How to Design the Perfect Minimalist Tattoo

Considering a tattoo? Here’s a little inspiration, motivation, and a place to start.

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Collarbone Tattoo [image source: tattoogen], crowdink, crowd ink. crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Collarbone Tattoo [image source: tattoogen]

Tiny tattoos that make a statement, but are still small enough to either cover up at work or at the very least avoid controversy with more conservative parties, have taken over.

Once relegated to the uber-progressive, alternative pocket niches, Millennials are coming out in force and lining up at tattoo parlours to get inked. It’s not only become fashionable to ink yourself up, but fairly acceptable.

However, as in all things, Millennials are trying to figure out how to be individual and still exist and thrive in professional spaces. And so we have the rise of the minimalist tattoo.

But how do you choose the perfect one for you?

The Big Why
Are you getting matching tattoos to state a bond? Sibling tattoos, parent-children tattoos, friendship tats, and couple tats are a great idea, but just be sure your piece stands alone, too. You can always get the same exact tattoo, but why not get a piece that functions together?

Sisters Tatto [image source: wimp.com], crowdink, crowd ink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Sisters Tattoo [image source: wimp.com]
Then there are the fairly more obvious small-font quote tattoos and star signs. These make a statement that really can’t be interpreted any other way. Is there a single quote that’s going to make sense your entire life?

Taurus Tattoo [image source: wanelo.com], crowdink, crowd ink, crowdink.com.au, crowdink.com
Taurus Tattoo [image source: wanelo.com]
I’m a big fan of geometrics, because the shape stays the same and the meaning can change. It’s also a great conversation starter. Why the diamond? Why the symmetry? I don’t know, I just think that’s pretty neat.

Geometric Tattoo [image source: tattooschool-art.com], crowdink, crowd ink, crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Geometric Tattoo [image source: tattooschool-art.com]
And then there’s always: you just want to put art on your body. Totally valid and some of the best work gets done when you tell the artist you’d like a minimalist tattoo, but go nuts. Tattoo artists are, after all, first and foremost artists. And after a day of tattooing cartoon ladybugs, you can better your bottom dollar that they’ll be excited for the chance to just create some art.

Location, Location, Location
And you do have to think about the where. It’s still a little taboo to get facial tattoos. But again, it’s your body, you go human being! Behind the ear and on the collarbone seem to be fairly new, exciting spots to place tattoos, if only because they’re still pretty visible, but are easily covered by hair and necklines.

Collarbone Tattoo [image source: tattoogen], crowdink, crowd ink. crowdink.com, crowdink.com.au
Collarbone Tattoo [image source: tattoogen]
Choosing Your Artist
READ THE REVIEWS. The internet is a wonderful place. This is an investment. Avoid walking into a random parlor and getting work done that day. Call up. Make an appointment.

If you are going to walk in, make sure that things don’t just look clean, but you’re watching artists open up new kits. Medical gloves should be involved. Trace paper should be used unless you’ve had a long discussion about freehand work.

But for the most part: talk to your friends. If you love somebody’s tattoo on the train, ask where they got their work done. You can have the best idea in the world, but if you’re not working with a safe, professional, and artist who understands what you want and how to execute it, it’s not going to matter.

Happy Designing! Do you have any minimalist tattoos? Let us know in the comments!


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Sam Ferrante is a poet, editor, facilitator, and writer born on Long Island, college-fed in Western New York and Paris, and then poetically raised in Buffalo, NY; Ireland; and Australia. A former member of the Pure Ink Poetry team in Buffalo and a regular competitor in Dublin's Slam Sunday, Sam was a Co-Creative Producer at Melbourne-based Slamalamadingdong in addition to serving on the Melbourne Spoken Word Committee. Sam has been published in Ghost City Press, Blowing Raspberries, and The Dirty Thirty Anthology and has been featured at The Owl & Cat Session, La Mama Poetica, Girls on Key, and White Night 2016 among others. Her debut book of poetry, Pick Me Up, got rave reviews from her Mom. She is currently the Editor of CrowdInk.