Tattoo Designs

Tattoo Designs 101: Everything You Need to Know

The popularity of tattoos has grown exponentially in the last decade. Tattoo is more than just body art. It is a medium of self-expression. It gives individuals a platform to express their opinions, to hold onto a memory, or just improve their self-esteem.

Tattoos can be minimalistic or they could also be a whole sleeve- there is no right or wrong. The main reason for its popularity has been the growing acceptance of tattoos in society. In older times, tattoos were deemed unprofessional and wrong in society. However today, companies and families have started accepting tattoos and the stigma around it has fallen considerably. This article will give you A to Z information about the history and numerous kinds of tattoos widely available today!

Where did tattoos originally come from?

Tattoos have been a significant part of cultures all over the world. Tattoos had various functions- they symbolized love, status, signs of religious beliefs, adornments, and in some cases, even punishments. The earliest evidence of tattoos can be found on Egyptian mummies dated to 2000 B.C. On some mummies, tattoos were found near strain-induced joints and hence, it has been theorized that tattoos were also seen as therapeutic in the Egyptian culture and were used to alleviate joint pains.

Egyptian tattoo

Egyptian tattoos were mostly found on women only, indicating that it was exclusively a female practice. They used simple sharp tools with wooden handles to make permanent tattoos. In early times tattoos were mostly naturalistic and simple. They used dotted designs, diamond patterns, and figurines to depict situations.

A dark pigment such as soot was used to prick into the skin. However, in other western cultures, there has been evidence that brighter pigments were also used to form colorful tattoos. In Roman and Greek cultures, tattoos were called ‘stigmata’ and used to mark a form of belonging- to a religious group, social group, or even to an individual. It was also believed that tattoos enhanced body features. 

Egyptian tattoo designs

In South American cultures such as Mexico, Peru, and Chile, tattoos consisted of images of animals, textiles, deities, and pottery designs. Mexican tattoos such as the Kokopelli tattoos and Aztec tattoos (used to honor deities and differentiate between tribes).

Mexican tattoo designs

Mexican tattoo on arm

While most cultures tattooed body parts such as abdomen, thighs, and arms, in Native America, tattoos were exclusively found all over the face and neck. This is because it was believed that it prevented the skin from becoming wrinkled and maintained a youthful appearance. It is interesting to see that in ancient cultures, tattoos were not just seen as an adornment, rather, it was a form of identification. It was equivalent to a unique ID that organized tribes and communities into distinct groups. Even today, for some people a tattoo is more than just body art. For some people, tattoos form an integral part of their identity, It enhances confidence, self-esteem, and body image. 

kokopelli tattoos
aztec tattoo designs

What is a flash tattoo design?

Flash tattoos are those tattoos that are stenciled and can be readied and applied immediately. The tattoo artist has ready-made designs on cardboard pieces or a sheet of pieces and then the same outline is tattooed on the desired body part.

This originated in the western culture during a period when tattoos were considered to be too risque and weren’t generally accepted in society. Tattooists were not allowed to set up shop and hence, resorted to sneaking into bars and pool halls to make tattoos for people. Since the tattooists were prone to checks and police raids, they moved around with suitcases with readymade tattoo stencils. Flash designs are still prominent in American tattooing today.

Tattooists use these as a reference to more intricate designs. The popularity of custom tattoos has soared in recent times but people still like to opt for the classic flash tattoos. If you have health risks such as sensitive skin, allergies to ink, or other skin conditions, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist before getting a permanent tattoo. 

Flash tattoo sheets also serve as a source of inspiration for people looking to get a tattoo. Traditional flash art includes ships, flower tattoos, dagger tattoos, roses, skulls, and snakes. In the 1900s, tattooists would often trade their flash tattoo sheets with each other at shows and events, forming a whole new market for flash tattoo sheets.

By the early 2000s, tattooists were not only trading but were also copywriting their flash tattoo sheets, making tattoo parlors highly competitive. While flash tattoos cannot be customized, at the end of the day it depends on your tattooists! Some tattooists are flexible enough and hence, can make small changes to the flash designs, based on the client’s need. You’ll find the flash tattoo sheets hanging on the walls of tattoo parlors. So next time you visit, look out for these classics, simplistic yet elegant, and quick designs!

