Once associated with criminals and gangs, neck tattoos today represent bold, strong, and masculine personalities. That’s because tattoos on your neck usually can’t be concealed under clothes. Plus, the neck is one of the more painful placements for ink. Check out these tattoo ideas for men to find the perfect neck tattoo that reflects your personality.
1. Back Neck Tattoo
One of the most popular tattoo placements for men is the back of the neck. It suits a smaller or more subtle design and is ideal for your first neck tattoo. That’s because you can cover it with a collared shirt or your hair. However, if you have a shoulder or back inking, one fresh option is to connect it to a back neck tattoo.
2. Full Neck Tattoo
A full neck tattoo wraps around your throat to form a cool ‘collar’ effect. Guys who want ink that will stand out from the crowd should consider a full neck tattoo. Geometric patterns, intricate designs, and black ink all stand out with this placement.
3. Small Neck Tattoo
Neck tattoos suit any size, but small tattoos look particularly good with this placement. Roman numerals, a one-word inking, or a simple symbol are just a few of the ideas you could choose. A smaller inking is an excellent option for your first neck tattoo or if you have a low pain threshold but still love the look of neck tattoos.
4. Angel Neck Tattoo
Angels are one of the most popular designs for men’s tattoos. That’s because they can have many different meanings. For some guys, angels represent their Christian faith. For others, they are a tribute to classic art. Because angel tattoos tend to have a lot of movement and fluid lines, they suit the slight curve of the neck placement.
5. Front Neck Tattoo
The front of your neck is an excellent place for an eye-catching tattoo. It will always be visible to other people, making it the ideal placement for an artistic or meaningful piece. Bear in mind that the front of your neck is a particularly painful place to get a tattoo as the skin is thin with a lot of nerve endings.
6. Words Neck Tattoo
Any words tattoo will be meaningful, and even more so when it’s placed on your neck. Like a word tattoo over your heart, your neck makes the message more significant. Many men choose to have words inked on the front of their neck over their vocal cords.
7. Cross Neck Tattoo
The neck remains one of the most popular places for religious tattoos, including the classic cross. Bold and clear, a cross tattoo shows everyone that your faith is the essential thing in your life. When you have limited space, opt for a simple black ink cross without too many extra details. That ensures it truly stands out.
8. Rose Neck Tattoo
Roses have been popular since the original sailor tattoos. They represent both the beauty and pain of life, as well as love and death. Because they look good in any size, rose tattoos suit the neck placement. They suit those who want a cool tattoo that’s also poetic and traditional.
9. Tribal Neck Tattoo
The curved lines and bold black ink of classic tribal designs suit curved placements like your neck. For an original take on the tribal tattoo, try a design that hugs your hairline. Not only will it make your hair look thicker, but it will also have a unique look that stands out.
10. Wings Neck Tattoo
Wings tattoos usually have a religious meaning. To many men, they represent guardian angels who protect and guide them – particularly loved ones who have passed away. They also act as a reminder to be a better man and to win the constant struggle against our worst instincts.
11. Religious Neck Tattoo
If you’re looking for a spiritual tattoo that goes beyond a simple cross, turn to the Bible. You could use your favorite verse or psalm or a saint who represents your values. St Michael is a popular choice for Christian men as he is the leader of the Army of God, weighs the souls of the dead, and defends the Church.
12. Crown Neck Tattoo
Each man is the king of his life, and a crown neck tattoo shows that for all to see. Many men choose to get a crown tattoo to mark a significant achievement in life. Others like to be reminded that they are in control of their destiny and ready for success. Crowns also make for great matching couple tattoos with your other half.
13. Star Neck Tattoo
The meaning of star tattoos dates back to the sailors of the 19th Century. To them, stars represented good luck as ships could navigate using the constellations. Stars also remind us that there is light even in darkness. For both those reasons, stars have remained popular tattoos for men. They represent guidance and spirituality and are the ideal choice if you want a more minimal neck tattoo option.
14. Badass Neck Tattoo
A badass tattoo will be different for every man. The theme, art style, and color of the piece could all influence the final result. For some, weapons or skulls could be the basis for a great badass tattoo. For others, wild animals like wolves, tigers, panthers, and spiders are the right choice.
15. Eagle Neck Tattoo
Eagle tattoos are a popular tattoo for men because of their association with strength, masculinity, wisdom, and power. They are also patriotic tattoos for Americans. An eagle in flight suits a neck placement because its wings can follow the curve of the muscles in your neck, giving the inking a lifelike feel.
16. Shoulder and Neck Tattoo
One of the coolest tattoos for men is a combined neck and shoulder tattoo. The extra space means your artist has plenty of room to create a more detailed design. For that reason, a mandala tattoo continues to be a popular choice. Mandalas radiate in a circular pattern, so they look great on curved parts of the body, like the shoulders and neck.
17. Dove Neck Tattoo
Doves are associated with peace, but they can have other meanings too. For many, doves represent hope and new beginnings because of their significance in the Biblical story of Noah. They can also represent victory or the will of God. As with other bird tattoos, doves look great when placed on the neck due to the movement of their wings.
18. Owl Neck Tattoo
Owls are associated with wisdom and are considered to be guardians and protectors of the dead. Because of their rich symbolism, importance across many cultures, and fierce appearance, they have been a top choice for men’s tattoos for years. While owl tattoos suit a variety of different placements, owl neck tattoos are becoming more common.
19. Classy Neck Tattoo
The combination of a classy tattoo with the neck placement – which was once popular with gangs and outlaws – makes a bold statement. These inkings are a far cry from the rough and intimidating neck tattoos of the past. Try a more refined or minimalist design or a delicate and photorealistic option.
