While graffiti art & lettering itself had long-since reached a point of tremendous sophistication, the first typefaces to emerge in this genre were mostly very primative, both stylistically & technically. Mirroring the early development of graffiti itself, there is a period in the emergence of graffiti style fonts, sort of a prehistory, in which this new presence was entering the scene but had yet to find it's legs. Durring this period, the first handful of graffiti style fonts unconciously replay the days of the late 60's & early 70's before tags, throws & wildstyles. With characteristics of graffiti & an intent to emulate this modern art form these prehistoric graffiti typefaces begin to emerge in the mid to late 1990's, barely recognizable as graffiti by the sophisticated, modern standards of the time. Before more authentic or advanced graffiti type styles were developed these graffiti-ish fonts were commonly used to emulate the basic feel of modern graffiti lettering.
In 1999 we begin to see the development of more authentic, more sophisticated graffiti typefaces & fonts created by actual writers. Here practicality begins taking a backseat to authenticity. Many of these early faces are more graffiti than font. Like the tags, throws & pieces on the streets legibility to untrained eyes is not a primary concern. While many of these early faces are still very limited by digital type standards we start to see very clean vector paths more robust character sets & the emergence of true innovations in type design.
2000 - Chuck Davis (Siner), Letterhead Fonts - Def Artists Crew Released 08/14/2000, A layered type system, designed by the inventor of the layered type system who was also an actual graffiti writer. One of the most obscure graffiti fonts.
2002 - Johan WaldenstromReleased on 04/08/2002, Despite offering only 26 letters, this font added to the still very small array of fonts undeniably built to emulate graffiti handstyles & to this artists sizable contribution to the early genre.
On June 3rd 2002, with the debut of graffitifonts.com the first website dedicated entirely to graffiti style typefaces emerges. With less than a dozen real graffiti styles available & only a few of those included, the site is largely populated by graffiti-ish fonts that could be used to loosely emulate graff styles. Several of the early graffiti style tytpefaces listed in this timeline were included. Seemingly, permantently stuck as the #1 search result, this site would survive & evolve for about a decade. It was taken over by the Graffiti Fonts type foundry in 2007 but left largely unchanged until it was merged with the foundry's home site, formerly found at graffitifonts.net in 2012.
Early versions of a CDROM collection from the Graffiti Fonts foundry were created dating back to the year 2000 which included the foundries early fonts along with design templates & website assets & other digital items but in 2003 a more focused product was developed that included 3 of the foundries first fonts along with a selection of graffiti fonts from other pioneering developers. The first versions of this collection contained only 13 fonts & sold for the same $40 retail price as the stand-alone RaseOne font. Many fonts were at first omitted to keep the price low & test the market for a CDROM collection. At this point The foundry filed for the first trademark on the brand name \"Graffiti Fonts\". This CDROM was the first collection of graffiti fonts in the form of a physical product.
2003 Matthew (RaseOne) Napolitano - Graffiti Fonts First completed in late 2003 by Matthew (RaseOne) Napolitano for the Graffiti Fonts type foundry, the WildStlye font family replaced the RaseOne family as the most advanced wildstyle font available. Glyphs from this layered system of 5 fonts connected & interlocked more like an actual wildstyle. End pieces, flourishes, alternate glyphs, spray can & cap digngbats, a repeating cloud background & OpenType features helped set a new baseline for the translation of the graffiti wildstyle into type. Nearly a decade later, this font will be chosen to represent the impact of graffiti style typefaces on modern graphic design in the Yale University textbook \"Graphic Design A New History\".
2004 - Johan Waldenstrom Released on - 02/06/2004, these and other additions to the \"Writers\" set would bring the family up to a total of 5 styles, making it one of only a few graffiti fonts to offer a multi-part set & one of only two to reach 5 styles.
