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There aren’t any rules about tattoos and whether a specific design belongs to men or women. However, there are some popular tattoo designs for men that stand out from others. When choosing a tattoo design, there are a few things to consider first, such as location and style. After that, consider creating a custom piece based on a favorite popular design. This way, you have a unique piece that still utilizes common, beloved ideas.

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Choosing Body Location

It’s best to choose placement before deciding on a tattoo design. This way, it’s easier to fit the design to the space. Probably the most popular tattoo placement for men is the arm. Both the upper and lower arm provides good workspace. Chest and back tattoos are easily covered with a shirt if planning to keep the ink private. Small tattoos will fit on wrists, ankles, hips, and feet.

arm tattoo, professional, sleeve tattoo RyanJLane / Getty ImagesMaster working tattooing in tattoo studio./Professional tattooist works in studio
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Process of making tattoo close-upHandsome serious man with tattooed body Father holding his big birthday girl AleksandarNakic / Getty ImagesPortrait of happy bearded sailor man with anchor tatoo on shoulder wearing white and blue striped clothing. Standing with arms crossed against blue background and laughing with eyes closed. izusek / Getty Imagessanta, love hate tattoo, word tattoo, hand tattoo D-Keine / Getty ImagesMuscular Sexy Man with tattoo

Choosing Tattoo Style

Tattoos come in many styles, and some artists are better at one style over another. Choose a style and then the artist to do the work. Traditional is the oldest form and often has a limited color palette with bold lines. Realism strives to make the final piece look as realistic as possible. Abstract style is a modern twist on tattoos that often leave meaning up to the observer. Tribal tattoos have bold, geometric lines that form mesmerizing patterns.

Personal Tattoo Designs

Personal tattoo designs are ones chosen for a specific, personal reason. The most common are memorial tattoos to remember a loved one that has passed. This might include a heartbeat, name with dates, hearts, or something the person loved. Personal tattoos can also include any specific hobby, object, movie, video game, or childhood memory that you love. Getting a tattoo to represent a child is another popular personal tattoo idea. Many opt for a tattoo of the original inked baby footprints from the birth certificate. Choosing something you love for a tattoo design is a fun way to show the world your passion.

Animal Tattoo Designs

Certain animals tend to do well as tattoo designs for men. Consider creepy bugs such as spiders or scorpions that have a sharp, deadly bite or sting. Other powerful beasts to consider for a design include lions, tigers, bears, or wolves. These animals often represent strength and power. Another popular animal found in tattoos is the koi fish. The beautiful, lithe fish creates a stunning image and often represents overcoming adversity.

Portrait Tattoo Designs

Portrait tattoos are like having an actual photograph on the body. When choosing a portrait tattoo, it’s incredibly important to find a reputable artist known for this style of work as this design is tough to get right. Choose a loved one to keep them with you at all times or opt for a favorite iconic figure from the past or present. Portrait tattoos often work well with just black ink, but can also look amazing with subtle color shades.

Symbol Tattoo Designs

If you want a tattoo that means something, then choose a popular symbol. They all have some kind of meaning that many people know without having to ask. A cross represents faith while a crown authority and power. Skulls often represent death, while an ankh represents life. Anchors provide a meaning of hope and stability during trying times. Choose feathers to symbolize bravery and freedom or arrows to symbolize peace and a new direction in life. There are many symbols to choose from throughout cultures all over the world.

Word Tattoo Designs

Word tattoos are another common choice by men because they provide an excellent way to express personal thoughts. Choose a word, phrase, song lyrics, or passage from a book. Make the tattoo look more artistic by choosing a font that helps it stand out. Cursive is used often for lettering tattoos and usually includes some calligraphy flair. Choose a font that fits the words, such as bold letters for quotes about strength. It’s also possible to form the words into a shape, such as a quote about love formed into the shape of a heart.

Botanical Tattoo Designs

Flowers aren’t just for girls when it comes to tattoos. Roses with thorns also make beautiful tattoos for men. Other botanical options give off a more masculine vibe. Tattoos of an entire tree can represent life. Branches and vines can wind down and around the body. A single leaf of a favorite plant can represent happiness.

Wings Tattoo Designs

Another popular tattoo design for men is wings. Often the wings span down the back or along the back of the arms. This gives the appearance of having actual wings. Choose wings with feathers such as angels or a favorite bird. Choose rubbery, darker wings such as bats or demons for a more fearsome look.

Star Tattoo Designs

Stars are a common tattoo choice for men. While women tend to choose shooting stars, men mostly choose plain or nautical stars. Nautical stars represent protection and guidance, just as sailors used them to guide them when out at sea. The number of stars is an important choice since three stars in a row often represents growth in life or personal achievements.


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