Greatest Tattoo Ideas For Men in 2022

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Getting a tattoo is becoming increasingly mainstream. We see more and more men and women with amazing body art, and we cannot help it but get a slight itch to go to a tattoo shop ourselves.

Before we head out to a tattoo shop, there are actually 5 steps we need to take care of first.

  • Step 1: Come up with a meaningful tattoo idea
  • Step 2: Present the idea to a tattoo artist
  • Step 3: Work with a tattoo artist on getting it designed uniquely for us
  • Step 4: Find a tattoo shop
  • Step 5: Book an appointment to get inked

In this blog post, we will try to help you with the first step – where to find amazing tattoo ideas for men that will help you transform your idea into a workable design.

Below you will find more than 100 tattoo ideas for men – feel free to jump straight to the tattoo designs.

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Tattoos have actually been around for thousands of years – with tattooed mummies ready to testify!

However, it did take a while until the tattoos became mainstream in the world as we know it today.

Basically, until mid 20th century, tattooing was sporadically done by brave individuals such as John O’Reily and Emma Burgh.

One of the tattoo styles that we know today, and that was initially popularized for men was Sailor Jerry tattoo style.

Around 50s, tattoos were considered a sign of masculinity, and mostly related to the underground world of thugs and criminals.

By the 70s, tattoo shops became increasingly popular and slowly tattoo art was no longer reserved for the society’s outcasts.

What Are Meaningful Tattoo Designs for Men?

Historically, men tattoos were done as a rite of passage in many cultures – going from boys to men through a unique and meaningful design for the man in question.

In the West, with the uprising of Sailor Jerry and Navy tattoos, different kinds of tattoo designs for men were popularized. There are also fun tattoo ideas that are a popular theme.

Among others, meaningful tattoo designs for men include:

  • Family tattoos –  a tattoo that will portray the eternal bond a man feels to his family, partner, and parents
  • Religious tattoos – a tattoo that usually has a Biblical scene, or just a concept from the Bible, like sun rays pushing through the clouds, with praying hands and doves.
  • Animal tattoos – popular animal tattoos for men include animals like lions, bears, ravens, snakes, eagles and wolves with strong symbolism of strength, overcoming obstacles and endurance like phoenixes, or even just animalistic objects, such as feather tattoos.
  • Tribal tattoos – aesthetically pleasing with a strong message of perseverance, masculinity, strength, and endurance, tribal tattoos have emerged from far away cultures into the Western mainstream, and with a good reason – they are a puzzle on their own, with their meaning mostly hidden for everyone but the person wearing it.
  • Geometric tattoos – lines and shapes carry a lot of meaning, even though they would look abstract to the rest of the world.
  • Realistic tattoos – depictions of nature like moons, timepieces, roses, compasses, butterflies, women figures and fictional characters are common in realistic sleeve designs for men.
  • Traditional tattoos – from Sailor Jerry to neo-traditional tattoo designs, the unique aesthetic of traditional tattoos are especially pleasing to men, with their meanings ranging from fun and quirky to deep meanings such as tattoos dedicated to mothers.
  • Flower tattoos – either using a specific flower (a favorite of your mother) like a cherry blossom tattoo, or with something dainty like a daisy tattoo, you can also go for your mother’s birth flower to include in your tattoo.
  • Heritage tattoos – a tattoo dedicated to honoring one’s roots and culture, these tattoos can be mixed with modern symbols to create meaningful tattoo designs, such as Irish and Celtic tattoos, or Native American tattoos, for example.
  • Hero tattoos – Your childhood heroes or personalities you resonate most with are a great theme for your tattoo design. So much so, many choose their favorite characters from Marvel comics, or Japanese animation series or movies to base their tattoo on.
  • Fantasy tattoos – using common mythical or fantastical creatures such as a dragon, medusa, and similar.

How To Come Up With Unique Tattoo Ideas

Now that we’ve covered the history and some popular designs, let’s see how you can come up with your own unique and meaningful tattoo.

While tattoos for men can have a lot of different meanings, most people choose to find their own significance that relates to their own life story and personality.

Think about your life

Who is that one person and that one event that has stood out in your life?

Dig deep to scrape for the things that matter most to you and that you’d like to make eternal with a piece of body art.

Think about your message

What is that thing you stand up for? Which value, or a specific character trait is important to you?

Having a message that you hold dearly, be it just an aesthetic value or a philosophy that guides you, will help you never regret your tattoo choice.

Think about your style

Your body art reflects your personal unique style. Do you like bold, realistic, colorful pieces or are you more drawn to delicate shading and black and grey play of details in an intricate black work?

This is the fashion you will wear on your sleeve, so think about what you like and where you think it would look best on you.

Best Tattoo Placements For Men

Where should you get your tattoo?

Your placement will likely depend on the size of the tattoo, as well as whether or not you want to avoid existing tattoos or scars and natural curves of your body.

The most common places for tattoos for men are the forearm, chest, back, and calves. Doing a whole or a part of a sleeve is also very popular among men.

When choosing, be sure to consult a qualified tattoo artist for their input. Also, give thought to your tattoo’s exposure to the elements and your pain tolerance. 

Best Tattoo Ideas for Men

How do you know a tattoo design is right for you? If you feel like the symbolics and significance of the tattoo fits with your personal style, then it is a great tattoo choice.

Take a look below, and check out our best tattoo ideas for men:

Are you looking for a custom tattoo design for men? We got you.

Our expert tattoo artists will provide a quick initial draft to get you going.
Happy inking ❤

Milena Petrovic

Milena Petrovic

Co-founder of Tattoo Stylist

About the author

Milena has decided to start an organization that will create a safe environment for everybody to get their first, second or third tattoo and to encourage young people to transform their ideas into tattoos safely, with talent and vision.

You can find her writing about tattoos on Quora or updating our Pinterest profile with awesome tattoo ideas!