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How to Put a Unique Twist on a Common Tattoo Idea

Caroline is a design enthusiast who appreciates tattoos that put an original spin on popular content.

Anchor tattoos are some of the most common and classic designs out there. This monochromatic, stencil-style anchor tat presents a well-known icon in a fresh way.

Anchor tattoos are some of the most common and classic designs out there. This monochromatic, stencil-style anchor tat presents a well-known icon in a fresh way.

Are you worried about getting a tattoo that's too common—something that everybody already has? Is your heart set on something that many people get but that means something to you? Read my tips about how to change a boring, common tattoo into something unique and personal.

What Are Some Common Tattoo Designs?

Here are some of the most common tattoos. These are designs you'll see on many different people from all walks of life.

  • Roses
  • Tribal Designs
  • Stars
  • Crosses
  • Angel wings
  • Crowns
  • Butterflies
  • Dragons
  • Anchors
  • Celtic symbols
  • Guns
  • Names / Dates / Quotes

There are many other types of tattoos, but these are the ones that people most commonly choose from.

Flower tattoos are everywhere, but the white border and and starburst embellishments on this one give it a unique feel.

Flower tattoos are everywhere, but the white border and and starburst embellishments on this one give it a unique feel.

There are many good reasons for all of these tattoos. They represent one's culture, strength, beauty, and other attributes that are very meaningful. But who wants something that they will see on everyone else?

I've found several ways to make an old tattoo idea new and interesting. It's important to add personality and uniqueness to any design that will be a permanent part of your body. If you get tattoos to be special and different; why would you want to see your design on everyone else?

Tribal tattoos are extremely common, and while there are subtle differences between most, many still look alike at first glance.

Tribal tattoos are extremely common, and while there are subtle differences between most, many still look alike at first glance.

How to Make a Classic Design look Fresh, Unique, and Original

Here are some ideas to add character to your common tattoo idea!

  • Color: Tattoos don't have to be gray and black! Adding color to your design can make it stick out—in a good way. If you prefer a simple black design, adding a small border of blue or red can help make your design special.
  • Abstract Designs: Many people have stick-straight crosses and curved roses. Why not change the shape or border? As long as people can tell what it is, let your creativity run wild! Even if the angel you've always wanted has tiny pink wings and a square halo, you'll be happy that it doesn't fit into the crowd.
  • Quotes and Words: There are some words that many people get because they help give courage or symbolize the meaning of life. Using an uncommon word that means the same as the word you want can help your tattoo stand out from the rest. Grab a thesaurus and look up words with similar definitions to the word you want. Translating your quote into another language—perhaps the language of your native country—is another idea.
  • Combinations: Are there two different pictures you like, but both are over-used? You can combine them into one under-used but beautiful idea! I saw someone at a local tattoo parlor that combined two of the most popular ideas, roses and Irish four-leaf clovers, into a clover made completely out of bright purple roses. It sounds different, but it looked beautiful!
  • Hidden Meaning: Is there an object, idea or person that simply defines you? Maybe your first car, your deceased grandmother, or your young child could be the basis of your new body modification! Hide the car in the center of the anchor, or put Grandma's name in cursive letters around the butterfly's wings. Since every child is special and different, think of what makes your baby unique and run with the idea!
  • Get Second Opinions: Ask a trusted friend or your tattoo artist if they can think of anything to help differentiate your body art from everyone else's! Consulting with other minds will give you a fresh perspective and confidence that your design will have character.
This tattoo uses weapons to spell out the word love! How unique is that?

This tattoo uses weapons to spell out the word love! How unique is that?

A Quick Warning

Remember, you probably don't want to make your tattoo too weird! Anything offensive, ugly, or simply strange might lead to serious regrets. If your heart is set on something that many others have, go ahead and get it. The fact that you're willing to sit through pain to get a tattoo makes you special enough! It's good to be an individual, but almost nobody wants to feel bizarre. Go with your gut!

These fire and water tattoos are unique because of their placement and their  incorporation of lotus flowers.

These fire and water tattoos are unique because of their placement and their incorporation of lotus flowers.

Comments

carolinekirby (author) from Indianapolis, IN on February 28, 2012:

I agree that there are a lot of stereotypes involving tattoos. I'm actually working on an article about that right now. I'd say that people should make their visible tattoos simple and unoffensive if they need to get a job working with the public. Stereotypes about tattoos are not as prominent anymore, though. Over 20% of people in their 20s now have them, and it seems like the number keeps increasing.

Luis E Gonzalez from Miami, Florida on February 28, 2012:

Interesting to say the least. How would people deal with stereotypes associated with having visible tattoes?

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