Tattoo style

Tattoos are style statements. It is a symbol of your feelings for the world and more importantly towards yourself. As one decides to get inked, he or she immediately starts thinking about the type of tattoo. Tattoos are something you live your whole life with and hence once decided, the next step is to find that perfect tattoo which suits your personality.

When you are getting a tattoo done, you really need to emphasize on many things. Tattoos are permanent so you need to think hard before getting one.

There are a lot of ideas of tattoos and each type has a variety of designs. This article focuses on imparting knowledge about the contemporary prominent tattoos in fashion these days. A thorough reading of this article will make you well versed with the different types of tattoos and will help you to understand the difference between them.

Old school tattoos


Old School Style Tattoos also known as Classic or Traditional Tattoos are evocative of the panache used by the public from the early nineteenth century. That was the time when the artists used to depend on just a few colours and limited designs. The tattoo would completely depend on the artist’s proficiencies. Most of them were in bold black outlines with very little shading, using the spot colours like green, red, yellow, and sometimes blue or brown. Popular subjects were naval and armed forces emblems, pin-up girls, heart and dagger tattoos, eagle tattoos and Harley Davidson symbols. These often included a banner or ribbon, with lettering relevant to the theme.

Traditional tattoo


Traditional tattoos have been in the fashion for quite some time now. As the tattoo machine was invented in 1872, they opened a vast space for new opportunities and creativity of the artists. Several types of tattoos came into the fashion and instantly became a hit in the market. There are several traditional tattoos, most preferred ones being the American-style traditional tattoos. When mentioning to classic tattoos, people mostly think of designs and styles that occupied display books. When demand for tattoos spiked after the invention of the tattoo machine, artists needed books of designs to help them. Modest and with a small colour palette, such designs permitted artists to effortlessly copy them and swiftly tattoo. This style was very popular in the past as well and easily spread in the market. Most of the traditional tattoos show off nationalism. Like the designs of the Statue of Liberty, ladies with flags, eagles’ race across their pages, along with star-spangled shields and emblems are very common America which represent patriotism. Also tattoos like ships, sailors sailing showed teamwork and loyalty as well. Sustenance for the troops often came in the form of these classic patriotic tattoos, since they showed both dedication and unity to the soldiers who also wore them.
Tattoos like hearts, swallows, roses, knives, and flags all associated with traditional tattoos which were able to catch the attention of general public. Such tattoos are still in the fashion as they have a broad meaning and can be relevant to just anyone. Some of the very frequently seen tattoos with their meaning are as follows:

  • Hearts: Shows Love of or for a person. A heart that bleeds or breaks just lets the world know that its wearer travelled. Hearts can be tattooed fixed as well, and projects with stitches display the perseverance and spirit of true love and oneness.
  • Swallows: Swallows would often live in harbours and occasionally stow away on ships. They mean home, freedom, and faith. They represent the things that were left behind and all the other things which the sailors would see in the future. The liberty of swallows and starlings reinvigorated many sailors.
  • Roses: The traditional symbol of love, roses are one of the most common tattoos find on the skin at all times. These flowers represent a never-ending hope of meeting their loved one again in the future.

Traditional Japanese Irezumi

The traditional Japanese motifs, designs, and stylistic sensibilities are yet another very popular and contemporary designs which constantly inspire many artists. Most of the tattoo artists usually prefer to mix the old and the new to create pieces that range from “playful prints” to “delicate works of art”. Regardless of specific style, these Japanese-inspired tattoos have commonly had roots in Irezumi, or traditional Japanese tattooing.
During the 18th century, due to the commonness of the colourful and pictorial woodblock print, tattoos concentrated in this style became prevalent among lower social status. Given its links to the lower class and its long and unpleasant history, Irezumi was ultimately banned in Japan. In the 19th century, as the artist started tattooing non-Japanese sailors, their work which represented the cultural motifs, symbols, and styles that accompanied it widespread all over the world and hence acclaimed international reputation.
Japanese tattoos often display the culture’s reverence for nature. Tattoos featuring animals related to forte, bravery, and defence. Koi fish are archaeologically very popular as they represent luck, success, and good fortune. Sakura (or cherry blossoms) remain the most popular floral motif found in Japanese tattoos. Lotus flowers, peonies, and Chrysanthemums are also favoured for their attractiveness and pervasiveness in Japan.


These tattoos are unique as they are very realistic and bring hyper practicality to the tattoo show. Very minutely detailed, they show the true dedication of tattoo artists. The fine attention paid to the details and the patience with which the artists dedicatedly bring out those details is awesome. Realism involves patience application of a lot of colours to exploit the vibrancy. Some challenging and good realistic tattoos are the eye, water, glass, portrait of a family member and clear or mirroring objects. Many photo-realistic tattoos are done in black and grey, but they are not limited to black ink.


