Like your clothes, your tattoos should reflect your style and personality. For guys who have a chilled-out approach to life and like a classic, minimal look, simple tattoos are an ideal choice. Think black ink, simple lines, and stripped-back designs that look cool and are meaningful, without getting too complicated. Keep reading to find the perfect simple tattoo for you.
1. Forearm Tattoo
Your forearm is ideally suited for a simple line-based or geometric tattoo. Other options are word or name tattoos in simple handwriting. While both small and large designs would look great placed there, more prominent tattoos will stand out from the crowd. To keep your larger forearm tattoo from becoming too complicated, choose a design that only uses black ink.
2. Hand Tattoo
As your hand is a smaller part of your body, a small, simple tattoo would look best when placed there. You could try a straightforward geometric hand tattoo design or pattern on the back of your hand. Another option is a simple message or slogan that communicates how you feel about life.
3. Finger Tattoo
When it comes to finger tattoos, the simpler, the better. Finger tattoos tend to blur quickly, so clear, precise, and stripped-back designs look better and last longer than more detailed ink. Try a ‘hidden’ word tattoo on the side of your finger, a superfine ring tattoo, or starburst.
4. Ankle Tattoo
The fashion trend of cropped trousers without socks makes an ankle tattoo an excellent option for men. Simple and classic designs like circles, one-word messages, and anchors are trendy. Crossed arrows are another strong choice as they represent travel and friendship.
5. Chest Tattoo
Many men choose large, complex chest tattoos, but less elaborate options work well with this placement too. Consider a simple yet meaningful design, like a name. One trend that is becoming popular is a scientific molecule tattoo of serotonin, known as the ‘happiness hormone.’ A serotonin tattoo shows others that you value happiness and joy.
6. Shoulder Tattoo
While many guys choose large, bold shoulder tattoos, a stripped-back design can look equally good if it suits your personality. A meaningful yet minimalist design – such as a binary code, Roman numerals, geometric pattern, or short quote – are all excellent choices for laidback guys who want a simple inking.
7. Simple Rose Tattoo
Rose tattoos have been popular with men all over the world for years. They are a classic tattoo design because they represent both the beauty and pain of life. For a simple take on the rose tattoo, choose an outline design without shading or color. The rose is still recognizable but looks more subtle.
8. Butterfly Tattoo
Butterflies represent freedom and transformation, which is why they are so popular. To give your butterfly ink a masculine and straightforward look, opt for a black ink outline design. Many men choose their wrist or chest for a butterfly tattoo, and both look equally good. A chest butterfly tattoo has a more striking impact, while a wrist butterfly tattoo is more subtle.
9. Cross Tattoo
One of the simplest yet most meaningful tattoos is a cross. For religious guys, this inking carries a lot of power. It is a reminder of your faith, commitment to leading a Christian life, and that God is always with you. For laidback men, a cross tattoo doesn’t need extra embellishments – this simple inking says it all.
10. Dragon Tattoo
Dragons are powerful, fierce, and strong, which is why they are such a popular tattoo choice for men everywhere. However, your dragon inking doesn’t have to be big or detailed to have an impact. Guys with a laidback or minimalist style can adapt the dragon into a stripped-back design, like a dragon circle.
11. Mountain Tattoo
Mountain tattoos often represent a person’s connection to the wilderness or act as a reminder of obstacles they have overcome. These ancient natural land formations also symbolize eternity, consistency, and order, as mountains ‘cannot be moved’. Because they have a geometric shape – a triangle – mountains work very well as a simple tattoo.
12. Wave Tattoo
Similar to mountains, waves have an instantly recognizable shape that makes them ideally suited for a simple tattoo design. Waves make for a meaningful tattoo because the ocean is constantly moving and changing, and can’t be controlled. All we can do is accept it and move with it. As a result, guys who have a relaxed approach to life often choose wave tattoos.
13. Compass Tattoo
The compass represents navigating your way through life, or a love of travel. It can also pay tribute to the most important thing in your life – a concept or person that guides your decisions and choices. While there are many simple compass tattoo designs, one of the best ones for laidback guys is a simple two-line tattoo with letters for north, south, east, and west.
