2020 shaped up to be a real dumpster fire of a year, so we decided to look to the future to discover what’s on the tattoo horizon. Although a once-in-a-century pandemic has hindered many a tattoo plan, that has not stopped artists and patrons from creating some truly remarkable ink art. So, what will be the hottest tattoos of 2021? We imagine the tattoos that people didn’t get in 2020 and still want.
Micro tattoos, hyperrealism, and minimalist tattoos will trend, we’re certain. We have already seen a surge in these tattoo “genres” and we know from the love they receive on social media that they’re sure to be the trendiest styles of 2021. We’ll explore the coolest tattoo trends of the coming year as well as some tattoos that you’ll probably want to avoid. These tattoos have been shunned by tattoo artists, so you know that their time in the sun has passed. Check out the top tattoo trends to come and the designs you should avoid.
Ear tattoos are not new, but they’re exploding right now and we imagine people’s fascination with them will only continue to grow. These tiny works of art are excellent alternatives to piercings or help make your favorite jewelry shine. Whether these tattoos are featured in, on, or behind the ear, they’re sure to start a conversation.
Blackout tattoos consist of dramatic ink-blocking that either covers existing tattoos or just takes up a lot of real estate on the skin. These tattoos are not for everyone as they take a lot of time and will cause a considerable amount of pain. We’ve seen this trend grow consistently over the past few years and we foresee it exploding by 2021.
Teeny tiny micro tattoos are on the rise. With the popularity of stick and poke designs also increasing, these little hand-poked gems will be cropping up everywhere. This adorable spool of thread and needs is a miniature wonder.
Micro Realism Tattoos
We expect to see plenty of very small designs, but what we’re on the lookout for most is the new trend of micro-realism tattoos. These tiny works of art take a magic touch that not all artists are going to feel comfortable doing. The ones who can pull off designs like the one above will be in high demand.
The newest thing the kids are doing these days is 3D tattoos. They feature a double impression of the same design done in contrasting inks. The result is a truly wonderful look that’s unlike any trend before it.
Tarot has been around for centuries, but tattoos inspired by it are currently on the rise. Tarot tattoos feature cards or beloved imagery from them that act as a sort of branded talisman. We love these designs and the way they look on the skin.
The Japanese culture of cute has taken the world by storm time and time again. We’ve been treated to famed characters like Hello Kitty! and Pikachu over the years and now, artists are doling out cute designs left and right to keep up with the growing desire for hyper-cute tattoos.
The stars have fascinated us forever and so it should come as no surprise that astrology-inspired tattoos are one of the hottest trends right now. Getting a constellation or imagery inspired by a sign of the Zodiac is almost a right of passage for some.
Minimalist tattoos were the first tattoos in many ways. Returning to the basics will be a more desirable prospect than ever before. Bold, black-ink designs with little fuss are going to be the name of the game in 2021.
Witchy tattoos of all sorts are on the rise and we love these crystal plus botanicals designs we’re seeing these days. These tattoos are deeply personal and carry with them hope and new possibilities.
There’s a birth flower for every month of the year and tattoos of them just might compete with astrological tattoos in 2021. Florals are always a smart choice for tattoos as they express a love for nature and organic beauty.
Get that ombré, baby! Gradient color tattoos look incredible and feel young and fresh. While black ink dominates the game, people will be venturing out of their comfort zones and into more colorful territory in 2021. 2020 was a dark year. In the following years, expect folks to savor life like never before.
We’re entering peak Baby Yoda with tattoos of the internet’s favorite character. The Child has inspired countless memes, but also a number of adorable tattoos of his precious face. This will only intensify over the coming months as more and more people realize that the force is strongest with this little one.
The next two trends have been around for a couple of years and they’re related. Sketch tattoos take elements of drafting and give a tattoo design a ton of movement and life. Dramatic hatching and shading are a feature of this trend that we expect to dominate in 2021.
Again, ‘Rona tattoos and 2020 tattoos are going to be huge. The pandemic will continue to take up space in our brains for the rest of our lives. While it’s living rent-free there, why not also grab a tattoo to remind you of its impact.
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2020, In General
Prepare yourself for the ubiquity of “I Survived 2020” tattoos in the coming months. This amazing dumpster fire tattoo is somehow perfect. More of the same, please!
White ink tattoos are somewhat controversial as they tend to fade much more quickly than others. But, that fact is not going to stop many folks from hopping on this trend as it looks so haunting and unusual.
Tattoo design always follows the headwinds created by more established “fine art.” Subject matter consisting of everyday objects like cups, chairs, pie, and utensils will continue to thrive. Elevating the mundane to art is always an attractive prospect.
Finally, we share with you one final 2021 tattoo trend for you to look out for. Glow in the dark tattoos or blacklight tattoos were once considered a fleeting fad, but people love them, and more and more are learning about them. After a year mostly tucked away at home, folks are looking for ways to shine bright both in the day and at night.
Now, we move on to tattoos that are misfires. Donald Trump tattoos are not going to age well as our society continues to grapple with the lasting effects of his unprecedented presidency. Whether you love him (we’re sorry) or hate him, this polarizing figure should be avoided in tattoo form.
Now, we understand that an excellent meme is, in its own way, a work of art. However, tattoos of memes will probably not age well as they often are an extremely specific byproduct of a pop culture moment. Live your life, but we’d advise against anything like this.
Do you want the kind of attention that a tattoo like this will bring? We would bet that this dude has heard the same bad joke about his optical illusion tattoo hundreds of times. People will keep getting similar and we urge you to reconsider!
The 3 L’s
If you gather a room full of tattoo artists in a room and ask them about their least favorite tattoo jobs, the “live, laugh, love” tattoo will surely come up. We urge you to be a little more thoughtful or original. Tattoo artists design pages of flash designs if you’re after something different.
Another design tattoo artists are tired of is the pocket watch with roses. We have no idea why this is a thing, but these designs have flourished over the past couple of years and show no sign of slowing. Try and imagine something you’ve never seen before. Artists do it for a living.
There you go! The best and worst tattoo trends of 2021. What tattoos are you wanting to get? We hope you feel inspired by this list, but remember to think outside the box and to get plenty of input from an artist you trust!
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
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