Controlled Vocabulary

A controlled vocabulary is important for metadata creation. So I turned to various sources for more information on graffiti.

The main source I turned to when creating categories was FatCap:

I found many of the definitions of these terms using:

This website organizes graffiti by type, support, and style. I used their terminology for these 3 categories in order to keep it consistent with the terminology of the graffiti community.

Here are the terms defined by category:


Throw ups: The Throw up is also known as a “fill-in,” or “throwie” which is normally painted very quickly with two or three colors, sacrificing aesthetics for speed. Throw-ups can also be outlined on a surface with one color. It sits a tag and a piece in terms of complexity and time investment.

Street Art: In the street art category you’ll find stencils, stickers, wheatpastes, classical mural paint brush, fake ads and urban furniture hijacks.

Character: A character can be a human, monster, superhero, animal, chimera, cartoon, portrait or anything whitout letter which form came from the artist’s mind.

Piece: The piece is the global form of graffiti. A piece is a more elaborate representation of the artist’s name, incorporating more stylized and artistic form of letters, using three or more colors. This of course is done at the expense of timeliness.

Big Walls:Big walls are huge painting of several artists. Usually it tells a story, the background folows a same logic. In a big wall you can see pieces, characters, landscape, wildstyle…

Tag: A tag is the most basic writing of an artist’s name in either spray paint or marker. A graffiti writer’s tag is his or her personalized signature. It’s by far the most common form of graffiti. The tag is a stylized signature, done in one color.

Silver: Silver is a type of graffiti realised with one main colour: Silver. It’s a basic piece for vandal writers.

Sketch: A sketch is a rapid or elaborate drawing on paper. It can be black and white or colored, representing characters, landscape or letters.


3D: We don’t need to explain what is the third dimension. 3D style in graffiti is about reality, illusion, shadow… and magic. Though it’s a complicated graffiti technique, it has an amazing visual effect.

Wildstyle: The wild style graffiti is a form of graffiti involving, interlocking letters, arrows, and connecting points. These pieces are often harder to read by non-graffiti artists as the letters merge into one another in an often undecipherable manner. It may include arrows, spikes, and other decorative elements depending on the technique used. The letters have been so transformed as to be rendered arcane to the eyes of non-graffiti artists. Wild Style is, according to many, the Queen discipline of the New York graffiti, the purest graffiti letters style that deserve most consideration.

Bubble: A style of graffiti letters often used for throwup letters because of their rounded shape, which allows for quick formation. Phase2 originally created this style. It’s about bubble, and circular letters.

Brush: Brush and paint roller painting.

Abstract graffiti: The readability of the piece is not the main goal. It’s abstract urban art.

Block: This graffiti style is all about square and rectangular letters, like a solid rock. This style makes the letters heavy and strong.

Landscape: Any type of landscape. It can be the background of a graffiti piece, of a fresco or a character.

Hardcore: Violent vandal tags, throw up, pieces. This style is for the drips, the acid, the dirt, the hardcore violent graffiti.

Fat Cap: Tags, throw ups, lines realised with the biggest cap, the Fat cap. The Fat cap create the largest lines with spray cans.

Realistic: Realistic character, background or landscape.

Stencil: Stencil paintings.

Cartoon: Comics, cartoon or surrealistic painting.

Sharp: Sharp letter style. The letters must have sharp points, and look like you’ll cut yourself if you touch it.


Walls: The basic graffiti support. It can be dirty, clean, high, low, cement wall or brick wall.

Trucks: Another moving support. Your art rolling through the city.

Trains: The most wanted graffiti support. Train makes your piece alive, moving across the city.

Tunnels: Train or highway tunnels. This support also includes pieces realized in a train station or near the tracks.

Shops: Shop front, doors, portals, gates or Iron curtains.

Rooftops: Rooftops provide a high visibility to the graffiti piece. It’s the highest support under the sky.

Inside: Graffiti Inside supports. It can be a wall inside a house, a disused building, house furnitures or any support that is not outside.

Canvas: The classic support for painting.

Body Painting: The smoothest support. Human body either men or women.

Blackbook: The original graffiti sketches support. It’s the writer personal book of art.

Street Equipment: Any street furniture. Signs, Mailbox, trash, stick, gate, wire fence, sewer…

Wholecar: Obviously a graffiti covering a whole train car. From the right to the left, from top to bottom.






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