Tattoo Ideas & Tips: Text, Lettering, Script & Quotes

Updated on January 23, 2016

Before you start with a text tattoo, it’s probably more comforting to go with a tattoo artist who knows how to do lettering well. When in doubt, inquire. You'd be surprised that some tattooists don't do text tattoos.

Artist: Tarlito @ One Love Tattoo
Artist: Tarlito @ One Love Tattoo | Source

POPULAR FONT STYLES

  • Handwriting: Windsong, Honey Script, Dear Joe etc.
  • Script: ILS Script, Nina Script, Piel Script etc.
  • New Age: Titillium Text, Monoment, Greenbeans etc.
  • Old Skool: Tattoo, High On Fire, Tattoo Sailor etc.
  • Gothic: Dearest, Headline Text, Blackletter etc.


01. Tumblr | 02. Clumsy Hands Tattoo | 03. SheClick
01. Tumblr | 02. Clumsy Hands Tattoo | 03. SheClick

QUOTE IDEAS

Below are just some sick quotes (which I'm pretty fond of myself) for the little Zen master in you. Updated as and when I come across good ones that I've just got to share, feel free to comment and add on!

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
– Plato

The doer alone learneth.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.
Buddha

Fall down seven times, get up eight.
– Japanese
Proverb

Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.
– Maori Proverb

Show me a hero, and I'll write you a tragedy.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Not all those who wander are lost.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
– Lao Tzu

Some may never live, but the crazy never die.
– Hunter S. Thompson

'Saint', when flipped shows 'Sinner'
'Saint', when flipped shows 'Sinner' | Source
Nine Inch Nails logo (mirrored ambigram)
Nine Inch Nails logo (mirrored ambigram) | Source

AMBIGRAMS

A unique way to word your text is ambigram. Ambigrams are essentially a play on word(s); they’re cleverly designed in a way that appears to have different readings, when read at different perspectives.

Take the extreme right image above as an example, it shows the word ‘Father’, when read upright as well as upside down. The image beside is trickier; it shows the word ‘Saint’ when upright and ‘Sinner’ when rotated.
· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·
Some popular ambigram types are:

  • Mirror
  • Rotational
  • Natural


Massive essay tattoo. TL;DR
Massive essay tattoo. TL;DR | Source

QUOTES

You might want to get inked with a quote that you strongly believe in, they could be your motto in life, and a representation of your ideals or principles you adhere to.

Instead of tattooing a wall of texts, keep it short and sweet. While you may really like Nietzsche’s Twilight of The Idols, you probably shouldn’t get a couple of pages from it, on your body.

Pick out your desired excerpt and highlight the genius of it. Simply put, choose your favorite line. For example, if I liked this piece:

" The laws that keep us safe, these same laws condemn us to boredom. Without access to true chaos, we'll never have true peace. Unless everything can get worse, it won't get any better. "
– Chuck Palahniuk, Choke

For my tattoo, I would probably single out the sentence “Without access to true chaos, we'll never have true peace.”

Below are some examples that do not over-quote and are aesthetically pleasing:

01. Buttonquail @ Lj | 02. Mehndi Design | 03. Beau-foto @ Flickr
01. Buttonquail @ Lj | 02. Mehndi Design | 03. Beau-foto @ Flickr

Would you consider getting text tattoos?

See results

SPELLING

Please, one word: Spell-check. You might have snorted to that, but seriously, ladies and gents. Nothing can be more upsetting than having mom’s name spelt wrong.

Most often, the client and tattooist share an equal blame in misspelled tattoos. As a tattoo artist, he/she should be as accurate as possible – after all, being meticulous is part of their forte. As a client, you should make sure to check yourself in the mirror to see if it’s the correct representation of what you’d imagined before the needle hits your skin.

TONE

The kind of attitude you’d like your tattoo to express is as important as spellchecking it. If you’re getting an endearing quote to remember your dearly departed grandma by, please do not go for a font like Dead Bitch (yes, it's a real font – the irony).

Choose a font fit for the feel you’re going for, prowl sites like DaFont.com to have a good look at the countless font styles available. Type the desired text(s) and have a preview of them in a couple of fonts you like, then narrow them down to that perfect one.

Artist: Mister Cartoon @ Mister Cartoon
Artist: Mister Cartoon @ Mister Cartoon | Source
Upside-down Korean Hangul (alphabets)
Upside-down Korean Hangul (alphabets) | Source

FOREIGN PHRASES vs GIBBERISH

If you’re thinking of getting words or phrases in another language, please do some research. As exotic as they look, they could be an embarrassment to wear around as well.

Do not get it generated from online translation programs. Half the time, it doesn’t make much sense. Bear in mind that most words have double entendre, and you could be lucking out – getting the one that makes the least sense and the most mockery out of you.

Hanzi Smatter is an excellent place for verifying your Asian character tattoo. (It also goes to show how many people don’t actually know the meaning of what’s on their skin.)

Not all English phrases have an (exact) equivalent in Mandarin, Japanese or Korean etc. To translate them directly would sometimes warp the original meaning of the intended phrase or sentence.

The best solution really, is to actually ask someone who is a native speaker. Relax, if you know no one who’s such. There’s always THE practically ALL-KNOWING INTERNET! Get on forums dedicated to learning Thai or Sanskrit for example. Post a polite request asking for the correct translation and writing (this is important) of the word, phrase or sentence that you have in mind. Most forummers in these message boards are usually friendly and extremely helpful; remember to say “Thank you”!

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Tip: Blow up the text that you have so as to give your tattooist a clear idea of the character layout. This is especially important if your tattoo artist is unfamiliar (i.e. does not read or write in that particular language) with the language.

Questions & Answers

    © 2012 Peony

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • P FOR PEONY profile imageAUTHOR

        Peony 

        4 years ago

        Vvitta - Thank you! And good luck with your hub (:

      • Vvitta profile image

        Kalaichelvi Panchalingam 

        4 years ago from PETALING JAYA

        Am just working on a piece on a similar subject. Hope it is as great as yours. Love your article. found it very informative.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, tatring.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://tatring.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)