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10 Classic Tattoo Ideas that Never Go Out of Style

10 of the most common ideas that have become cliché for a reason.

Credit: Pexels

There are as many reasons to get tattoos as there are tattoo shapes, styles and patterns themselves. In the midst of such variety, however, lies a shortlist of certain tattoo ideas so tried & true they’d surely be in be in the tattoo hall of fame if there were such thing. You say “cliché” we say “classic” when it comes to the following tattoo staples…

1. Anchor

Photo: Pixabay

Regardless of the role sailors played in accelerating the tattoo’s rise to prominence, anyone who chooses to get an anchor tattoo will likely due so for its symbolism pertaining to adventure, stability and strength.

2. Rose

Photo: Pixabay

If anchors are the tattoos for stability and strength, roses are those of love and romance (typically). Although meaning of course varies with each specific person, roses are often chosen as a form of body art for their beauty, elegance, and symbolic potential for life & growth.

3. Tribal Design

Photo: Pixabay

Tribal design tattoos are always about power and strength in the abstract and can also connote specific cultural heritage on some wearers. They are almost always about identity and belonging and serve as decorative art in some cases and or unique spiritual affiliation in others. Unless you’re Stu in the Hangover Part II, tribal symbol tattoos are likely to convey deep meaning and genuine affiliation with whomever the wearer has chosen to represent.

4. Butterfly

Photo: Pixabay

Given many Native American tribe’s association with butterflies as the spirit of the dead, it comes as no surprise that butterfly tattoos often carry an extra layer of transformative significance. Beyond just their widely renowned beauty and grace, butterflies also stand it as symbols of freedom and independence, while also marking moments of profound change and transformation in the lives of certain individuals.

5. Skull

Photo: Pixabay

Symbolizing death and mortality at its most extreme, a skull tattoo can also merely illustrate rebellion and non-conformity in some more moderate cases. A skull tattoo can also convey protection and strength dating back to ancient warrior times or simply belie the aesthetic preferences of its wearer choosing it for the way it looks over what it could mean.

6. Cross

Photo: Pixabay/

Christianity and spirituality are the two most common reasons for getting a cross tattoo. As with several of the other top tattoo ideas however, sheer aesthetic preference is a possibility with this one too.

7. Dragon

Photo: Pixabay

Power, strength, wisdom, intelligence, and good luck and fortune are just a few of the most common reasons for selecting this awesome mythical creature. Even before posthumous publication of the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” in 2005, appearance of this mythical beast on flesh abound.

8. Heart

Photo: Pixabay

Love and romance are the two most obvious reasons for getting a hear tat, but remembrance is another common one many people might not know about as much. Often combined with a name or a date, heart tattoos can be used to pinpoint meaning along with celebrating love in general.

9. Name

Similar to heart tattoos, name tattoos have been a popular choice for years often visually representing love and remembrance. Some of the most famous name tattoo wearers include David Beckham, Johnny Depp and Rhianna, etc., all of whom the names of someone close etched on them permanently. Whether you’re a celebrity or not, you’re in glamorous company should you choose to opt for this particular kind.

10. Bird

Photo: Pixabay

Last but not least, bird tattoos are the ultimate symbol of freedom and independence, but can also connotate much more. Lesser known reasons for choosing these celestial creatures include resilience and adaptability, love and affection, and strength and power, depending on the motives of the subject.


What started in Ancient Egypt in 2000 BC for medicinal purposes has since become a widely accepted form of self-expression. Although historically Japan used tattoos to mark its criminals, they’ve evolved into an artform above all over time.

The early 20th century saw an uptick of tattoos amongst sailors, while the 60s ushered in its everlasting counterculture appeal. This ink-based art-form is by no means static and always changing, but it’s safe to say that certain western tattoo ideas have been demanded so highly that they’ll probably be “in-style” for good.

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is a Skidmore College '16 English major from NYC who hopes Arsenal win the Premier League again soon...

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