Mural Wallcoverings: An Overview of Contemporary Artistic Styles Used in Mural Artwork

Art historians trace the origins of murals to humanity’s ancient past. Some even cite the Chauvet cave paintings in France, which date to approximately 30,000 BC, as the earliest examples of mural artwork. Given this long and rich artistic tradition, it is no surprise that mural wallcoverings evolved to include many different styles across the millennia.

Traditional styles and techniques include encaustic and tempera painting, fresco murals, ceramic murals, and oil on large-format canvas wallcoverings. More recently, the commercial production of mural wallcoverings has largely moved toward digital formats. 

Advanced printing techniques have opened up a world of exciting new stylistic possibilities. Recent trends have coalesced into four broad categories, which clients can use to help them decide on a general creative direction for their custom mural project.

They include:

Illustrative murals

The illustrative style can yield dramatic and expressive mural wallcoverings that use representational elements to convey messaging and branding. They can also be used for purely aesthetic effect, or to convey a narrative about the space or the organization that occupies it. Illustrative murals also create a strong, centralized focal point, which can foster human interaction and serve as a conversation piece.

One of the most intriguing aspects of illustrative murals is their ability to accommodate virtually any artistic direction. They can capture a heightened or even photographic sense of realism, veer deep into the fantastic recesses of the imagination, or land anywhere in between.  

Graffiti murals

The graffiti style has a distinctively urban character. It can be gritty or elegant, but effective graffiti-style murals always capture the distinctive and dynamic energy of the metropolitan lifestyle.

As a modern phenomenon, graffiti appears to have emerged in major urban centers of the northeastern United States in the 1960s. Some experts trace its contemporary origins to Philadelphia, noting that graffiti later became popularized through ubiquity in New York City during the latter part of the decade.  

Doodle murals

This whimsical style is often favored by clients seeking to curate a fun, casual, or lighthearted environment. It often draws on elements including bright, richly saturated colors and cartoon-like line forms to augment its intended impact.

Companies often favor doodle-style mural wallcoverings for brand-specific messaging. The style can easily incorporate logos, product names or images, or other stylistic elements associated with organizational identity.

Abstract murals

Mural wallcoverings that use abstract elements are very popular with clients, as they offer far-reaching expressive potential that can reinforce branding without committing to a specific or tangible message. In certain corporate and organizational settings, this can function as a major strategic asset as it allows viewers to extract their own meaning from pieces.

Many abstract murals use geometric shapes and design elements, such that geometric murals essentially function as a distinctive subgenre of mural wallcoverings. Geometric murals create a subtle but potent impact that can stoke creativity and dramatically enhance the aesthetic value of the space without leading to visual overload.

WRAPPED Studios creates custom mural wallcoverings in a complete range of traditional and contemporary styles.

WRAPPED Studios is a forward-facing artistic collective based in the eclectic and creative Los Angeles suburb of Venice. Our studio employs an impressive team of in-house expert advisors, world-class artists, and skilled technicians, whose combined talents offer clients an augmented and bespoke custom artwork commissioning experience.

We create mural wallcoverings using both traditional and modern techniques. If you prefer the elegant and timeless look of traditional paint, our team can create stunning, large-format hand-painted murals to your exact specifications.

Our studio is also equipped with advanced, state-of-the-art printing equipment that supports the creation of large-format digital wallcoverings. The format, style, and approach you ultimately choose for your mural should reflect the unique character of your space while advancing your project’s objectives. Our expert consultants will guide your clarity in settling on an artistic direction for your project.

To learn more, please contact a member of our client services team to arrange your initial conversation with one of our in-house experts.