10 Tattoos YOu should get and Why

I have tattoos. I love tattoos. Recently I’ve had a lot of people in groups I’m in on Facebook asking about whether or not they should get a tattoo, and presently their various ideas on what they want. So I’ve made this handy dandy list of a variety of tattoo types and what, for me, they mean. Enjoy.

Unlike decades ago when tattoos were really only acceptable in the military, they have now become incredibly popular. People, especially teenagers, get them for all kinds of reasons. To show what means something to them, their beliefs, to stand out, and even as a protest. Picking your tattoos is important, they’re for life after all. So you might be asking yourself, what’s the right tattoo for? Fear not, here is a handy guide of ten types of tattoos to help you decide. Please note, not all tattoos fall in these categories, but the majority do. And the advice given here can apply to any tattoo. Please remember to think before you ink.


First off we have the classic animal tattoo. Often these are simply an animal’s head, because an entire creature is hard to fit in certain parts of the human body. There is some variety in the styling of these tattoos. You have to ask yourself, do I want it realistic, tribal, silhouette, big or small? There are truly a lot of options.

The type of animal is, of course, also a major consideration. It’s all well and good to want an animal that represents you, but you probably also want to impress people. So unless you’re really committed to that hedgehog you got as a patronus on Pottermore, you’re probably going to pick something instantly recognizable that doesn’t require explanation or occasionally defense. So you’ll want something fearsome and strong. The typical choices are a lion, wolf, horse, bear, and even cats and dogs. Make sure to put it somewhere visible, you want people to see what powerful creatures you’ve come to identify with and make a statement.

Get this if: You want to look tough. Or if you want to inspire yourself to a certain standard. Or if you really love your patronus from Pottermore.


Another classic option. If you want to look both tough and artistic, get a tribal tattoo. There’s really no limit to what you can do with them. You can get a tribal animal, a tribal band around an arm or leg, huge sleeve pieces, or just a single design randomly stuck on any available body part. There is often no meaning behind these designs, or at least nothing obvious. So while they are wonderfully fluid in that way, you better enjoying explaining them or at least being able to say you don’t know and just liked the design.

Now these definitely are for showing off. You want people to see them and marvel at the way you manage to be intimidating but also stylish and creative. Tribal tattoos are generally black, although there aren’t any rules saying they can’t also be colorful. Maybe try and stick to dark shades of blue and red if black isn’t your thing.

Get this if: You want to seem cool, mysterious and artistic.

Single inspirational words

There is nothing more open ended, and slightly pretentious, than picking one word, writing it out in fancy script, and sticking somewhere very visible on your body. There are a few rules with this one. First, it has to be a good word. Something with positive connotations like, hope, faith, love, or even glory(if you’re into that). Secondly, it must be easily seen. With this you’re not just announcing what you believe, you want everyone to know about it. Frankly, it’s probably cheaper just to get a business card and hand it out to everyone you meet to tell them what you stand for. Bonus points if you put a mission statement on there as well.

There is not, however, anything wrong with this. Go on and put that word as large as you like. Maybe you’ll inspire someone. Or at least raise their opinion of you, now that they know you’re a firm believer in love.

Get this if: You have a few grand ideas you believe in and you want the world to know.


Here we have a controversial area. I’m sure your mother, or father, told you never to put someone’s name on your body because they might not be with you forever. But they were probably thinking of significant others and the way they come and go. And this is fair enough. It would be totally embarrassing to break with someone when their name is on your skin, probably easy to see, because you were so infatuated you wanted everyone to know about your great love. On the other hand, it’s also a great opportunity to get a big fancy cover up tattoo to hide that dreadful person’s name.

Of course, if you’re set on getting someone’s name tattooed on your body, you could just make sure it’s a child or favorite grandparent that you want to honor. Particularly if they have died, then this is a fitting and touching tribute.

Get this if: You want to honor someone who you really really love and being with them constantly is either not possible, or not enough.