Geometric tattoo designs have been known since prehistoric times, and many of these symbols live on nowadays. Based on mathematical designs, they indicate the shapes concealed in nature. Some of the ancient geometrical projects have links with the religious or spiritual practices. Many feature repeating lines that show perfect balance and symmetry. For example: cube represents the element ‘earth,’ symbolizing stability; Mandala which is rooted in Buddhist and Hindu tradition and translates to ‘circle,’ and is a concentric pattern with a floral structure that represents balance, harmony, and unity etc. other examples are fractal shells, Gordian knot, icosahedron, Metatron cube, Octahedron, Ouroboros, owl etc.

Ornamental tattoo

The origin of such tattoos is the Roman Empire and consists of decorative patterned Art motifs that are found all around the world. The ornamental art is timeless and has numerous subcategories like Gothic Religious art. Zealand is specialized and excels this style of Tattoo art form. It provides a background or embellishment to any selected image and is suitable for any gender.
Ornamental style can be united into all types of Tattoo design and is the best European Art form that has stood through the Renaissance, PreRaphaelite, Baroque and Grotesque periods – amongst others.

Blackwork tattoo

This is also one of the prominent styles of tattooing using just the black ink and they date back to thousands of years. It is basically just carbon- charred wood or bone. Extensive black work was quite protuberant along with the tribes as they used them as a mark of identity, authority and loyalty. While black work divides opinion, love it or hate it, it is one of those tattooing styles which are here to stay.

Fineline tattoo

This is one of the new styles and is easily achievable with the advancement is technology as new highly progressive machines with fine needles are very common nowadays in the market. Such machines add to the fine work and detailing of the artists. The fine line is frequently used in portrayal tattoos or to attain a subtle look. Fine line tattooing entails distinct straight or curved thin lines, without gradations in shade or colour to represent 2D or 3D objects, emphasizing form and outline over colour, shading, and surface.

Neo-traditional tattoos

Neo-traditional tattoos overlap the line between the traditional and the contemporary styles in a fascinating way. By holding on to the bold black lines and classic colour palette such tattooing makes you clearly see the roots of this style while also noting that these artists have completely flipped the script when it comes to subject matter and the way it is drawn. These tattoos have evolved beautifully over the years and you can literally see them jumping over the skin. They are bold and bright and have intricate amalgamating and shading shades. A combo of hip-hop and graffiti styles, jagged edges and bubbly lettering, they are all about freestyling. Some of the notable trends of such tattoo are 3D inking, neon tattoos and use of white light.

Watercolour tattoo


This style of tattoo has seen tremendous development in body modification. It is named after its mimicry of the freeform and diaphanous quality of the actual painting method. They are of two types: with a black base and without a black base. The tattoos without the absence of black lend them an especially watercolour-like look. The colours can seem to almost melt into the skin and fade into it at the edges. The ones with a black base have a section of line work on which the colours are mounded on top. Watercolour tattoos can portray just about any appearance or symbol, so their meanings are wide-ranging. Some of the most common watercolour tattoos are those portraying colourful birds and insects.

Sleeve tattoo

Such tattoo expands from the shoulder to the wrist or on the legs in a close-knit pattern and can often be labelled as a mixture or assembly of various designs deliberately placed. Sleeve tattoos are sometimes planned, but often the result of one tattoo leading to another.

Tribal tattoo

Tribal design tattoos make the wearer look like a fighter. People were tattooed with such designs to identify the wearer as belonging to a particular tribe. Tribal tattoos are very captivating and show a great appearance of artistic design. Dating back to over 5000 years ago these tattoos were usually worn by people of diverse races and cultures and the meaning of the tattoos differed depending on the culture or race of the wearer. Tribal tattoos have very expressive, rich, passionate, and ferocious design. It has the biggest variety of style because it depends on the diversity of different cultures and tribe’s traditions. Such tattoos are known to mean courage, audacity, dynamics, and expressiveness, hope, balance, continuance, faith, and eternal life, etc. some examples are Depiction of the sun, eagle, Celtic cross, dragon etc.

Dragon tattoos

These are also one of the most popular tattoos. Dragons are fantastic creatures which mean that everyone, regardless of the image they want to achieve or their life philosophy, will find a perfect fit. In Chinese culture, dragons are an impression of sovereign, influence and they are masters of all elements in nature. These are unisex and come in all sizes. Dragons are both creators and destroyers, they can breathe fire, poison or ice. Because of its variability of imageries and presence in many cultures, people all over the world select dragons as an image they want to accompany them for the rest of their lives.

Biochemical tattoo

This body art melds some parts of the body by use of a machine to form a tattoo image of r robotic or machine part. These have some intricate and fascinating design elements. They create some visual effects and are capable of drawing attention. They are most appropriate for people who have a passion for technology and machines and advocate modernity. It is a very interesting tattoo art because machine elements and organics are combined to produce an awesome geeky and surreal tattoo.

The reason behind the popularity of these tattoos is that they are quite interesting in terms of design elements, which trace their roots into mechanics and robotics. What makes bio-mechanical tattoos even more interesting and eye-catching is the creative use of colours and intricacy of the design featured in these designs. Examples of such tattoos are skulls, demons and vampires, a dream catcher or the Japanese Koi Fish design, skeleton in this tattoo design, which also looks great.

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