Out of hundreds and thousands of tattoo designs the world has produced, there are few that stand out and continue to ink their way onto generation after generation. Here’s a list of the 50 most popular tattoo symbols and designs.
This is the most requested tattoo design ever. I am not sure why folks really want tribal tattoos in this modern world, but perhaps the contrast of savage design and the new-age body gives a certain level of charm. Besides, tribal designs are quite intricate and attractive, offering rich choices for the tattoo enthusiasts.
Tribal tattoos consist of an exciting array of tattoo design possibilities, ranging from the traditional tribal designs of indigenous and aboriginal cultures to the latest in graphic design for the ink-hungry body.
2. Star / Nautical Star
There is something about stars that is very pleasing to the eyes. Aside from the fact that stars symbolize fame, guidance, and luck, these striking symbols create exciting tattoo designs that even celebrities can’t refuse. Victoria Beckham and Rhianna are two of the most well-known celebrities rocking star tattoos.
The cross tattoo is very popular not only among Goths but also with those who want to express their religion, and those who just love how the design looks on their skin. The most popular cross designs include the Celtic Cross, Maltese Cross, and the Iron Cross.
Angels are religious symbols that are believed to be winged spirits intended to deliver the word of God to mankind. They are considered higher beings and therefore a nice niche for a cool tattoo design. Angel tattoos are very popular among all cultures in various forms. They can also take the form of an archangel like Michael or Uriel.
This is a tattoo design that is both magical and spiritual. In many legends and myths, to have wings is a reward given to those who have proven their worth. And aside from the aesthetics a pair gives to any design, knowing that it is associated with speed, elevation, and freedom is enough to make wing tattoos among the most requested tattoo symbols and designs.
Of all the tribal tattoo designs, Maori is one of the most famous. Some love this tattoo design so much that they would even try to offer their entire face for the craft. Take a look at the Top 20 craziest facial tattoos ever attempted.
Dragons are symbols of power and mystery. Legends of both Eastern and Western origins depict dragons as creatures to be feared and worshipped. We can’t really deny the coolness of a dragon tattoo so that makes this one quite popular.
If you think it’s cool for a bird to rise from its ashes, then you’re not alone. In fact, all of us are thrilled by that mystical act, yet only the Phoenix has the ability. The Phoenix is a mythical bird and the Phoenix tat is a much inked reality. A phoenix tat is also rumored to express one’s hunger for immortality. Don’t we all want to live forever?
The butterfly tattoo is really popular among the female population. I have yet to see a guy with a butterfly tattoo, but I’m sure they’re out there somewhere. Mariah Carey really made this one very popular during her ‘Butterfly’ days. And it sure clicked.
A butterfly tat can represent beauty, metamorphosis, freedom, happiness, and fragility. And those are elements women can definitely relate with.
For those who like magic and magical creatures, a fairy tattoo is always the most common choice. Knowing that fairies have the power of flight and can make wishes come true, it surely is fun to have a fairy tattoo, especially if the design is elaborate and fanciful.
Whether you are a leader or follower, a lion tattoo can instantly project an image of strength and leadership on any ink collector.
12. Celtic Knot
A Celtic knot symbolizes the eternal and intertwined nature of the human soul. This tattoo symbol is usually worn as an armband. Whether you’re appreciative of its meaning, or you’re entirely clueless, no one can tell. Celtic Knotwork can look really impressive as a tattoo design.
There’s something about Kanji tattoos that makes everyone an instant fan. Every time I see a tattoo consisting of Chinese characters, I usually like it, despite the fact that I have no idea what it means. And most people, even those who own the tat, might be clueless of their tat’s true meaning. Well, as long as the people around you don’t understand it either, there won’t be any problems. Just enjoy the view.
Much like a lion, a tiger is the epitome of strength. The distinctive coloring makes the tiger tattoo a very attractive design. A tiger tattoo seldom looks bad. I haven’t seen a bad one so far.
Dubbed as the most powerful and seductive among all flowers, who could resist the beauty of a rose? The quintessential flower of the West, a rose can mean a lot of things – beauty, deception, femininity, love, or even passion and lust. A rose tattoo is always something that attracts attention, and this is one of the reasons why this tattoo symbol and design is very popular.
Oh, I guess this one needs no explanation. Who still hasn’t seen a heart tattoo? They are everywhere. From our relatives to famous celebrities, a heart tattoo has a place in everyone’s errr … heart. It symbolizes life, love, and passion.
Zodiac tattoos are popular because everyone can personally relate to them. If you use and believe in the Gregorian calendar, your personalized Zodiac tattoo will represent who you are.
The skull is a recurrent symbol in tattoos due to its unique appearance. Menacing and scary, skull tattoos can take different forms and themes depending on the creativity of the tattoo artist.
Well, flower tattoos are quite famous regardless of the species or color. Though the rose is a popular choice, others opt for other varieties and use them as design motifs.
