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Men's Tattoo Designs and Ideas for This Year

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As a tattoo commentator and writer, I rely on my personal experience and time working in a tattoo studio.

Advice to a Guy Getting a Tattoo

Tattoos and men mix extremely well. An awesome tattoo on a guy can transform him from boy to man but still, there are a few things men should consider before they get a tattoo.

  • Correct body placement of a tattoo on a man is very important. Use a tattoo to highlight and draw attention to a feature of your body rather than putting your tattoo just anywhere.
  • For some reason, most men skip the research part of getting a tattoo. That research usually comes after the tattoo... when it's too late. Put some thought into your new tattoo, where you're going to put it and the design you want. Collect some pictures as a reference to show the tattoo artist.
  • Once you've decided on a your design style, contact a reputable tattoo artist who works in your chosen style. Research your chosen artist's past work, or ask to see their tattoo portfolio. Do not go to the guy down the road who does tattoos for cheap in his kitchen. There's a good chance he got his tattoo machine off eBay, and in all likeliness his tattoo skills also.
  • You only get one go at getting a good tattoo. Mistakes are not an option.
Horror tattoo

Horror tattoo

Common Places for Men to Get Tattoos

  • A bit of thought needs to go into choosing where on your body you are going to get your tattoo. Tattoos that are put anywhere on the body without regard for the body's shape or natural flow can look odd and out of place.
  • Choose a place where you can see your tattoo. There's nothing more frustrating than not being able to see your new piece of body art. Put it on a body part you like, as your tattoo will draw attention to that particular area of your body.
  • Consider your future employment. Can you get away with a visible tattoo on your neckline, cuff, or forearm? Will your career path change course over the years? Don't limit yourself with a poorly placed tattoo.
  • Usually hands, neck, and face tattoos are only done on heavily tattooed people. Although nowadays, there is a trend to be extreme and to have tattoos in 'job stopping' locations. Never get a tattoo in those locations unless you're 100% sure.
  • If you need a reality check, ask your mother!

Areas of a man's body that are ideal for a first tattoo:

  • Arm
  • Chest
  • Back calves
  • Shoulder blade (but it's hard to see it here).
Unique tattoos will be talking points.

Unique tattoos will be talking points.

  • Bio mechanical
  • Horror
  • Band
  • Religious
  • Animals e.g. wolf, eagle, shark
  • Memorial
  • Kids
  • Japanese
  • Vintage flash
  • and many more.

Tattoos Men Should Not Get

There are always exceptions to any rule, as a general guideline men should avoid the following tattoos:

  1. Feminine tattoos like fairies.
  2. Flower tattoos. An exception to particular styles of flower like the Japanese lotus.
  3. Your partner's name (male or female). If you have to include a partner, consider a symbolic representation of them or just their initials rather than their name. You'll probably thank me one day!
  4. Tattoos of male or female private parts.

Common Mistakes Men Make When Getting a Tattoo

  • Not abstaining from drinking the night before. You should not drink alcohol the night before you get a tattoo as it thins the blood and affects the healing process.
  • The male ego can often be responsible for excessive sitting times. Five hours is an average, healthy sitting time. Overworking a tattoo can rip the skin apart and damage the final product, no matter how tough you are.
  • Personal hygiene, both when getting the tattoo and in the time afterwards.
  • Dirty bed sheets that touch your tattoo while you sleep.
  • Little to no tattoo aftercare.
  • Excessive body hair regrowing back after being shaved. The reason you are shaved before your tattoo is to remove bacteria that often becomes trapped within body hair. It also makes a smoother canvas for the artist.

Tattoos Nobody Should Get

As much as we like to believe that tattoos are widely accepted and no matter how much of a self expression of oneself tattoos can be, there are certain tattoos that are plain wrong! If you value being an active and accepted member of society, think long and hard about getting these types of tattoos:

  • Racially Discriminatory Tattoos. There is a huge difference between a racially discriminatory tattoo and a tattoo that embraces your beliefs. If you must get one, consider blending it into your design, not making it a plain out and right insult. It will make your life harder in the long run.
  • Naked Ladies. Especially those that shake their booties or boobs when you wiggle your muscles or jiggle your underarm.
  • Tattoos That Put Women Down. This one is self-explanatory.
  • Tattoos Intended as an Insult to Anyone. You may also find yourself in legal hot water in some countries.
  • Most Facial Tattoos. Not many of those who have a facial tattoo have no regrets. A facial tattoo is something you can never easily hide. It is always best to always leave yourself the option to cover up your ink with clothing.
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Looking After a New Tattoo

Looking after yourself and your new tattoo for the next few weeks is extremely important.

  • Avoid big benders while you are healing.
  • No rough activities or events. If you play a contact sport, take at least two weeks off to heal.
  • Follow appropriate aftercare advice.
  • Purchase appropriate aftercare cream.
  • Consider wrapping your tattoo if it's potentially going to get wet or damaged.

Basic Tattoo Aftercare

Men, make sure you look after your tattoo once you get home. Poor aftercare can lead to damage to your tattoo and another tattoo session. That potentially can equal paying a lot more money.

Basic tattoo aftercare:

  1. Wash your tattoo thoroughly with antibacterial tattoo wash when you get home from your tattoo session.
  2. Leave to air dry.
  3. Apply tattoo aftercare cream sparingly.
  4. Wash your new tattoo three to five times a day for the first three days.
  5. Apply tattoo aftercare cream as advised.
Remember, you have to live with your body art for the rest of your life (and your kids have to own you at school!).

Remember, you have to live with your body art for the rest of your life (and your kids have to own you at school!).

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Susan on March 24, 2020:

Girl, why do you keep feeding yourself this male/female tattoo bullshit? You know it don't help to fight inequalite and stereotipes between genres. Mostly of what you wrote works for both genres. Except why male can tatto fairies or flower? I think any very well executed tattoo will look amazing in anyone. Tattoo has no gender.

Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on March 24, 2014:


Anne (author) from Hobart, Tasmania ~ Australia.(The little bit broken off the bottom of AUS) on March 24, 2014:

Thanks for your comment raymondphillippe, and there is nothing wrong with appreciating a nicely executed tattoo...on someone else! :)

Raymond Philippe from The Netherlands on March 24, 2014:

Interesting and colorful hub. Don't think i'll ever get me one but some are nice to look at.

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