Please Critique Graffiti logo

vintagesignman's picture

I don't have any experience with graffiti. I googled some photos, and used some elements from a few to create a logo for my brother in-law. He lives in Phoenix, so there are quite a few graffiti artists in the area. He sells car audio equipment and accessories(rims, graphics, etc.) so his clients will know graffiti. Is there anything wrong with this logo, are there rules to graffiti?

jazzhustler's picture

Sorry no one has seen fit to post any comments so far. I'll just chip in with a few comments; First off, I'm not a grafitti artist either, but from what I have seen the letters you've used are a little too legible compared to proper 'NYC Subway grafitti' text. You definitely seem to be going in the right direction, but you've got to take a bit more of a chance with the design I'd say. To be honest, there are some great grafitti type fonts out there that you may be better off using as a starting point, then adapting it as you go along.
Also, in case you haven't done so already, just google for some ideas on grafitti. It always helps to see what is missing that's not immediately obvious, even when you know it's not quite right.

Good luck


vintagesignman's picture

I created the type, based on some googled images. I've tried to find a balance of something edgy but readable. Does it have to be legible? as it is a logo for a new company. I'm trying to balance between people who "are" and "know" with people who "want" and "try" to be. I don't want to turn any of his clients off/away.

Thanks for the reply.


cerulean's picture

First off, I'm not quite sure if it says "rounded" or "pounded".

The big graffiti you're trying to emulate here usually has an area-filling sort of uncial quality that would seldom even start to resemble a proper lowercase. Ascenders and descenders, when they exist, would bend into an arrow or something that fills the space created over and under the other letters.

Most importantly, graffiti style is extremely gestural. It is born of waving a spray can around unguided. The "by 3sixty" part looks authentic, but the main mark is simply too rigid. Even the angular styles are a lot looser; wherever you have a perfectly vertical line, try to think of ways it could deliberately slouch one way or another.

russellm's picture

For an example:


Lex Kominek's picture

If I wanted a graffiti logo, I would hire an experienced (local) graffiti artist to draw it for me. People who know graffiti can easily spot a fake.

- Lex

elemcee's picture

Let me start by saying: There ARE rules to write by. For more on this watch "INFAMY" a good graff doc.

Lex is right, I myself am a graff artist turned designer and there is nothing we [writers] hate more than someone trying to hi-jack our culture. Furthermore, most of the writers you find out there will say "it belongs in the streets not in a magazine." But it's inevitable, plus graphic design will save us all after we get arrested too many times.

So with that being said, Your letters look ok but you're kind of straddling two tradional handstyles which is why it probly doesn't FEEL authentic . Contrary to what Cerulean has to say it doesn't have to be super flowy and smooth, some of the illest styles are just simple block letters; rigid as hell!

Right now your caught between fat block and butter letters. It either needs to be more squared-off or be more fluid; your choice. I'd also say that you need to add some 3d perspective (see above photo), nothing too complex but it will go a long way toward making it look authentic and more polished. If you use indesign put on a drop shadow (color of your choice) make the shadow size pretty large and then crank the spread and opacity all the way up then mess with the angle. Without a 3d drop its just a burner! Thats how it gets down. Even if your demo is not strictly Graff writers you should try and do our culture justice, otherwise you're client will get no respect from the people they are trying to emulate. Keep it right not wrong.

P.S. excuse the essay but this is my wheelhouse baby! -ONE

Joe Pemberton's picture

Lex is right.

Make your target audience wish they got the commission, or wonder who the artist is, instead of calling you out as a faker.

Consider creating a reference to grafitti that is not a logo. Consider painting the entire facade of the building in graffiti, but having a logotype that contrasts it, and is readable.

The best example is Ape Do Good, a printer in SF. No I'm not saying this is graffiti, but it has the same street-cred without the cliché.

Ape Do Good

elemcee's picture

thats not graff, thats a mural. Are you trying to confuse the kid?

goldfishSarah's picture

I also agree with Lee, Lex & Joe about hiring a real graf artist to do the logo. You either can or you can't. There's no faking it.

However - if you are going to do the logo yourself, I absolutely agree with Joe, that you have to reference graffiti in a way that doesn't try to simply copy it. If you look beyond graffiti style, it can be looked at as a certain approach to typography. A more honest approach. Have your brother-in-law just write his company name in his own handwriting.

If you simply must have the graffiti style look, the one thing your logo is missing is connectivity. There's no continuation or flow between letters or any of it, really. None of the letters relate to each other, visually. Until you get that part of it right - it'll never look real.

wstd tlnt's picture

This post is super late but just in case you still haven't sorted this out...

You could also throw an ad up on craigslist for just the sketch. You'd be surprised how many writers are trying to start getting paid for it even if it's next to nothing. This could get you half or more of the way there.

As far as doing it yourself, i agree with gfs and lee. My only suggestion would be to simplify it first. The foundation is the hand style which is simply writing the word. If you don't have any hand style then it doesn't matter how many bells and whistles (arrows, 3D etc.) you lace on top to try and make it "graffiti", it still wont hold up.

Forget color, arrows, 3d and just practise tagging the word, this is where the flow and overall composition will come. Once your happy with that, then start adding some weight to the letters and turn it into a throw up and then a burner if need be. If your dealing with a logo that has to be easily read, i would definitely keep it on the simple side.
Try image googling "Graffiti hand style, Graffiti throw ups and Graffiti burners"

Hope this helps.

FRESH PAINT's picture

just arrived here after searching for graffiti logo in google.
I just wanted to add a few words to the subject.
It's not about sketching it's about writing.
The tag or Hand style is important as it helps to work on the letter structure.
Also it's important to work on the empty spaces in between the letters.

For more info please check the graffiti workshop tutorial up at
Hope this help.

AlexanderKatt's picture

better hire a graffiti artist

Syndicate content Syndicate content