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.
TIPS FOR YOUR LETTERING TATTOO
Tattoo lettering has been popular for many years because, for many, expressing meaning, emotion or remembrance is often easier with words than pictures. There are a number of ideas and concepts that you can do with lettering or word tattoos, such as:
- Motivational or Inspirational
- Quote Tattoos
- Memorial Quote Tattoos
- Signatures of Loved Ones
- Family Quotes/Saying Tattoos
- Bible Verse Tattoos
- Patriotic Lettering Tattoos
- And More
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 in 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.
The History of Lettering Tattoos
With connections to the earliest form of human expression, lettering tattoos have a long history.
Lettering tattoos take their queue from many different styles of signage, aesthetics, and historical movements.
While lettering may seem simple enough, there is a world of design that goes into any lettering tattoo.
Every single aspect of lettering uses very particular techniques that should be paid much attention to.
From filigree to spacing, every decision made by an artist is made with intention.
While Sumerian archaic writing and Egyptian hieroglyphics are presumed to be the earliest forms of human writing, these symbols were ideograms rather than being based on the language of the people.
Usually these symbols stood for an idea or word without actually conveying sound for that particular word or idea.
These forms of text are found in Egypt, India, ancient China, and Mesoamerica where tattooing was also considered an ancient art!
Although these esoteric designs are no longer used in our everyday writing, it is highly likely that you’ve seen tattoos at one time or another that use the symbols associated with ancient hieroglyphics.
The contemporary tattoos of today, however, are most closely associated with hand painting signs and books found in ancient tribal cultures.
Many lettering tattoos of today are directly influenced by medieval calligraphy found in Old English, Gothic, and other fonts from the distant past.
The Greek, Roman, and Arabic cultures are also to thank for many of the lettering tattoos we see today with aesthetics, fonts, and style finding influence in these cultures.
While these influences are not as obvious as, say, more figurative tattoos featuring portraits or animals, lettering tattoos are an art form influenced by various ancient cultures around the world and these designs are still used all over the world today!
- Research the artist and their portfolio.
The first step before getting any tattoo is to research the quality and skill of the various tattoo artists. But when it comes to lettering/words – it’s important to go a step further and seek out tattoo artists who specialize in strong lettering tattoos and fine line tattoos. Often, customers will make the mistake of seeing some great tattoos that catch their eye in portfolios, but that are nothing like the tattoos they are wanting to get. Not all artists enjoy or specialize in lettering tattoos, so this will help ensure you find the right artist for your style tattoo!
- Know your quote and check the spelling and accuracy.
Our shop has tried to make it as easy as possible for customers to submit tattoo requests, including our website, social media, phone and in-person, but this convenience can sometimes get challenging with word or lettering tattoos for a couple reasons. Often, clients will request a quote tattoo without knowing specifically what they want. While we appreciate and encourage the excitement, it is very difficult to schedule your appointment with the right artist, and for the right amount of time if YOU do not even know what you want. This will also help prevent multiple last minute tattoo design changes, which can end up costing you more time (and more money).
- We also strongly recommend proofing (and re-proofing) your tattoo lettering quote before submitting a request for an appointment.
When we receive a tattoo request, we put that exact information into our system, and that exact letting us what the artist will ultimately use to create your tattoo. It is your responsibility to ensure the accuracy, grammar and spelling of the tattoo, prior to your appointment. We have some extremely talented artists, but we are not spell-checkers, able to decipher slang/concepts or ensure accuracy on long quotes. You will always have the opportunity to view and proof your lettering BEFORE it gets tattooed, but we strongly suggest you ensuring its accuracy from the start!
- Selecting a font for lettering tattoos.
Selecting the perfect font for your lettering tattoo is a fun and important part of the process, but can also be a pretty challenging aspect due to the endless number of fonts available. Because of this, we require our tattoo lettering customers to research and select the right font for their tattoo prior to their appointment. Our artists will always provide some guidance and tips, based on your specific tattoo and meaning, but it is very important that you research and find the right font to ensure you like the tattoo for the lifetime of the tattoo.
Selecting a font for lettering tattoos
Lettering tattoos are possibly the trickiest to get right and the most rewarding when they’re done properly.
Because they literally spell out whatever it is you are making reference to, they can be a bold move because anyone who sees them can read them.
You may not care about the nitty-gritty details of punctuation and grammar in your day-to-day, and that’s fine.
The problem is when something is on you forever and it’s spelled wrong, or has a misplaced apostrophe, it can distract from the original intention of the tattoo.
People stop seeing a beautiful quote and start seeing a permanent mistake on your body, which can become a bit of a joke.
You don’t want your fresh ink to be a source of embarrassment, so check and triple check and have a third party check that tattoo stencil before its too late!
Intricate fonts, or fonts with thick and thin lines do not make for good tattoos. This also applies for fonts that are very condensed or close together. As your tattoo ages, it will naturally expand within your skin. Intricate fonts will naturally begin to expand, and overtime may distort the quality and legibility of the tattoo!
Your tattoo lettering size MUST be at least 1/2″ tall or more. Tattoos less than this size will not last or hold up their legibility and quality well long term, which is why our artists will not tattoo small lettering.
We do not suggest certain areas for your lettering tattoo, such as the side of your fingers, the side of your foot, or within any natural bends or creases on your body (like the wrist crease or elbow ditch). Depending on how much tattoo coverage you have, our artists may refrain from any hand, neck or face.
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 is 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.
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.
How To Keep Your Tattoo In High Quality
- Follow your tattoo artist’s advice.
Each tattoo artist has a different take on how you can preserve your tattoo. Even if this sounds unusual, it’s better to trust the tattoo artist when they tell you to moisturize daily or to not wash for at least 24 hours. This is because tattoo artists know their work more and their years of experience can help them determine the best way to care for the tattoos they made.
- Keep moisturizing.
No matter who your artist is, they will always remind you to moisturize the tattoo. During the first few hours of your tattoo lettering, you will notice that the skin will look reddish to the point that it bleeds. But you don’t have to worry about this because this is a natural skin reaction to the invasive body art.
- The best way to treat this is to add moisturizing lotion. If you don’t have any, petroleum jelly will do. A moisturizing lotion will help the ink to bond more with the molecules on your skin. This will keep the tattoo’s quality intact. It will also avoid unnecessary flaking with the skin.
- Hide it from the sun.
One of the culprits of tattoos gone wrong is sun exposure. Yes, it’s not just a bad artist’s work or a low-quality ink that ruins the tattoo, but it is also too much sun exposure. To say the least, sun exposure causes discoloration on your tattoo. This is why tattoo artist’s advice is that you stay out of the beach for at least two weeks so that you’re sure your tattoo is tucked away. Although it’s not so bad if your tattoo gets exposed to the sun once in a while, make sure that it isn’t too long that you might get sunburned.