20. Devil and Angel Neck Tattoo
Devil and angel tattoos represent the opposing forces inside all of us – good and evil, grace, and temptation. One of the coolest takes on the devil-and-angel tattoo is a ‘whispering’ design on your neck. This unique and unusual tattoo reflects the duality of human nature and stands out from the crowd.
21. Dream Catcher Neck Tattoo
Dream catchers represent protection from nightmares in some Native American cultures. Because it’s closest to your head, your neck is an excellent place for a dream catcher tattoo. Like other symbolic tattoos of tribal imagery, they are a great way to pay tribute to your cultural heritage.
22. Eye Neck Tattoo
Eye tattoos have a lot of different meanings. To some people, they represent spirituality and intuition. However, an eye tattoo on your neck can have an added dimension. This placement is associated with the throat chakra and represents telling the truth as well as expressing yourself honestly and with clarity. If being a straight talker is one of your defining traits, it’s a great tattoo to consider.
23. Wolf Neck Tattoo
Wolf tattoos are popular with men because they are associated with the wild, untamed side, as well as loyalty and protection. As with a lion neck tattoo, wolf neck tattoos look best when inked in profile or at an angle. That’s because the lines of the tattoo draw attention to your jawline. Additionally, the artwork will look more harmonious with your face when viewed from the side.
24. Barcode Neck Tattoo
Barcode neck tattoos became popular with the release of the video game Hitman, so if you’re a fan, it could be the perfect option for you. However, barcode tattoos have another meaning too. For many people, they represent a protest against commercialism and consumerism as well as a desire for freedom. They act as a reminder to never lose yourself or your individuality.
25. Spider Neck Tattoo
Not only do spider tattoos look cool, but they also carry deep meanings. In many different cultures, spiders are associated with protection, hunting, and creation. Meanwhile, spider webs are a metaphor for life. There are a wide variety of options when it comes to spider neck tattoos, from small and simple to bold and badass. The style is up to you.
26. Sailor Neck Tattoo
Sailor tattoos feature classic maritime symbols like anchors, ropes, and ships, as well as traditional tattoo themes like roses, hearts, stars, and swallows. A sailor neck tattoo is an ideal choice for guys who love timeless inking and an old-school aesthetic.
27. Skull Neck Tattoo
Skull tattoos are one of the most versatile options for your ink. They can represent life after death, undying love, or the reminder to live every day as if it’s your last. While human skulls look great on your neck, you could try an unusual option, like an animal skull. Alternatively, you could personalize your skull tattoo with flowers, snakes, or other symbols to give it a unique feel.
28. Pattern Neck Tattoo
Pattern tattoos have been growing in popularity. From simple lines to more complex geometric tattoo designs, patterns are understated yet undeniably cool. For your neck tattoo, choose a pattern that moves with the natural lines of your muscles. That will give your inking a ‘wrapped’ effect, helping it blend seamlessly with your body. It will also have an intriguing futuristic look.
29. Peace Neck Tattoo
Many men choose their necks for their most meaningful tattoos. If you are opposed to violence and war, the peace symbol could be an excellent choice for you. Associated with the hippie protest movement of the 1960s, it’s an appropriate choice if you are an activist or love the music of that decade.
30. Lion Neck Tattoo
Lions symbolize dominance, strength, confidence, and courage, which is why they are popular with men all over the world. When choosing a lion tattoo for your neck, try a lion head in your profile. It will follow the shape of your neck and make your jawline look sharper.
Neck Tattoos for Men FAQs
How bad do neck tattoos hurt?
Neck tattoos are on the more painful end of the spectrum, and also on the trickier side. The neck is full of nerves and receptors and has minimal padding, so you're going to feel the needle a lot more. The proximity to your skull means you can also feel the vibrations in your head, which can give you a headache. Lastly, the neck is awkward to tattoo. You might have to hold a weird position, and it may be difficult to breathe at times as the artist applies pressure to hold the skin taught. Small neck tattoos will be over in no time, but if you're considering a larger piece, make sure you're ready to commit to being uncomfortable.
Can neck tattoos be dangerous?
Getting a neck tattoo is no more dangerous than any other placement on your body. An allergic reaction is the biggest risk, other than the general discomfort from the needle and the artist applying pressure. The only other thing to keep in mind is that a neck tattoo is more exposed to the sun, and the ink can sometimes cause sensitivity with UV ray exposure.
What does a neck tattoo symbolize?
A neck tattoo symbolizes that someone is adventurous and not afraid to take risks. The visible location, especially on the front or side, shows that you are confident and not afraid to stand out. On guys, it shows bold, strong, and masculine personalities.
Are neck tattoos trashy?
Neck tattoos can be incredibly divisive. Some artists refuse to do them and refer to them as "job stoppers". While tattoos are becoming more mainstream, in some environments, they can still hinder professional progress. As such, it's essential to consider your career goals and industry before jumping in. Neck tattoos can also look trashy if not done well. You'll want an experienced artist, as the skin on the neck is incredibly stretchy, making it challenging to ink in the first place. It's also hard to keep out of the sun, and is prone to early aging, making maintaining the integrity of the design and colors difficult. Plus, it's hard to hide a neck tattoo if your artist did a lousy job.
What is Justin Bieber's neck tattoo?
Justin Bieber has several tattoos on his neck. The word "Patience" is written in Gothic-style calligraphy vertically down the right side of his neck. He also recently added a long stem rose on the same side. Then, on the left, he has a bird and the word 'Forever' beneath it. Lastly, he has a set of wings across the back of his neck.
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