Lettering Tattoos Meaning, Design & Ideas

Most people imagine big, detailed designs when they are thinking about tattoos, but lettering tattoos are just about as popular as all other tattoo designs. With lettering tattoos, you are simply getting words on your skin that mean a lot to you. If you are interested in possibly getting a lettering tattoo, take a look at the information below to get a better idea about what your options are.

Lettering tattoos are tattoos of words, quotes, or phrases that allow the main focus of the design to rest on the font or lettering itself. When people are contemplating how to design their lettering tattoos, they have to think about how they want the letters to look on their bodies and if they might want to add any other design elements to the letters.

Even though it seems like lettering tattoos would be the easiest types of tattoos to design, the truth is that the “simpler” looking tattoos are usually a bit tougher since you have to do a lot with a little.

Calligraphic or gothic-style fonts are often chosen because of the amount of detail used with each letter of the word or words. The thick lines of the calligraphy can be bold and black, imitating the swoops of dark ink that are used with traditional calligraphy, or left blank and open, using only the outline of the thick font. This style of lettering tattoo has the cool added effect of having people focus on the letters to try to figure out what they spell.

Similar to those styles is the Old English lettering tattoo. Old English is a very popular font style for letting tattoos because they have curves and extra little elements that make the letters jump off of the skin a bit more than other fonts. As with Calligraphic and gothic-style fonts, Old English tattoos are usually done in black ink, though darker green can work pretty well, too.

Classic cursive is another great way to give your lettering tattoo a neat look. Cursive tattoos are especially popular with signature tattoos and quotes. What’s great about this style is that it looks like someone actually wrote on your skin in very permanent ink. Again, these usually look better in plain black ink, but they can also look very cool if you get them shaded with a different color.

Some people, especially those who love to write or read a lot of books, will use the typewriter font. This is a great font to use if you are getting a longer quote tattooed on your skin. For example, if you have a quote from your favorite book that has extra meaning to you, then you might find that the typewriter font makes it come to life on your skin.

You can also come up with your own font to make your lettering tattoo as unique as possible. No, this is not necessarily easy to do, but if you can pull it off it could make the tattoo feel quite a bit more meaningful. The key is to find a font style that you like and then tweak it to make it your own. After that, it just comes down to finishing it off with any extra details you want to use to make the words that much more impactful.

Besides the font, you’ll also want to think about how detailed you’ll want your lettering tattoo to be. For example, you might want to keep the lines as simple as possible to keep the focus on the word or words on your skin. Or, you might have a simple message that you want to pop off of the skin a bit more with added design elements. These are things that you can think up on your own or talk to your tattoo artist about. Remember that tattooists do a lot of lettering tattoos and will usually have great ideas for you to get the most out of your design.

Patterns can be used to fill in the space between and inside of the letters. You can add a hint of color or an additional element, depending on the pattern chosen. These patterns can be included fully for aesthetic purposes, or you might find a pattern that actually accentuates the meaning you’re going for. The idea here is to personalize your lettering tattoo to make it as unique to you as possible.

Instead, the background of the tattoo can be used as the focus. Allowing the font to be created in the negative space, the background immediately surrounding the letters is shaded with black, grey, or any other color desired. This way the word or words you use are meant to bring focus to what the rest of the tattoo is all about. This is a bit tougher to do since you need to think of both the words and the primary design element, but if you can do it you could end up with a very special lettering tattoo.

The background can be colored or shaded regardless of whether or not the font is sketched in, creating a fuller and larger piece. Sometimes the coloring will make the lettering tattoo stand out a bit more, and sometimes it will simply help to keep the lettering look like it’s part of your skin rather than just a tattoo with letters in it. It’s definitely a good idea to keep everything close to the same color so you don’t take too much attention away from any parts of the design.

Names of loved ones are often rendered in elaborate script, especially when other symbols or images are not added. These are obviously very personal tattoos that are important to the owner since they are willing to put those names on their skin permanently. In these cases, there is absolutely no need for extra designs around the words since the names themselves have such a strong impact. Dates of birth or death or both are sometimes added but in a much simpler and smaller font.

Another cool idea that you can use with your lettering tattoo is to make the words in the shape of a meaningful symbol or object. For example, if you are getting a love lettering tattoo, then you could get the words written in the shape of a heart. You could also get the outline of a specific symbol or object and simply place the word or quote inside of it to make it that much more meaningful.

Other minute details can be added as well like flowers, hearts, stars, or any other small symbols, but often the lettering is allowed to stand on its own without additions. That’s important to keep in mind because a lot of people make the mistake of adding extra images at the last second and they actually end up taking away from the overall design rather than adding to it. This is why it’s important to be patient while designing your lettering tattoo to make sure the whole thing works on your skin.

Flowing line work is most commonly added as a part of the script and made to swirl around the letters, above and/or beneath, in order to fill in the piece without adding additional elements. Often, only the first letter of the word or each word is embellished in this way, although the first and last can be extended or small embellishments made on each letter.

Shading to represent shadows is also added to give a deeper dimension to the piece. These simple shadows can take some lettering tattoos to a whole other level because they allow the letters to pop, bringing that much more attention to them.

Those are just some lettering tattoo ideas and things you should think about before you commit to a design. If you know the word or words that you want to get in tattoo form, then all you have to do is come up with a design and work with a great tattoo artist.

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