Some common tattoo areas include the wrist, shoulder, chest, stomach, lower back, and foot. Wrist and foot tattoos can house smaller shape tattoos.

shoulder tattoo
Shoulder tattoo

stomach tattoo

foot tattoo designs
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tattoo designs on foot

For a larger tattoo, you can consider bigger areas such as a chest tattoo, stomach tattoo, or even a lower back tattoo. 

chest tattoo design
Chest tattoo
chest tattoo designs

lower back tattoo design

tattoo designs on lower back

What’s new in tattoo designs?

The interesting thing about tattoos is that like clothing and footwear, tattoo trends and preferences keep changing. In the 20th century, there were limited options available and customers generally had to choose from the flash tattoos available. However, today, tattoo trends are constantly changing, thanks to the adaptability, skill, and expertise of tattooists. Thus, we can say that today, tattoos have become a great form of self-expression. So what are some trends in tattoo designs? The newest trend is minimalistic tattoos.

These tattoos may be small but can hold significant meaning to the individuals. These are easy to design and can be tattooed on any body part. Moreover, they look elegant and chic. Another trend in psychedelic tattoos. These are characterized by bold black outlines and colorful filling. Floral tattoos are also back in trend. Complementing floral tattoos are simple butterfly or bird tattoos. They can be simple and black tattoos or can have vibrant colors. Symmetrical designs have also garnered attention in recent times. These are aesthetically pleasing and don’t need to have a meaning behind them. 

peace sign tattoo

Perhaps the biggest new trend in tattoos is statement tattoos. These are large pieces that tend to cover up an entire body part. While statement tattoos have been available for a while now, they are becoming popular now due to celebrity endorsements and aesthetics. These statement pieces tend to be vibrantly colored and visually appealing.

The tattooing process can be long but is rewarding. The large piece can be a mix of many themes so it is important to communicate and design the perfect tattoo with your tattooist! Finally, symbolic tattoos are in high demand today. These tattoos are symbolic of a person, a thing, or an experience. Some symbolic tattoos like a dollar tattoo, peace sign tattoo, and Viking tattoos are self-explanatory and represent traits such as peace, wealth, strength, and discipline.

viking tattoo design

viking tattoo designs

They can be naturalistic tattoos such as a mountain tattoo or a cherry blossom tattoo, a name, number, quote, etc. These have become trendy since tattoo customization is prevalent today. 

mountain tattoo
Mountain Tattoo
Mountain tattoo design

cherry blossom tattoo

cherry blossom tattoo ideas

cherry tattoo

cherry tattoo on hand

Religious tattoos are also coming back in trend now. You can get a Sanskrit mantra tattoo, a buddha tattoo, or a Christian tattoo such as a cross tattoo. If you prefer a tattoo that is simply spiritual, you can also consider getting a simple praying hands tattoo.

buddha tattoo design

christian tattoo design
christian tattoo designs

Due to the improving skills of tattoo artists and technology, 3D tattoos are increasing in popularity. These look more realistic and aesthetically pleasing. 3D tattoos can look especially cool if you’re thinking of getting a gothic tattoo, medusa tattoo, or a geisha tattoo. This is because the 3D tattoo can accentuate the details of these intricate tattoos. 

3D Butterfly tattoo designs
3D Butterfly Tattoo Design
3D Tattoo design on hand

medusa tattoo designs

gothic tattoo designs

geisha tattoo
geisha tattoo designs

The best feature of tattoos is that they’re not gender-specific. They can be rocked by anyone- women and men alike. A few decades ago, sleeve tattoos were primarily seen on men and it was considered ‘improper’ if women got them. However, today, things have changed. Women can freely wear sleeve tattoos without any judgment. Moreover, an angel tattoo or fairy tattoo was seen as too feminine on men.

angel tattoo designs

angel tattoo designs

It’s important to know that every tattoo has a personal meaning for the wearer of the tattoo. Hence, tattoos can transcend any gender boundaries and render judgments useless. 

fairy tattoo on hand

fairy tattoo design

Tattoo designs for girls on wrist

Wrist tattoos tend to be symbolic and minimalist. There is not much space on the wrist but since it’s an easily visible body part, it’s a great place to get tattooed if you want to flaunt your new body art. Another benefit is that wrist tattoos are relatively less painful, making them a popular spot for getting a tattoo.

