw-ups are also very common, like tags, and tag artists usually progress onto the throw-up style for a more elaborate and eye-catching version of their tag.

Throw-ups are a quick and simple way of creating a large-scale mark on a surface. Lots of examples of throwies can be found on the streets of Chicago.



Blockbuster is a larger-scale graffiti word art type. They are essentially large murals of letters that are painted over a large surface area of a wall. The blockbuster graffiti style aims to cover as much wall space as possible in a short time. They are sometimes completed with paint rollers instead of traditional spray paint, as the surface area is much larger.

The lettering in blockbuster style is usually block-style lettering. The paint rollers that are often used to create this graffiti style can help create angles on the letters, which makes it easier to achieve while also saving the artist time.



Wildstyle graffiti lettering is one of the most elaborate and advanced styles of graffiti word art. The lettering in wildstyle graffiti is so advanced that it makes it very difficult for the standard person to read. It contains many complex and intricate letters, spikes, arrows, and flares, featuring interlocking elements and many sharp edges that usually only other graffiti artists are able to read.

Like the blockbuster style, this style is done on a large scale and is very eye-catching. The decorative elements in this style merge together, and this style often includes bright colours too.



Heaven-spot or ‘heaven’ in graffiti refers to graffiti that has been done, usually somewhere high up and hard to reach and get to.

This style depicts daredevil behaviour, as the locations are often highly dangerous. The name of it comes from the fact that if you fall while attempting to create this graffiti, you are going straight to heaven.

Locations for heaven-spot graffiti can include the tops of high buildings, rooftops, overpasses, and road signs. These high-up spaces also make the artwork extremely difficult to remove.

Due to the danger attached to heaven-spot graffiti, it gains credibility from other graffiti artists.



Stencil graffiti is a type that requires a stencil. It is made out of cardboard or other media that is then held against a wall and spray painted. This is a quick way of forming an image with clean lines and an effective payoff.

Stencil-style graffiti has made the biggest impact in bringing graffiti into the mainstream art world. The infamous Banksy has a huge part to play in this shift, as he gained fame from his stencil-style graffiti.

Stencilling is a great way of transmitting a message and often portrays imagery of a political nature.



Poster style, otherwise known as ‘paste up’, is a poster that is made at home and pasted up onto a wall. This method can be done quickly and easily.

A mixture of usually wheat flour and water is made for the paste; it acts as a very strong glue, which makes posters very hard to remove. This type is more recognised as street art than graffiti, as it moves away from lettering and more into imagery.



Stickers are used as a simple way of spreading a message and establishing status in a location.

Stickers can even be used in replacement for tags, and some artists even draw their tags onto stickers and use the stickers instead, placing them around different areas in a community to establish the same effect as tagging.

Stickers style can also be known as ‘slap’ and artists can include elaborate designs as well as simple ones too.

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