Top Tattoo Design Trends for 2021


Tattoos have enjoyed a massive upsurge in popularity over the last ten to twenty years. Once associated with fringe movements and subcultures, body art is now quite mainstream. As more and more people get tattoos, the entire field is expanding and blossoming.

The field is attracting talented artists who are introducing new designs and reviving old ones. As with any type of art or fashion, certain trends rise and fall in the realm of tattoo art. If you’re considering a tattoo, it’s good to be aware of some of the latest trends.

Micro Tattoos

Some people like large tattoos that are easily visible. However, there’s a counter-trend of choosing very small designs. Small or micro tattoos are more subtle and can actually provoke interest as observers need to look closely. Opting for a smaller design is also a good choice for people getting their first tattoo and who want to start slowly.

When it comes to micro tattoos, your choices are limitless. You can have letters, animals, geometric patterns, tribal designs, or any other small designs inked on various parts of your body.

If you’re considering a very small tattoo, keep in mind that you should choose an artist experienced with this type of work. It requires great skill and attention to detail to effectively render a very small design.

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Face and Neck Tattoos

Even as tattoos become more mainstream, neck and face tattoos are still considered fairly extreme, but far less so than even a few years ago. Justin Bieber is one celebrity who’s recently acquired a face tattoo, though it’s a very small one (the word “Grace” appears over his right eyebrow). Like Bieber, many people are getting delicate and even dainty face tattoos that consist of words, flowers, stars, or patterns.

Neck tattoos are slightly more prevalent and less controversial than face tattoos, though it depends on the size, subject, and style of the design. If you’re planning for a career as an investment banker or a corporate attorney you might want to rethink a neck or face tattoo.

However, these and other previously controversial tattoos are getting more and more popular and may, in a few short years, be accepted everywhere.

If you like the idea of a tattoo somewhere near your face but that’s not instantly noticeable, there are a couple of related tattoo trends worth considering.

Ear tattoos, which may be on the actual ear or near it, are a possibility for small designs or words and phrases. Still another option is back of the neck tattoos, which are less obtrusive than designs on the front of the neck.

Related Post: The Face and Neck – The Final Frontier for Tattoos?

Minimalist Tattoos

The minimalist trend overlaps with micro tattoos but includes larger tattoos with very simple designs. Many people, for example, are getting inked with linework tattoos.

For example, line drawings of a face, animal, or object leave it to the observer’s imagination to fill in any details. If you want to take the minimalist idea even further, you can get a simple line or set of lines. Variations on line tattoos include straight lines, parallel lines, barbed wire patterns, and simple geometric shapes.

Related Post: Minimalist Tattoos – the Essence of Modern Style

Quotes, Poems, and Literary Passages

People have always gotten tattoos consisting of words and names. Words such as “Love,” “Mom,” or the name of a boyfriend or girlfriend, perhaps enclosed within a heart, are timeless designs.

Now, however, people are choosing a wider variety of words, sentences, and even long passages. It’s getting more common to see inspirational quotes, lines from books or poems, and personal slogans inked on their bodies. Inking your favorite quotes and phrases on your body provides a constant reminder of what’s most important in your life.

Related Post: Ink that Speaks Volumes: Word Tattoos

Mixed Media Tattoos

Tattoos that incorporate multiple styles, also known as mixed media tattoos, are another trend that’s rapidly gaining traction. With so many styles to choose from, why confine yourself to only one?

For example, you might combine a photorealistic style with an abstract or surrealist design. Or place an illustration alongside a geometric design. The possibilities are endless if you find a tattoo artist who likes to mix things up.

Related Post: Mixed Media Tattoos: When Ink Meets Fine Art

Hand and Finger Tattoos

While never quite as controversial as neck and face tattoos, hand and finger tattoos are still considered quite brazen. As people become more comfortable about getting inked, tattoos on various parts of the hand as well as the fingers are getting more common.

Getting letters tattooed on hands and fingers is always a possibility. The letters-on-fingers concept was made infamous in the 1955 film Night of the Hunter, in which Robert Mitchum plays a psychopath with “love” spelled out on one hand and “hate” on the other.

Today, of course, tattooing your hands doesn’t brand you a crazed killer. If you’re considering getting ink on your fingers, you have to find an artist who’s capable and willing to perform this kind of delicate and detailed work.

Related Post: Hand and Finger Tattoos: 6 Essential Facts You Need to Know

Black and Gray Tattoos

Some tattoo trends are about parts of the body while others focus on subjects such as dolphins, dragons, or tigers. Other trends, however, pertain to colors. Right now, black and gray tattoos are extremely popular. A black and gray tattoos, when rendered by a skilled artist, has an esthetically pleasing and traditional look, often resembling a charcoal sketch by an old master painter.

You can get a black and gray tattoo of any subject and may incorporate multiple shades of black and gray. Because the artist has to work within a limited color scheme, make sure you find a skillful artist who’s experienced with black and gray tattoos.

Related Post: Black and Gray Tattoos: Why This Classic Style Never Disappoints

Choose the Right Tattoo Design For Your Personality and Lifestyle

The above are some of the leading tattoo trends that are currently popular. When choosing a design for yourself, though, you have to consider what’s right for you. The style and placement of your tattoo should reflect your unique personality as well as your lifestyle.

Always remember that a tattoo is a lifelong commitment so you want to choose your design wisely!

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