Some examples of wrist tattoos include a dreamcatcher tattoo or a name tattoo. Some people choose to get their family’s names tattooed as a tribute to the permanency of their relationship. Another beautiful tattoo idea would be to get a line of swallows tattooed at the side of your wrist.

family tattoo designs on hand

family crest tattoo
family crest tattoo

Other cute tattoos like musical note tattoos and tree tattoos can also fit on the wrist and look fashionable. One of the most common tattoos is the inner wrist. These tend to be visible and less painful than other places. 

music tattoo designs

inner wrist tattoo designs
Inner wrist tattoo
inner wrist rose tattoo

Tattoo designs for men’s hand

Men usually prefer bigger tattoos and choose themes such as animal tattoos, dragon tattoos, dragonfly tattoos, or military tattoos.

military tattoo designs

military tattoo

Some common animal tattoos include a black and white panther tattoo, a cute octopus tattoo on the wrist, a large dolphin tattoo on the leg, or turtle tattoos.

Many celebrities choose to get a full sleeve tattoo. Some grand sleeve tattoos are Samurai tattoos that can cover the entire length of an arm.

samurai tattoo

samurai tattoo designs

These tattoos essentially cover the whole arm and can take days to complete. They look majestic and can be a combination of many themes. Even women can get these sleeve tattoos. However, one must make up one mind about these since it’s difficult to cover up the tattoo. Other common themes are skull tattoos and snake tattoos. 

snake tattoo designs

snake tattoo designs

However, there is no compulsion to go big! Men can rock minimalistic tattoos too. The tattoo could be an aesthetic abstract design or a symbolic one with meaning. Wave tattoos, arrow tattoos, or quick star or sun tattoos are examples of minimalistic tattoos. 

wave tattoo designs

wave tattoo on hand

arrow tattoo designs

arrow tattoo on hand

sun tattoo

sun tattoo

Tattoo designs with meaning

A tattoo is a form of body art. Some people choose the tattoo solely based on aesthetics and attractiveness. However, for most people, a tattoo is much more personal than that. It is a reminder of learning, a person, an experience, or a relationship. Thus, most tattoos have a distinct meaning.

The meaning could be directly seen through an image or quote or could be more discrete in the form of a symbolic tattoo. A simple lotus tattoo would symbolize different things in different cultures. For instance, in Hinduism, a lotus isn’t just a tattoo, rather it’s symbolic of wealth and prosperity. Similarly, a semi-colon indicates solidarity against mental health illnesses. An anchor tattoo represents being strong and grounded in reality, something that is difficult to shake off. 

anchor tattoo designs
anchor tattoo
anchor tattoo on hand
Anchor tattoo on hand
lotus tattoo designs

Some prominent examples of such tattoo design include a yin yang tattoo which symbolizes balance and the complementarity of dynamic forces.

yin yang tattoo designs

yin yang tattoo design

Similarly, a simple clock tattoo could signify the passage and importance of time. Tribal tattoos like Maori tattoos, Tibetan tattoos, and Hawaiian tattoos are great examples of tattoos with meaning.

clock tattoo on hand
maori tattoo designs

maori tat

tibetan tattoo designs

tibetan tattoo designs

Hawaiian tattoo

The purpose of tribal tattoos was to identify a person according to their social status, beliefs, etc. These have mythical and spiritual symbolism. People who believe in astrology could get their sun signs tattooed. Zodiac tattoos such as Virgo tattoo, Sagittarius tattoo, Aries tattoo, Aquarius tattoo, Gemini tattoo, and other signs such as Taurus, Pisces, and libra tattoos symbolize the characteristics and personality associated with each sun sign.

Aquarius tattoo designs

Aquarius tattoo designs

aries tattoo design

gemini tattoo

gemini tattoo designs

libra tattoo designs

pisces tattoo

pisces tattoo

scorpio tattoo design

scorpio tattoo designs

taurus tattoo designs

virgo tattoo design

virgo tattoos

Tattoo designs with meaning in Hindi

Written Hindi is known to be aesthetic and alluring. Hindi tattoos are not only embraced in India but are also well-liked in western cultures. A variation of these is Sanskrit tattoos. Some common Hindi tattoos include mantras, the word ‘Shanti’ or a simple ‘om’. These words hold significant meaning and symbolize calm, peace, strength, and a sense of tranquility. You can also get names tattooed in Hindi. 

Sanskrit chants that you relate to or swear by can also be tattooed on any body part. Many people choose to get prayer mantras tattooed along with an object that symbolizes a deity, like a Radha-Krishna tattoo. For instance, people get the phrase ‘Mahadev’ tattooed along with the tattoo of a Trishul. That’s not it, you can also get verses of your favorite poem tattooed on your body. Tattooing in Hindi is just like making any other tattoo. However, make sure you get the written Hindi i.e make sure there are no mistakes in the punctuation or word forms. 

