Different lettering styles for tattoos

Written by bronwyn timmons
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Different lettering styles for tattoos
(Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tattoos are an ancient form of body modification that are very common in popular culture today. Lettered tattoos are becoming increasingly popular according to Rankmytattoos.com, as tattoos of words often hold sentimental value and personal meaning to people. There are literally dozens of lettering styles and fonts that can be used for tattoos, however some are used more often than others.

Old English text

Old English text is a font used primarily for large tattoos. This lettering style is notable for the way capital letters are portrayed with extra lines. According to Rank My Tattoos, this is the most popular lettering style for tattoos.

Liquorice strings

Liquorice Strings is a lettering style that uses a lot of spirals in circular letters. The letters look like they are composed of pieces of stringed liquorice.

Dark wind

This tattoo lettering style uses square and rectangular shaped letters. For example, instead of the letter "o" appearing as a circle or oval, it appears as a square.


Cursive lettering, sometimes called Quigley Wiggly in font books, is a font where all of the letters are connected through loops. The letters are written out without lifting the pencil. Lettered tattoos in cursive print may be large or small, making this a versatile font for tattooing.


Unicorn is a lettering style very similar to cursive. However, the letters in cursive are usually thin and delicate, whereas the letters in Unicorn are bold font.

Hero of Fools

The letters in Hero of Fools are slightly lopsided, with some of the letters being placed higher above the others. This is a thin font, making it easy to use in both large and small tattoos.


Helvetica is the most commonly used font in the world, seen on most road and street signs. This is a very simple and easy to read lettering style with no extra lines or designs added to the letters.


Graffiti is a lettering style that uses sharp lines, including in letters that are normally rounded. This font is sometimes referred to as Fearless in font books.

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