There are a lot of reasons why someone would be interested in getting a small tattoo. Maybe they want a personal tattoo that they can keep to themselves. Maybe they want a design that will fit on a finger, toe, wrist, or ankle. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have some design options to choose from before you commit to a small tattoo. Below you will find a bunch of the most popular small tattoo ideas.

The initials

Whether they’re your own or the initials of a loved one, one to three small letters are easy to find a spot for on your body. The back of the neck is a good one if you want it more concealed, or some initials between your thumb and wrist makes for a classy yet edgy tattoo. You can also split the letters up, perhaps putting one on the back of each of your arms.

The flower

What’s great about the flower tattoo (and others on this page) is that you can go in so many directions with it. If you want an extremely meaningful tattoo, then you can easily find a flower that fits your personality and wants. If beauty is a bigger factor for you, then you can simply look up “beautiful flower tattoos” and you’ll easily be able to find a flower that works for you. It’s not surprising at all that flower tattoos continue to be some of the most popular tat designs out there.

The compass

There are a lot of designs out there that remind people to stay focused on their goals, but the compass is easily one of the best. The compass is also a very beautiful image even without all of the meaning attached to it, so you can be happy with one of these even if you’re not always looking to it for motivation. The hand or arm is the most popular body locale for a compass tattoo.

The lightbulb

If you are the type of person who always likes trying to think about the next great idea, the lightbulb is an excellent small tattoo design for you. Not only does it work for that meaning brilliantly, it is also a design that can be as small as you want. Everyone will recognize what it is immediately even if you just get an outline of a lightbulb. Of course, you can also make it an extremely detailed lightbulb without having to make it too big at all.

The emoji

The emoji tattoo is a new tattoo design, but it definitely works if you’re trying to think of a cool small tattoo to get. Obviously you can get absolutely any emoji that you want. If you want to get a simple smiley or frowning emoji, do it! If you want to use the classic emoji with a unique expression, you can go ahead and do that too!

The snake

The snake often symbolizes reinvention, which is a great tattoo meaning for plenty of people. Sure, a lot of people get larger snake tattoos that wrap around their arms or legs, but it can be small too. In fact, the snake tattoo is one of the best small wrist tattoo designs out there. Before you commit to it, be sure to check out all of the snake species out there so you can have a snake tattoo that you can be really proud of.

The smiley face

Some people are and want to remain happy, so the smiley face tattoo is the perfect small tattoo for them. If you want to go really small with this one, just get dots (eyes) and a smile. This tattoo can be placed anywhere on your body, including your fingertip if you get a really small smiley face tat.

The infinity symbol

If you’re looking for a small tattoo idea that meanings “endless possibilities,” then you’re probably not going to find a better design than the infinity symbol. This is also one of the better small tattoos to get if you want to get a ton of meaning in an extremely simple design.

The globe

What’s great about the globe tattoo is that you can go in many directions with it as far as design goes. For example, some people decide to keep it simple by making their homeland the only filled in part of the globe, while others colorize the entire globe to show that they love traveling. You can also just do the outline of the globe if you want to get a very tiny globe tattoo.

The flag

Want to show that you’re patriotic without having to get a huge tattoo? Well, then just get your country’s flag! Some flags are a bit more detailed than others, but you shouldn’t need more than an inch and a half to make it look great on your skin.

The heart

Even though there is a huge list of tattoo designs that represent love, the classic heart tattoo is still a favorite all over the world. You can get a heart tattoo in absolutely any size, but many people believe that they actually look better as small tattoos. As with most other small tattoo ideas on this page, you can get this tattoo as simple or as detailed as you want.

The favorite animal

A lot of people think that an animal tattoo is out of the question when they are thinking about getting smaller tats, but the truth is that most artists have no problem making smaller animal tattoos. The only time you shouldn’t get a small animal tattoo is when you know you’re going to want a bigger tattoo of the same animal later on. This is yet another small tattoo idea that works very well when you do the outline rather than trying to get it overly detailed.

The dots

The tribal tattoo has long been known as one of the most popular tattoo designs around, but the truth is that there are a lot more people out there with dots tattoos. Not only are dots tattoos extremely easy to make, believe it or not there are a lot of great dots tattoo meanings out there too. For example, the three dots / ellipses tattoo can represent a story that hasn’t finished yet, which can be a very deep meaning to the owner. Even though the dots tattoo is something you could do on your own, we highly recommend that you have an artist do it for you to make sure that it’s done safely.

The star

One or a small collection of stars can be an excellent little tattoo. If you want something larger, you can create an entire night sky, but just a single bright star on your back or chest can be a nice touch. You can make it a few small dots or you can make it cartoon star with eyes and a big smile, this one can be as flamboyant as you want it to be.

The shape

A small circle, triangle, or square can be a much more attractive tattoo than it first sounds. Your joints are a great spot for these, as the tattoo acts like a little marker at the spot you bend. These tats are usually better smaller and simpler. You can add some color if you’d like that triangle to look like the prism on the cover of that Pink Floyd album, but an all-black shape is a nice accent to a larger variety of tattoos on an individual.

The motto

If you’ve got one tiny phrase that you have to repeat to yourself, a small tattoo on the bicep, collar bone, or wrist might be the best place to put it. No matter how basic the phrase, putting “love” or “smile” somewhere on your body can be an excellent reminder to yourself and whoever can see your tattoo.

The symbol

Sometimes the basic symbols of language can turn into beautiful pieces of body art. An ampersand (&) looks modes in a word document, but see what happens when you put it on your elbow or ankle. Or if you have a favorite astrological sign that means something to you, a good tattoo artist should be able to put a unique spin on it to make it your style.

Here are some of our favorite small tattoo ideas:

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