Radha krishna tattoo

radhe shyam tattoo on hand

A few more examples include getting a famous Hindi quote tattooed on the arm or getting song lyrics if you are looking for something bigger. There is no limitation on Hindi tattoo designs so get one today!

You don’t have to get a tattoo in English or Hindi! You can approach a tattoo artist and request a tattoo in the language of your choice. Some other dialects and languages include kanji tattoos and Hebrew tattoos. 

kanji tattoos

Hebrew tattoo

Tattoo designs to hide scars

Scars are symbolic of strength and courage. For some people, scars remind them of a traumatic life experience or a low point in life. Some people embrace their scars while some choose to hide them. Either choice is completely okay! Some choose to creatively show their scars by adding designs around them.

Some can completely cover up their scars using vibrant colors and intricate tattoo designs. The go-to cover-up designs are floral. Getting colorful flowers tattooed over the scar doesn’t only perfectly hide the scare but also looks beautiful. Other tattoo design ideas include getting an animal or quote tattoos over the scar. The animal can be filled with black ink. Having an ideation session with the tattooist can prove to be beneficial in this situation since every scar is unique and so, tattooists would need to need to come up with a design that flawlessly covers up scars. 

The size of the tattoo would directly depend on the shape and size of the scar. Before getting a scar covered, consult with your doctor since scars are essentially damaged tissue, and tattooing on a recent scar can be painful and harmful. Hence, make sure you get a green signal from your doctor first! You can go beyond animals and floral tattoos and opt for simplistic symmetric or abstract designs. Overall, wearing your scar with pride or covering it up with a creative and grand tattoo design, both are empowering. It’s a great way for you to convert a not-so-pleasant experience, into something that gives you confidence and makes you happy. 

Another option is an Irish tattoo. Irish tattoos such as the Celtic cross, Celtic knot, tree of life, and the Claddagh tend to be big and hence, can easily cover up older tattoos. 

tree of life tattoo

tree tattoo designs

tree tattoo on hand

Irish tattoo

Irish tattoo

cross tattoo design
cross tattoo design

celtic tattoo designs

celtic tattoo designs

Tattoo designs to cover old tattoos

Let’s be honest, we all know someone or have first-hand had a bad tattoo experience. Maybe you liked the tattoo design in your head but didn’t like the end product or maybe you love the tattoo for a while but soon outgrew it. Since tattoos are permanent, you may feel a sense of regret. However, there is no reason to worry.

You can simply cover up your old tattoo by getting a new tattoo on top of it. Tattoo removal can be a very expensive option and hence, people usually opt for covering up their old tattoos with a new one. There is no shame in doing that because a tattoo is a form of self-expression. Just like we outgrow clothes and hobbies, it is normal to outgrow a tattoo too. So how can you cover up an old tattoo?

Sometimes, covering up an old tattoo is as easy as making a few new lines or adding a few new colors. For instance, turning a butterfly tattoo into a bird tattoo. However, if you want to radically change the old tattoo by replacing it with a much bigger tattoo, you will need to strategically create a design that effortlessly hides the old tattoo. Design changes include changing a quote or phrase into an animal or skull design.

Tattooists usually use black ink to cover up most of the older designs. Tattoo coverups can also involve modifying the old tattoo to make it bigger, more detailed, or colored. Covering up colored tattoos is more difficult than covering up black or gray colors because it is difficult to come up with a design that fits the color code of the older tattoo. A small requirement is that the new tattoo has to be darker than the new one so that there is no overlapping and the new tattoo doesn’t explicitly look like it is covering an older tattoo. 

Tattoo designs to cover up names

We all have had people who meant so much to us and who we thought will stay in our lives forever. So, we decided to go make a tattoo of their name so that they ‘literally’ stay in our lives forever. However, people can leave sometimes so why should their tattoos stay the same? Thankfully, getting a tattoo of someone’s name isn’t as big a commitment anymore due to the skills and expertise of professional tattooists.

You can easily replace cover-up name tattoos with pretty much any other tattoo design. This doesn’t only come as a relief for people who already have a name tattoo but also for those thinking of getting one but are wary of the commitment it takes. 

name tattoo

name tattoo on hand

Many designs could be used to cover up names. Names could be turned into quotes or could be turned into abstract tattoo designs. One of the most common trends is to turn the name into a feather or rose tattoo. This effectively hides the name without compromising on the aesthetic.

feather tattoo designs

feather tattoo on hand
rose tattoo designs

rose tattoo designs on hand

Another design is the Chinese dragon tattoo or a Japanese dragon tattoo This can flawlessly cover names written in cursive.