20. Pin-up Girl
Beautiful girls never go out of style, do they? And this tattoo design is proof of that. Pin-up girl tattoos are very popular among male body art enthusiasts.
Powerful and majestic, the eagle is one mighty bird. And a fierce eagle tattoo always rocks.
A crown tattoo represents one’s sovereignty over his own life, feelings, thoughts, and actions. It symbolizes self-control, and serves as a reminder to use power and authority wisely. I don’t know about you but I think I just love the meaning of this tattoo symbol.
The sun is the giver of light and life. Without it, everything will perish. Well, at least that’s what is said about the symbolism of sun tattoos. Nobody wants to perish, I suppose.
An anchor tattoo symbolizes safety, salvation, and hope. People must have been getting anchor tattoos in order to be anchored onto a safe and stable ground. In a world that’s chaotic and violent, who wouldn’t want such refuge?
An Ankh is an Egyptian symbol representing the key of life. I must admit I fell in love with the ankh tattoo‘s unique appearance. The looped cross just looks beautiful and definitely would look great as a tattoo.
Barbwire tattoos are popular in prisons and other places that scream ‘confinement.’ However, thanks to Pamela Anderson, the barbwire tat is now mainstream.
The Om symbol is believed to be the sound of the “breath of God.” The symbol is placed at the beginning of most Hindu texts as a scared exclamation to be uttered at the beginning and end of every prayer or mantra.
I’m not sure if Batman has a bat tattoo, but I presume he must, as bats are generally considered creatures of good luck in the Far East.
A popular choice among sailors, swallow tattoos generally symbolizes good luck and homecoming.
Spider tattoos can be deadly images, with malignant meaning. Beware of women wearing spider tats. They’re black widows. Nah, just kidding.
For those without a sense of direction, a compass tattoo might be the ultimate solution.
Crazy about love? Or ,you’re just a plain home-wrecker? Well, a cupid tat might do the trick of hiding your real intentions.
These little angels are just so cute that we just can’t resist creating a tattoo design with them as the main motif.
Snake tattoos mean renewal, taken from the snake’s ability to shed skin. They may also mean temptation and knowledge. So if you think you’re hot, then you will definitely look hotter with a snake tat.
35. Fleur de Lis
This is a stylized design of either an iris or a lily; a very stylish and decorative tattoo. This symbol is associated with Joan of Arc and represents liberty.
Haida tattoo symbols are among the most popular tribal tattoo designs. The bold lines of the Haida designs are very much tattoo material because of their complexity and aesthetic quality.
A sword is commonly associated with valor and justice. It can also be magical in the sense that legends and myths often portray swords with magical powers. Add He-Man and She-Ra to the equation and you have a very nice sword tattoo to show off to your buddies.
If you failed to ace your exams, getting a dolphin tattoo might help remind you that you are still the most intelligent mammal on the planet.
Aside from fairy and butterfly tattoos, dragonfly tats are also popular among women. They are associated with good luck and are considered as the power of light. Whatever that means, dragonfly tattoo designs can look really cool, which explains the popularity.
Fish tattoos can have varied meanings depending on the design employed. They can be symbols of fertility or wisdom. The Koi or Carp fish are very popular fish tattoos.
41. Flames / Fire
Fire is all-consuming and destructive but it can also mean purification and renewal. It may also mean change, and passion. See if your hotness factor increases once a fire tattoo is inked on your already hot bod.
42. Gun / Pistol
Of course gun tattoos are popular in both sexes. Though initially they are worn by those who have served time in prison for violent crimes, they are now worn by those who think getting eagle or fire tattoos is for wimps. They opt for a more killer tattoo design and gun tattoos give them that need satisfaction. Check out 12 Killer Gun Tattoos.
43. Harley Davidson / Motorcycle
The Harley Davidson motorcycle has been an icon of American freedom, popular amongst bikers and Harley riders around the globe. Here are 10 Cool Harley Davidson tattoos for your viewing pleasure.
Alongside roses, lotus flowers are among the most powerful of all the flower symbols. In many religious systems, lotus represents spiritual purity because of their beauty and their ability to grow in the murkiest of water.
45. Luck / Clover
Tattoos are deemed to be powerful amulets and talismans of protection. At least that’s what our ancient ancestors believe. Clover or Luck tats then become popular to embody such belief. There is nothing wrong with hoping you win the lottery or the girl of your dreams with that nicely done clover tat.
46. Musical Notes
Music lovers show their deep passion for the art through these attractive musical note tattoos.
Scorpio tattoos are said to protect the bearer of the tattoo and ward off a scorpion sting or an evil spirit.
There is a yin and yang in all things. One is said to be incapable of existing without the other. Yin-Yang tattoos are popular among men and women from all walks of life who believe in this popular Chinese philosophy. .
This symbol represents danger and betrayal. So be wary of a friend who has a dagger tattoo.
50. Love / Pierced Heart
A pierced heart is a quintessential symbol of being in love. A love tattoo design showing a heart shot from the arrow of Cupid can also suggest penetration and physical love.