In late 2004 the 2nd edition of the Graffiti Fonts collection was released. This expanded version of the collection included more of the fourndy's exclusive fonts, including the full RaseOne layered family & a larger selectiuon of fonts from other artists. Like it's predecessor, this collection came very close to offering every graffiti style typeface on earth but, to keep the cost down, some of the more recent fonts from the foundry were omitted and some 3rd party fonts were not included. This 2nd collection sold for $100 in DVD style packaging, with a printed instruction booklet.
By this point the number of published typefaces in this genre is still just a few dozen. Monotype extended an invitation to the Graffiti Fonts foundry to distribute the CDROM collections & the individual typefaces but did not yet have a category for graffiti. The graffitifonts.com & .net websites were starting to draw substantial traffic & graffiti typefaces were starting to appear in larger scale commercial design where before one would often have seen faux graffiti, usually rendered by non-writer graphic designers. These fonts were also seeing frequent use within the Hip-Hop community from underground to commercial projects, showing up on fliers, album covers, in magazines & on clothing. Made easy by the research & curative work of the .com & .net websites, wide spread piracy began to set in, increasing the distribution of the fonts exponentially & driving the popularity of the whole genre far beyond the underground Hip-Hop circles where it first began.
With the release of the the 2nd & 3rd Graffiti Fonts collections & expansion of the still separate graffitifonts.net & graffitifonts.com web sites, the worlds catalog of authentic graffiti fonts was begininng to increase rapidly. With many new designs released & more fonts lifted from relative obscurity these collections & the associated websites achieved significant notoriety & mainstream usage which brought much greater attention to the genre as a whole. From here we would start to see a wider development of graffiti typefaces from a larger number of artists & foundries. In the following years font download websites & font distributors would gradually begin to add graffiti categories to their offering where no such category had existed before but at this early stage it had fallen mainly into the hands of graffiti writers & devotees of underground Hip-Hop culture themselves to crowbar graffiti lettering into the relm of digital type. With almost nowhere else to look, virtually every graffiti style font ever created resided on one or both of the competing graffitifonts.net & graffitifonts.com sites.
With a decidedly more advanced collection of typefaces & a decidely larger & more robust website graffitifonts.net never did overtake the .com site in search. An arrangement was struck for the .com site to become a reseller of the Graffiti Fonts CDROM collections. The .com had previously run entirely on an advertising model, distributing freeware fonts & featured only a small handfull of actual, authentic graffiti styles. At it's peak, the .com offered about 350 freeware fonts with only a dozen or so having been created with the intention to emulate modern graffiti lettering. The addition of the collections was the first step towards the eventual takeover of the .com site by the Graffiti Fonts foundry that would occur a few years later. In the meantime, with greater revenue & more content, the .com would grow in size & sophistication partly due to the .net site pushing it upwards from underneath & partly due to a robust community forum/gallery populated with user generated content.
Around this same time the Graffiti Fonts foundry began distributing a larger number of thier fonts through Monotype (fonts.com & myfonts.com) & graffiti categories were begininng to appear on the multitude free font download sites. With a substantial & growing crop of actual graffiti styles available & the genre becoming ever more popular, graffiti would become somewhat of a gimmick for these font sites to exploit. Most were very, very loose with thier definition of graffiti & the few dozen legitimate graffiti styles that existed would usually be mixed in with dozens or even hundereds of random grunge, script, stencil & tattoo style fonts.
In 2009, after working for 4 solid years, the Graffiti Fonts type foundry released a secret project that had been in the works since 2005. Graffiti Fonts 4.0 - Codename: BURN was an entirely new collection that had been kept entirely under wraps while in development. With the existing crop of graffiti fonts losing their rarity via piracy, this collection would offer entirely new material that could once again be scarce & uncommon. While the first 3 collections were released on a roughly, yearly schedule & were cumulative in nature, this 4th edition had been years in the making and boasted a collection of brand new graffiti fonts larger in number than the entire library of such fonts ever designed. With 50 new commercial faces & 50 free faces not included in the previous collections, the release of BURN basically doubled the world's supply of graffiti fonts. The typefaces developed for this collection filled in many of the missing stylistic spaces that existed in graffiti style type, covering somewhat more hardcore & modern