Chinese dragon tattoo
Japanese dragon tattoos

Lastly, an intricate owl tattoo could also do the trick. The details of the owl tattoo can be made strategically so that the name is completely hidden behind the new tattoo. So, you don’t need to be apprehensive about getting a name tattoo. It may be permanent but that doesn’t mean you can’t play around with it and transform it into something completely different.

Every tattoo tells a story and represents some memory, some preferences, or some memories. Getting that first tattoo can be a scary experience for some, especially due to the permanence of tattoos. However, due to the technology and enhanced precision of professional tattooists, the scope for error is very small and methods of covering a tattoo are plenty.

You can even get a temporary henna tattoo to check the look and feel of a tattoo. Even if you don’t have a concrete idea about the tattoo you want to get, just walk into our store and talk to our tattooists for some inspiration and clarity. You can get a tattoo of pretty much anything and in any language you want.

henna tattoo

Tattoos have been an integral part of our culture for a long time. Initially, it was a form of explicit identification and today it has become a form of expression and gives a sense of identity to many! So are you ready to get inked this year?

Some FAQs about tattoo care and procedure:

Do people find tattoos attractive?

Tattoos look visually appealing and people do find them attractive. It is a form of body art so it is supposed to be aesthetic. Not only do tattooed people look attractive but they also feel attractive because tattoos help to improve self-confidence. It is about being comfortable in your skin. There has been research around this topic and results suggest that tattooed people appear more confident and that adds to their attractiveness. 

Where do tattoos hurt the most?

Tattoos tend to be painful around bony areas and areas with low-fat levels. Hence, the most painful areas include the ribcage, near elbows, inside of thigh (because of loose skin), and ankles tattoo, However, the experience and pain can be toned down by a skilled tattooist who is careful around sensitive areas. 

ankle tattoo designs

Can I sleep on a fresh tattoo?

A fresh tattoo requires care. Therefore, try not to lie directly on a freshly tattooed area. Applying too much pressure on a new tattoo can be painful and slow down the healing process. Since you can’t fully control your sleeping position throughout the night, it is advisable to wrap the tattoo in plastic before sleeping. Since a new tattoo is most prone to infection, make sure your bed sheets are clean. This will reduce the chances of any infection.

Does sweat ruin new tattoos?

While sweat doesn’t mess up the tattoo, it is advised to not do any strenuous exercise for the first 48 hours after getting a tattoo. Sweat will remove the tattoo color but it can slow down the healing process since germs may enter the open skin. Moreover, stretching can pull your skin and delay the complete healing of your tattoo. 

Can you shower with a new tattoo?

If your tattoo is wrapped in a cling wrap or normal bandage, it is okay to take a shower around 18-24 hours after getting the tattoo. Showers are important since it helps to keep the tattoo area clean and disinfected. However, make sure you use a mild fragrance-free soap and apply a thin layer of the soap to your tattoo.

Can I go to the gym after getting a tattoo?

Wait at least 48 hours before going to the gym after getting a new tattoo. This is because exercise not only produces sweat but also stretches muscles and skin. If you have got a tattoo near your biceps, knees, or other joints, it is best to take it easy for a couple of days before resuming your exercise regime.

How long after a tattoo can you shower?

The time usually differs but it is best to shower 24 hours after you get a new tattoo. Wash the tattoo using bare hands. Don’t use a washcloth or loofah.

Do tattoos need maintenance?

Tattoos require care and maintenance, especially if the tattoo is new. The first 48 hours are crucial. Make sure you wash the tattoo with mild soap and don’t keep it tightly wrapped for prolonged periods. Even after it has healed fully, treat the tattoo gently so that it lasts for a long time.

Getting a tattoo is a life-long commitment. So at least in the first few days, you don’t touch the tattoo with dirty hands since a tattoo is an open wound. Allow the tattoo to breathe and apply a thin layer of lightweight ointment. Avoid too much sun exposure at least in the first few days. Taking extra care in the initial days will take the tattoo a long way. 

Can I put Vaseline on my tattoo?

Don’t put vaseline on your tattoo. Vaseline is petroleum jelly and is known for moisturizing. It forms a thick, non-porous layer over the skin and can prevent light and oxygen from reaching the tattooed skin. Moreover, it can trap germ and bacteria, which can cause infection. 

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