There’s no design or style which can’t be made into a fantastic tattoo in the hands of the right tattoo artist, however that doesn’t mean there aren’t some warning signs which you should look out for which may indicate you could do with a little more time thinking about the ink you’re getting so you don’t find yourself in need of laser tattoo removal in the future.
Here are five of the biggest cliches tattoo artists cite as most commonly requested, and reasons you may want to go another way with your next piece if you were intending to include them.
1. Tribal Designs
The tattoo that’s so cliche it’s almost cliche to include it on a list like this. Tribal designs can be incredibly powerful and meaningful pieces of art if they have meaning and ties for the recipient, but when that’s not the case, all anyone else will see is “well, this looked cool in the tattoo book when I turned 18.”
2. Foreign Characters
Characters from another language, most commonly Japanese Kanji, are another popular choice which can easily go wrong. In addition to questions about appropriation when worn by individuals with no ties to Japanese culture, the complex nature of Kanji means that even a well-meaning tattoo artist can leave you with a mistranslation which doesn’t say what you had hoped.
3. Words of Wisdom
A favorite line from a poem or movie is a popular selection at any tattoo parlor. So common, in fact, that many of the most common tattoos are those which carry the same motivational phrases. While there’s nothing wrong with opting for such a tattoo if the quote really moves you, if you’re not in love with it there are better options.
Many symbols, such as the semicolon movement, are powerful iconography and can mean a great deal to those who get them tattooed. Often, however, other symbols like the infinite symbol are used as a shortcut to having a “deep” piece of ink.
In an ideal world, all relationships would be forever. We don’t live in an ideal world. While parents, siblings and children are usually a safe bet, always take time to be sure it’s a great idea before getting a partner’s name inked onto you.
If the tattoo you were looking to get runs afoul of one or more of these rules, don’t worry. They don’t guarantee it won’t be a great piece of work. Speak to a tattoo artist and see what they can do for you. They can help you refine your design to incorporate the styles you want in an effective way.