Chinese characters

There is nothing wrong with this. They look cool and are easy to place anywhere. But for the love of all that is holy, do your research and put NOTHING on your body until you’re 150% sure what it means. And after you’ve done that Google fueled research, go ask a Chinese person just to make sure. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, more embarrassing than telling all your friends and family, and everyone you meet, what it means only to learn years later that you’ve been totally wrong this whole time. Still, another beautiful opportunity for a fancy coverup.

Get this if: You want to appear mysterious and intelligent but are also okay possibly being laughed at in case your translation is wrong.


Another classic option, also another one that you’ll really want to be seen. This is a statement. It says that no matter what you may wear, or sometimes act like, you’re definitely Christian. You can design this cross whichever way you’d like, Celtic is a common option but not necessary. Just make sure whatever design you go with speaks to you. Don’t make it fancy if you’re not, misrepresentation is not cool. Also, please don’t get this if you’re not Christian. If you’re struggling with your faith and need a reminder then fine. But if you’re committed to another religion, or just an atheist, please steer clear. There is a lot in the news about people hijacking symbols and perverting them, don’t be one of those people.

Get this if: You’re Christian, or really trying to be.

Plant life

Many plants, and especially flowers, are not only beautiful but have deep meanings that you may find yourself attached to. Or maybe you just like what they look like, that’s cool too. These are an easy category because there really are no hideous or offensive plants. Except a pot plant, but if you’re getting that it’s for totally different reasons and If you think that’s a good idea, frankly I can’t help you.

If you like a piece of flora so much you want it on your body, go to town. Seriously, have at it. Just try and make sure it’s contoured to some part of your body well, and please know these will expensive because they’re colorful.

Get this if: You want to look natural and caring. Plants are generally seen in a positive light.


You must really love someone to want to stick their face on your body, especially when just using their name would be a cheaper and less embarrassing option. Or maybe you just know too many people with that name. Either way this is dangerous territory.

If you’re really committed to it, just a couple things to remember. First, make sure it’s someone you love who isn’t going to leave you. This is another area where kids and other relatives come into play. Covering a name is easy, covering a face is much harder. Secondly, shop around, talk to various artists and get examples of their work. Faces are tricky, and easy to screw up. So make sure you get it from an expert within proven skill. This isn’t a tattoo for novices.

Get this if: You want to pay tribute to someone, and possibly look a little crazy too.

Celestial bodies

A prime example of something that can be fraught with meaning, or also totally arbitrary. These can be suns, moons, stars, shooting stars, incredibly detailed planets, anything. Maybe you really identify with the sun and want on your body giving its radiance to all around you. Or maybe you just think it looks cool and you want to impress people. Anything goes with this one, just don’t be pretentious about it.

Get this if: You want to look cool but also sophisticated.


This is a tricky area. Quotes can be cool things to put on your body. They’re easy to understand, not something you really have to explain, and have deep meaning that make having them on you that much nicer.

Just a couple tips. Chose the location wisely, words are like faces, they have to flow with your body parts and if put wrong they’ll look stupid. Make sure you know both the originator of the quote, and where it’s from. It’s nice that you’ve been so affected by these words, but if you don’t know where they came from you’ll look like an idiot.

Get this if: You’ve been inspired by a book or speaker, and putting it as your Facebook status just isn’t enough anymore.

At the end of the day, tattoos are some of the most personal things you can ever do. You’re getting something very permanently etched into your skin, so you better love it. In the event that you’ve found something that you love this much, please also remember that tattoos are expensive. Or at least the good ones are. If you shop around you’ll find not only a variety of styles and artist abilities, but also a range of prices. If one shop has drastically lower prices than the others then it is probably subpar at best. Tattoos aren’t something you should get a discount for. They’re a service. You’re paying for an artist who has spent a lot of time studying and practicing his craft to put something very permanent on your body. You want it to look good even when it’s faded, and it will fade over time. So choose wisely and find yourself an artist who will work with you to get you exactly what you want. And enjoy this, please. Tattoos are fun and special. If you’re going to be grumpy about what you’re getting, where you’re getting it or what it is then please don’t do it. This is your life, and your tattoo, take pleasure in it.