Scroll and Banner Tattoo Meanings, Ideas, and Pictures

Updated on May 22, 2017
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Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.

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Scrolls and banners can be used as a means of giving shape to text and lettering in a tattoo. Instead of letting tattooed words just float on your skin, without a frame, a scroll (which looks like a piece of rolled parchment) or a banner (a long, artfully folded strip) give the tattooed text a beautiful setting.

It is just like having a blank piece of paper and writing what you wish. You could ink your family member's names, a favorite quotes or phrase, or a special date. So what do you have to say? What is important? That is basically the only question that is left. Think about what is meaningful to your life. It may be a parent, sibling, close friend, a partner, or someone inspirational. This is the perfect design to work with if you're looking for a meaningful tattoo.

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What Do Scrolls and Banners Symbolize?

The scroll or banner, alone, has no specific meaning. It is basically a blank piece of paper. The meaning depends on what you write on it.

Scrolls date back to ancient Egypt and they could be found in most literate cultures that existed thereafter. They preceded bound books and were the format first used for longer documents written in ink or paint. Clay tablets were also used, but scrolls were much fancier. Only the most important words were preserved this way, so they are the perfect framework for your most important words, thoughts, and beliefs.

Symbols and elements added to your design can also give it meaning. Any element or symbol can be added. If your scroll portrays hearts, it may represent love, passion, or desire. If your banner is decorated with a cross, it may represent your faith, religion, or God.

Ideas for Scroll or Banner Tattoo Designs

Family Names
Include first or surnames.
Birth dates, death dates, or the date of any important life event.
Religious Quotes
Any name, word, or phrase that is spiritually significant to you.
Any symbol that represents your memory: religious icons, flowers, praying hands, portraits, etc.
The lyrics of a song, a quote from a book, a line of great dialogue, a life motto.
Dove, crucifix, angels, etc.
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Design Ideas

When it comes to scroll or banner designs, anything can be done. It is one of the few tattoos that is truly versatile. You can incorporate any symbols that feel appropriate. If you are religious, you may want to add symbols that represent your faith. If you are Irish, you may consider adding four leaf clovers or Celtic art. If you are a sailor or fisherman, perhaps an anchor or swallow.

Choose your font carefully. Do you want it to look handwritten or machine made, script or typewritten? Do you want a playful font or something more serious? Do you want black ink or would you prefer color? Some prefer cursive, some like Gothic or Old English writing. Japanese and Chinese characters are also used.

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Before You Decide

There are a few things that you want to consider before you get any tattoo. Make sure that you take the time to research it fully before you make your appointment so that you fully understand what your tattoo represents and stands for. You don't want to get inked and find out later that it represents something different from what you first thought.

Don't rush to get inked! Impulsive tattoos lead to regret later on down the road. Trust me, you don't want to go through the process of cover ups and laser removal.

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Questions & Answers


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      • kashmir56 profile image

        Thomas Silvia 4 years ago from Massachusetts

        Hi my friend thanks for another of these great tattoo hubs !

        Vote up and more !!!

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

        I was expecting a dream hub. Wow, these are very personal and beautiful. I appreciate your warning to those not rushing to get inked. My son has tattoos and it is particularly important, at least in my mind, to not get them where they are too obvious, as to one's future employment may be limited, as is my son's. However, nowadays, it is better than it used to be. However, as his were below his elbows and one on his neck, certain professions just say no right from the start.

        Voted up +++ and sharing

        God bless, Faith Reaper