There are several different schools of artistic language construction. The most important is the naturalist school, which seeks to imitate the complexity and historicity of natural languages. Others do not attempt to imitate the natural evolution of languages, but follow a more abstract style.
Several different genres of constructed languages are classified as 'artistic'. An artistic language may fall into any one of these groups, depending on the aim of its use. Overlapping with artistic languages is the group of philosophical languages, languages derived from some first principle.
By far the largest group of artistic languages are fictional languages (sometimes also referred to as "professional artlangs"). Fictional languages are intended to be the languages of a fictional world, and are often designed with the intent of giving more depth and an appearance of plausibility to the fictional worlds with which they are associated, and to have their characters communicate in a fashion which is both alien and dislocated. By analogy with the word "conlang", the term conworld is used to describe these worlds, inhabited by fictional constructed cultures.
There are two major categories of fictional languages.
Professional fictional languages are those languages created for use in books, movies, television shows, video games, comics, toys, and musical albums. Prominent examples of works featuring fictional languages include the Middle-earth and Star Trek universes and the game Ico.
Internet-based fictional languages are hosted along with their "conworlds" on the Internet, and based at these sites, becoming known to the world through the visitors to these sites. An example is Verdurian, the language of Mark Rosenfelder's Verduria on the planet of Almea.
Alternative languages, or altlangs, speculate on an alternate history and try to reconstruct how a family of natural languages would have evolved if things had been different (e.g. What if Greek civilization went on to thrive without a Roman Empire, leaving Greek and not Latin to develop several modern descendants?) The language that would have evolved is then traced step by step in its evolution, to reach its final form. An altlang will typically base itself on the core vocabulary of one language and the phonology of another. The best-known language of this category is Brithenig, which initiated the interest among Internet conlangers in devising such alternate-historical languages, like Wenedyk. Brithenig attempts to determine what Romance languages would have evolved had Roman influence in Britain been sufficient to replace Celtic languages with Vulgar Latin, and bases its phonology on that of Welsh. An earlier instance is Philip José Farmer's Winkie language, a relative of the Germanic languages spoken by the Winkies of Oz in A Barnstormer in Oz.
Micronational languages are the languages created for use in micronations. Having the citizens learn the language is as much a part of participating in the micronation as minting coins and stamps or participating in government. The members of these micronations meet up and speak the language they have learned when they are participating in these meets. They coin new words and grammatical constructions when needed. Talossan, from R. Ben Madison's Kingdom of Talossa, is by far the best-known example of a micronational language.
The term personal language refers to languages that are ultimately created for one's own edification. There is nobody whom the creator actually expects to speak it. The language exists as a work of art. A personal language may be invented for the purpose of having a beautiful language, for self-expression, as an exercise in understanding linguistic principles, or perhaps as an attempt to create a language with an extreme phonemic inventory or system of verbs. Personal languages tend to have short lifespans, and are often displayed on the Internet and discussed on message boards much like Internet-based fictional languages. They are often invented in large numbers by the people who design these languages. However, a few personal languages are used extensively and long-term by their creators (e.g., for writing diaries). Javant Biarujia, the creator of Taneraic, described his personal language (which he terms a hermetic language) thus: "a private pact negotiated between the world at large and the world within me; public words simply could not guarantee me the private expression I sought. Vabungula by Bill Price is another notable example of an extensively used and thoroughly documented personal language; the author says of it, "It would of course be interesting to have someone else to converse with, but I have gotten along fine these past 35 years without a 'partner' and will probably get along just fine for the next 35 years without one." The author Robert Dessaix describes the origins of his personal language K: "I wanted words that described reality. So I made them up." Another artistic language is Navare, created by Christian Baker. It sounds similar to a mix of Blackfoot and Japanese. Navare's own name for itself is Návaré-itakú.
Some typical jokelangs are:
Some conlangers design languages based on a philosophy or experiment, such as Laadan (feminism), Toki Pona (minimal pidgin) or mezangelle (electronic hybrid). These are often musings on the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis to see if a person thinks differently or has to think differently to function in a different language. Artlangs of this type overlap with engineered languages.
See list of constructed languages for a list.