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A History of Modern Graffiti Typefaces

by: Raseone - Updated 04/17/2024


This study seeks to chronicle the history & development of graffiti style typefaces in the digital age. Starting in late 1960s America, the modern art form of graffiti has had a tremendous impact on many aspects of art design & culture worldwide. In this article we will focus specifically on the emergence of graffiti into the world of mechanical typography. Given its place in history this means digital typefaces specifically.

This study is a living document compiled mainly from primary sources, over the course of several years. The first draft was written in 2008. Several major updates and expansions have been added since. The information in this article is sourced from books, magazine & newspaper articles ranging from 1969 to present as well as documentary films, news reports, web sites & more. Most importantly, much of the information in this article is sourced from interviews and communications with the graffiti writers & type developers who designed the first typefaces in this genre as well as from my own first hand experience as a graffiti writer since 1989, a graphic designer since 1992, a type developer since 1999 & the founder of the Graffiti Fonts® collection, the first, longest running collection of such work.

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