Tattoo trends are always evolving, from Sailor Jerry styles and fonts to watercolor and abstract designs. Today, a tattoo doesn’t have to be big in size to have a big impact. Introducing: the micro-tattoo.
Perhaps made famous by the tattoo artist used by Justin Bieber and Kendall Jenner, JonBoy in New York City, micro-tattoos are having their moment in the sun. Defined as minimalist designs that you can put anywhere, these tattoos may be small but they have big meaning for some people. Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about micro-tattoos: from what’s popular (and what the ink means) to where to get it and the kind of style to have it done in.
Thinking about one of these tiny, upscale tattoo designs? Read on to learn more.
Your tattoo will only ever mean to you exactly what you want it to mean. Which means, of course, that tattoos are subjective. One person’s ink of a cat or a dog can have a completely different interpretation to another person with a similar design or tattoo. Here is just a sampling of the most popular types of micro-tattoos and a few of their many meanings.
Punctuation tattoos have some of the most significant meaning, even if that meaning isn’t always obvious to the untrained eye. Project Semicolon started in 2013 with Amy Bleuel, who lost her father to suicide, as a way to initiate conversation around mental health and to show the world that your story can continue. Today, there are more than 25,000 #semicolontattoo posts on Instagram, from simple designs to colorful interpretations. The ampersand (&) is another popular expression through punctuation that can represent the beginning or end of something profound in your life or a special connection to someone.
With over 54,000 posts on Instagram, an #arrowtattoo is another popular form of micro-tattoo. A traditional symbol of Native American heritage, arrow tattoos can have different meaning depending on the way they’re designed. A crossed pair can represent a valuable friendship, while a single arrow through a diamond shape can be meant as a sign of courage or strength to persist. An arrow on its own can simply be meant as a form of protection.
Animal tattoo designs can have endless meaning, and with over 110,000 tags for #animaltattoo on Instagram as of publication, they are an extremely popular form of expression. Animal tattoos, even minimalist ones, can be a sign of your spirituality – the interpretation of your personality through the design of a stag, a bear, or even a lion. From the fiercely protective to the peaceful and zen, an animal tattoo may say even more about you than it does about zoology. Of course, in the case of cats or dogs, an animal tattoo can be a way to honor a family pet or a loyal companion.
For those with the ultimate sense of adventure and wonderment, microspace tattoos may be just the thing for you. With more than 36,000 #spacetattoo posts online, the possibilities are almost as endless as the universe is vast. Whether you want to showcase your own sense of exploration in the world or a hope that maybe we aren’t alone after all, space tattoos aren’t bound by size when it comes to telling your story.
Many people that get micro-tattoos choose minimalist styles that operate solely in shades of black. For a truly simple micro-tattoo that isn’t too busy and focuses on the intentional lines created by your artist, going without color may make a bolder statement than adding in additional pigment.
You can add color to your micro-tattoo without taking away from the quality linework or design by adding hues in thoughtful, deliberate places. Consider that color may draw the eye better and can add more depth to an otherwise two-dimensional color scheme.
Micro-tattoos can have as little (or as much) color as you’d like. The watercolor style is a good example of how to incorporate color in an unstructured way that doesn’t take away from your artist’s linework. It’s also very popular – to the tune of more than 375,000 #watercolortattoo posts on Instagram.
There are no rules when it comes to how to style your next tattoo – and that includes the pigmentation. While it may not be traditional, UV, or blacklight ink, is another consideration. Not all artists will work with it, and it may cost you more, but you’re definitely less likely to see someone with the same thing walking down the street.
Now that you have a bit of inspiration for what you can do with a micro-tattoo, the next step is deciding where you want to put it. When it comes to small tattoos, the sky’s the limit. For the smallest tattoos, here are a few places to consider.
The wrist may seem like an obvious location, but consider all the different angles you can choose from. From the top of your wrist to the sides or directly under your palm, a wrist tattoo is likely to be on permanent display and could potentially receive more sun exposure than tattoos in other places.
Tattoos behind your ear may not be as visible to the general public, but it certainly won’t be something you get a chance to see very often either. Still, celebrities like Adele and Rihanna are fans of little tattoos behind the ear with big meaning.
When it comes to a micro, minimalist design, the finger is almost too perfect. With less space than nearly any other part of the body, there’s almost no other way to go but small on the finger. With over 189,000 tags on Instagram for #fingertattoo and celebs like Kylie Jenner and Emilia Clarke on board, finger tattoos are on-trend for microdesigns.
There’s no denying that your foot is a painful spot to get inked, especially if you choose to go with a design that will include a lot of shading. Simple silhouettes or line designs may be better suited for this sensitive area, particularly because tattoos done on the foot can run over time. For more intricate, colorful micro-tattoos, perhaps consider another area of the body.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to getting a new tattoo, from the content to the size to exactly where you want to put it. With new trends and styles emerging all the time, the inspiration can seem endless.
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