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Tattoo Font & Lettering Style Guide

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If you’re interested in getting a letter, word, or quote tattoo, you’ll need to make a very deliberate font choice.  Font can change the whole vibe of a tattoo, so you’ll need to make sure the font fits not only the phrase you’ve picked, but also your intentions or personality.

Two very basic ground rules for any letter-based tattoo:

1) It should be clear and legible
2) It should fit seamlessly on the part of the body you’ve chosen. 

These two considerations may impact your font choice.  There are innumerable fonts in the world to choose from, but there are a few fonts and lettering styles that have become staples in the tattoo community. 

Let’s introduce you to those here:

 

1) Foreign Characters

Many English speakers choose to tattoo a phrase in a foreign language on their bodies.  If the language does not use English letters—like Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, or Hebrew letters—you have to be very careful.  If you don’t speak the language, obviously make sure the text is correct, but when going to a tattoo artist or using our freehand ink to draw a foreign character yourself, beware that a single wrong move could change the meaning of the tat entirely.    

We have several foreign character tattoos that you can count on for accuracy:

Product Name: Migg
Price: $19
Dimensions: 1.6 x 0.5 inches

Product Name: Hubb
Price: $19
Dimensions: 1.75 x 0.75 inches

 

2) Script 

Script tattoos bring class and sophistication to tattooed words and phrases thanks to cursive handwriting.  Script tattoos work best horizontally, so body placement is particularly important when choosing this type of font.  Flowing and elegant, script tattoos are a great way to bring grace to body art.

Check out our script tattoos:

Product Name: Sirimiri
Price: $21
Dimensions: 2.6 x 1.6 inches


Product Name: Nosce
Price: $19
Dimensions: 2.5 x 0.5 inches

 

3) Celtic Lettering

Celtic lettering tattoos feature bold, curved letters from Celtic languages, including Irish, Scottish, Gaelic, Welsh, and even extinct pre-Roman languages.  People looking to honor their Celtic heritage may opt for a Celtic lettering tattoo, or anyone may be drawn to the inviting curvature of these English letters. 

Check out our Celtic tattoos:

Product Name: Querencia
Price: $19
Dimensions: 1.5 x 0.25 inches

Product Name: Wellaway
Price: $19
Dimensions: 1.75 x 0.25 inches

 

4) Graffiti Style Lettering

Inspired by street art, graffiti style tattoos feature letters that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Since spray paint is the number one medium for graffiti, many graffiti-inspired tattoos look as if the letters have been written fluidly and imperfectly, the way they’d take shape on a wall via spray paint can.   

Our catalogue includes a couple of graffiti-inspired tats including this one:

Product Name: Khutulun
Price: $19
Dimensions: 1.5 inches

 To ink yourself in the following styles, grab our freehand ink and give lettering a shot:

 

5) Block Lettering

Best for single letters or words, block lettering is basic and boxy.  You can find block lettering on a lot of college apparel or sports team jerseys.  If you want to celebrate your alma mater or your favorite team, our temporary tattoo ink can help you do that in block letters.  Check out these for inspiration:

LEFT  | RIGHT

 

6) Classic

Iconic in the tattoo world and sometimes known simply as “tattoo font,” classic lettering can be identified thanks to its alternating thick and skinny lines. 

Check out these tats featuring classic lettering:

LEFT | RIGHT

- Deborah Oomen