There are so many tattoo options out there, and the possibilities continue to expand if and when you decide to design your own ink. As 2021 is on the horizon, think of the new year as a time to get that tattoo you’ve always wanted, to update an old design you’ve outgrown, or try out a new artist. There are so many tattoo-related possibilities looming on the other side of January 1st, so why not just go for it? Whether you want to get that trendy tattoo you saw on Instagram or finally get that matching ink with your significant other, ahead is all the tattoo inspiration you need to go confidently into your next era with some new ink.
Why not try something fresh with your ink in the new year? Consider getting finger tattoos, which can be anything from geometric designs to more intricate, tiny details. Plus, you can always hide them with rings if you need to.
Snake tattoos are making a major splash in the inked community, so consider getting the popular design if you're looking to spice up your ink collection. A snake armband is a great way to add movement and depth to an otherwise pretty stagnant design.
Girl In Floral Bottle Tattoo
If you like flowers but want to incorporate a more personal design, designs featuring linework bodies are very popular. Here, the artist also added the phrase "Watch me as I grow" beneath the ink to give it an even more customized feel.
Tiny Elephant Tattoo
Small, minimal tattoos are just as much of a statement as huge designs! This tiny elephant tat is tucked away in the inner elbow, but its whimsical design makes it pop in contrast to its minimal line work.
If you’re interested in a popular hand design but want to personalize it, try adding a second of the same tattoo but in a different color. The red pops in contrast to the black while still being visible on its own, and the ink gains a 3D effect.
Paper Airplane and Globe Tattoo
For world travelers, consider getting a tattoo that shows off your wanderlust. A paper airplane and crisp dot detailing give a whimsical feeling to the otherwise simple globe.
Cherry Blossom Tattoo
If you’d prefer less dark linework and more colors, this cherry blossom design is the perfect mix of watercolor design and realism. The pastel colors make it feel dainty, while the shading and thin outlines make it true to life in terms of design.
Still-life tattoos are another big trend, and this is a great example of a simple but interesting still-life. The scribbles used for shading give the tattoo a hand-drawn feel, and the negative space gives it room to breathe without feeling too large or spread out.
Butterflies are a common tattoo at this point, but a great way to customize your creature is by attaching it to a specific design style. Here, heavy blackwork gives the butterfly an intense, realistic feel that's sure to stand out.
Rainbow Circles Tattoo
Sometimes, the simplest designs have the biggest impact. This design takes a few simple circles and pumps them up in rainbow colors. At the same time, the unclosed and overlapping lines give it a hand-drawn vibe.
If you want something simple that makes an impact, flames are always a good idea. This design arranges the flames in an armband, giving even more movement to the wavy fire.
Whether you’re a Scorpio or just a fan of creepy-crawlies, scorpions are bold and impactful design ideas. This one relies on crisp line work to make it pop, considering it’s otherwise fairly simple.
Famous Artwork Tattoo
Getting a famous piece of artwork is a great way to show off your passion for art, but sometimes there can be a lot of detail lost in translation to tattoo. Instead, opt for a minimal, linework version that gets the artwork across without being bogged down in details.
A pansy flower is a symbol for love, so if you love the flora or just want to show your love for their design, try getting a minimal line work tattoo. The abstract shapes used to create the design make it obvious that it’s a simple version of a more complicated design.
Anatomical Heart Tattoo
Like heart tattoos but tired of the same old simple design? This ink uses the anatomical heart as the basis for this design, and the shading and vein details make it feel realistic. This design also mimics the phases of the moon.
Paper Airplane Tattoo
If you’re someone who can’t stop moving—whether that means you can’t stop traveling or you can’t stop exploring—a paper airplane is a whimsical tattoo idea. Its simple design makes it easy to replicate and personalize however and wherever you want.
You’re a gift—don’t let anyone forget it with this bow tattoo. The dark black outline stands in stark contrast to the pastel pink pigment of the bow, but the slightly darker pink shading manages to add depth.
Delicate Branch Tattoo
If you want a tattoo to give you the air of a wood nymph or forest goddess, why not go for a delicate branch on your clavicle? The thin lines and small size of the overall design make this feel dainty, but the blackwork still makes it stand out.
Floral Circle Tattoo
Floral wreath circles are another popular tattoo design, which means there are a million and one ways to customize your ink. This one has a wreath of mostly leaves, and the red ink pops against the heavy blackwork.
