Plural form of Graffito, Misused as the name for a popular urban art form that began sometime around the 40's and obtained a cultural rebirth around the 70's. Most often characterized as vandalism due to its misunderstood nature and its Latin origin, Graffito, meaning scratched, or to scratch. Graffiti is an art form in which a name, or idea is expressed through the application of a type of media to a surface, or the removal of said surface through a subtractive process, (i.e. to scratch a surface using a sharp instrument). A graffiti writer usually has one necessity, to get up. Using a Tag, a nickname or moniker, A Graffiti Writer will usually try to go “all city” placing his name all over a city, in the hopes of becoming a king; a well known practitioner of graffiti.

There are 4 main types of graffiti: tags, labels, throw ups, and pieces. Tags are the usual and most widely recognized form from which the association with vandalism came. A tag is a simple one color rendering of a graffiti writers nickname or moniker written with a marker or painted with a spray can. There are hundreds of variations of the tag in use today, from the simple to the very complex. Most people cannot read the messages as they are written in a style that is often difficult for non-graffiti writers to understand.
A label is usually a tag written on a paper label or other material with an adhesive backing so that it may be placed upon a surface at a later time. This is the graffiti writer’s ammunition. Using labels can become the quickest way to put your tag all over. A label can be a simple "hello, my name is" nametag label, to a complicated multi-sectioned construction several feet wide. Often a writer will sit for hours crafting an arsenal of labels to later be used while he is out and about. A quick movement of the hand is all that is required to apply these to an object such as a mailbox, for maximum visibility.

Throw-ups are a quick, usually two-color rendering of the writers nickname. Painted quickly the name is derived, literally from "throwing up" something expelled quickly. A throw-up is rendered as a quick fill of color called a fill-in, which is then outlined in a contrasting tone for readability. Sometimes a throw-up can be an initialed form of the writers tag. A throw-up may contain more than just two colors.

A Piece is a more complex type of graffiti often painted when there is time to construct from a design drawn as a sketch beforehand. Short for "Masterpiece" a piece begins as a drawing in a writers Blackbook, a name for a sketchbook where drawings of pieces are kept. A writer will crudely render a piece as a series of lines on a surface to guide him in creating the fill-in for the piece. The writer will then fill in the areas of this crude sketch with color to block out the various aspects of his piece. A writer may work shapes, symbols, and designs into this fill-in. They may also opt to add clouds of color around the piece to set it off the background or a 3d effect to further heighten the aesthetics of the piece. After the fill-in is finished a writer will begin to outline the piece in a color. The color combinations are usually worked out as the original sketch is being created. The writer may choose to add a character, a cartoon, or realistic rendering of a person, animal, or object that will also add visual appeal to the piece.

a lesser known type of graffiti is scratching, or scratchitti, in which a graffiti writer uses a sharp instrument such as a diamond tipped scribe, to scratch a tag into a surface such as a glass pane or mirror. A piece of sandpaper may also be used for this type of scratching since it can create a wider swath on a surface such as sheet metal. Other types of graffiti such a painting with a paint roller to apply larger quantities of paint to a large surface are also practiced.

The destruction of a tag, also known as “crossing out” is a sign of disrespect. This is usually done by painting a line through the tag or completely covering it with a throw up, followed by a message. A writer who has a problem with another writer, usually some juvenile argument, will deliberately attempt to remove another writers tags through this method. Other writers see this as childish and stupid, since it is probably the fastest way to make enemies, known as “catching beef” and graffiti writers already have plenty of resistance from police, homeowners, and public works.