Names of tattoo lettering styles

Updated April 13, 2018

There are literally hundreds of tattoo lettering styles, with names like "flame style," "medieval scroll" and even "Buffy the vampire slayer." Any font that exists can be used as a style for tattooing. However, not every tattoo artist will offer the same styles. Traditional tattoo artists that only do hand-lettering may only be experienced in a handful of styles. Artists who use modern technology can create a printout of your tattoo text in the style you choose with a simple software program.

Tattoo Styles

Like any art form, tattoo is constantly evolving. Each artist contributes his own talent and skill to create new styles and build on traditions. However, several basic styles of tattoos are widely recognised in the industry. If your tattoo combines lettering with picture art, the style of the lettering may look best if it matches or coordinates with the tattoo style. For instance, a straightforward font, such as "English calligraphy," may look best with a realistic portrait tattoo, while a tribal-style tattoo may be enhanced by lettering inked in "Tribal scroll."

Popular Styles

Choosing a tattoo lettering style because it is popular is a risky decision. Styles come and go in body art just as they do in fashion, bu a tattoo is forever. It is best to choose a lettering style because you feel that it enhances the look or meaning of your text. In 2010, popular styles of lettering were those that looked "icy" or "fiery," according to the Best Tattoo Gallery website. A Japanese style of calligraphy called Kanji was also popular during this time period. Mincho Kanji, a more formal offshoot of the style is comparable to "Times New Roman" in Japanese body art.

Tattoo Text

Some people choose to have words or names tattooed on their body as a way to memorialise a loved one or proclaim their devotion to a living companion. Words or phrases may also be chosen to represent a life philosophy such as "live, love, laugh" or "one day at a time." Whatever the reason for these permanent markings, the website for "Smithsonian" magazine reports that humans have been adorning their bodies with tattoos of letters and symbols for thousands of years.

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About the Author

Jo Burns has been a freelance writer since 1980. She specializes in articles relating to home and garden, alternative health care, travel, writing and crafting. In 2007, Burns received an M.F.A. in creative writing.