Rainbow Line Tattoo
If your love of tattoos is more about the statement than the personalized design, try taking a normal or basic shape—like this line—and colorizing the lines. For extra oomph, color it rainbow like the one pictured here.
Lightning Bolt Tattoo
A lightning bolt is a popular design for those wanting something small and minimal but still bold. This ultra-thin design nestles perfectly into your inner elbow.
Another popular breakout tattoo design this year was a beautiful little cherub. You can customize them in so many ways: color or no color, flying or resting, trumpets or not. This design is all about the blackwork and focuses on the figure to make it feel realistic.
Camping Under The Stars Tattoo
If you love camping or have a fond memory attached to the outdoor hobby, a simple little vignette tattoo may be your perfect match. Everything in the design is done in black and kept relatively simple, though the shading and sizing of elements give it a real sense of depth.
Ear tattoos are another emerging trend in the tattoo industry, and it’s a great idea for those who want something minimal and intimate. Because the space is so small, in/on-ear tattoos tend to be simple, like this design with two curling lines and one central connection.
Musical Heart Tattoo
Hearts are always a great design idea because of just how customizable they are. This design looks like a music sheet turned into a heart for those who love music, but there are a world of personalization opportunities.
Two Of Swords Tattoo
For those who are fans of tarot or just fans of medieval weaponry, this sword tattoo is a great way to show off your love. This design manages to make the traditionally clunky item feel very delicate due to the extra-thin lines and light shading.
Fingers Crossed Tattoo
If you have good (or bad) luck with luck itself, a fingers crossed tattoo is another popular design choice. This hand is done with sketch-like lines, making it feel less cookie-cutter and more personal.
Colorful Wave Tattoo
Waves have been popular tattoo choices for centuries. If you want to get the beautiful work on your arm but want to customize it, try getting it done in an interesting color.
Picture Frame Tattoo
Picture frame tattoos have had a following for a while, but there are so many ways to personalize them that no two truly look the same. This design uses heavy blackwork and line work to create a simple but beautiful frame tattoo.
Behind The Ear Tattoo
Sometimes a tattoo is all about expressing your love for something permanently. If you want something small but meaningful, behind the ear is a great placement idea—it’s intimate but intriguing.
For fans of wave tattoos that want something a bit more minimal, this design is a great idea. Both featured waves are different shapes to add an interesting element, and the small dots vary the design so it’s not just one line.
Geometric Hand Tattoo
If you like the idea of a beautiful repeating pattern, consider getting a geometric hand tattoo. Geometric doesn’t have to mean crisp, straight lines; this vortex design also uses curves for a creative, realistic effect.
Eyes are another common tattoo idea because they mean so many things: seeing, knowing, the future, the past—anything that speaks to you. They’re also completely customizable in shape, color, and design, like how this one has a sketch-like overlapping line structure.
Random Shapes Tattoo
Intriguing geometric shapes are quickly becoming another mainstay in the tattoo world because of the ease of customization. Here, the shapes vary between having corners and being fluid, giving the design a sense of movement.
Moon tattoos are perfect for everyone: witches, space lovers, and all those who love the moon. This thin-lined red design stands out thanks to its simplicity, color, and delicate face details.
Semicolons have been popular tattoo designs for a long time, mostly because they symbolize something so universally true: Nothing is ever the end, it’s just a pause. Semi-colon designs are typically seen on the wrist, like the one pictured here, and often provide a powerful reminder to care for our mental health.
A cherry tattoo has a slew of meanings, but when mixed with a fun and intimate placement like this one, it tends to have a more fun and surface-level meaning. The colors make it feel whimsical, but the lack of black outline also gives it a sense of realism.
For a reminder of the house that you call, or called, home, a simple line work tattoo creates a minimal and meaningful design. You can base it on your house or one you’ve seen before, and the simple lines that are all the same size give it a simple and polished feel.
Word and phrase tattoos have been popular forever because of the ability to make it say whatever and look however you want. The placement and the script font of this design give this a delicate feeling.
Love the look of two people in love or want to celebrate you and your partner’s love? A small vignette of lovers kissing is an expressive and beautiful way to do just that. The entire piece is composed of dot work, making it feel like a pointillism painting right on your arm.