14. Elephant Tattoo
Elephants are a symbol of prosperity, good luck, and wisdom. Because of the animals’ long lives and memories, many people with ‘old souls’ are drawn to elephant tattoos. As a unique and popular animal, elephants suit a more stripped-back tattoo style. And as they are grey, there is no need to add color to the inking.
15. Skull Tattoo
Skull tattoos not only look badass but also have a variety of cool meanings. Many men choose these tattoos as a reminder to live every day as if it is your last and to make peace with mortality. While skull designs can be adapted to suit many different art styles, it’s hard to go past the classic simple skull.
16. Sun Tattoo
The sun represents life, energy, and happiness. It’s a simple, powerful symbol that makes for a great tattoo, whether small or large. Have your artist draw a circle and add lines to represent the sun’s rays. Your ink will be instantly recognizable and will look awesome.
17. Cat Tattoo
Cats are some of the most beloved animals on the planet due to their mysterious, independent personalities and cute appearance. They are also very recognizable and easy to turn into a tattoo. If you are a feline lover or want to pay tribute to your pet, do it with a simple cat tattoo.
18. Crown Tattoo
A crown tattoo will make you feel like a king! While many men choose a more detailed, ornate crown inking – or combine it with other designs, like a lion – it will look just as good as a simple outline or silhouette tattoo. Crowns also make for a fantastic yet simple matching couple’s tattoo.
19. Heart Tattoo
Hearts are one of the most enduringly popular choices for tattoos. They look great – particularly in the Old School art style – and are very meaningful. Heart tattoos can represent love, heartbreak, and grief, and make a great standalone inking or addition to a sleeve. A simple black heart tattoo is ideal for guys who want a meaningful yet minimalist design.
RELATED: 20 Heart Tattoos for Expressive Men
20. Moon Tattoo
Moon tattoos have many different meanings. People who prefer the night over the day may choose them for that reason. However, they can have a deeper symbolic representation too. The moon often represents transformation, as it waxes and wanes over time. A simple crescent moon tattoo is an excellent choice if you want to express how you have changed. It is also a classic choice for a couple’s tattoo when paired with a sun-themed inking.
21. Owl Tattoo
Owl tattoos are becoming more and more popular, and it’s easy to see why. These striking birds stand out in any art style and represent wisdom and knowledge. Many cultures also consider them to be spiritual guides. Try a simple line-drawing owl for a unique and modern inking.
22. Tree Tattoo
Nature lovers would look great with a tree tattoo. Not only do they symbolize a person’s connection to the natural world, but they also represent long life, growth, and protection. Palm tree tattoos can also symbolize a relaxed and optimistic approach to life – perfect for guys with a laidback personality.
23. Lion Tattoo
The lion is the king of the jungle, and these proud, majestic animals are a favorite tattoo choice for men all over the world. While some guys go for the photorealistic art style, lion tattoos can look equally good with a simple design. A minimalist line drawing of a lion looks peaceful yet powerful.
24. Anchor Tattoo
Anchor tattoos represent hope and safety. They are also a popular choice for couples’ tattoos. Because they are such a simple, meaningful, and recognizable symbol, there is no need to add too many details to an anchor tattoo. Many guys choose to get an anchor on their wrist – so they can always see it – or on their ankle, to help them stay grounded.
25. Arrow Tattoo
Arrow tattoos are simple and stylish. They suit many different placements on the body but are especially popular as arm and leg inkings. Arrows symbolize your direction in life – staying true to your path and achieving your goals. They can also be a great reminder to avoid distractions and stay true to yourself.
26. Simple Tribal Tattoo
An excellent option for a simple tattoo is a tribal design as the smooth lines and black ink ensure the tattoo will stand out. The organic shape of a tribal tattoo suits a shoulder placement because it curves around your upper arm muscles and bone, meaning it won’t look static but will instead move with your body.
27. Bear Tattoo
Bears are associated with courage, power, and parenthood, as these animals are known to protect and defend their cubs. They also represent primal instincts and intelligence. From pandas to polar bears or a mighty grizzly, there are many bear tattoo options. For a simple take, choose a black ink line drawing or silhouette of your favorite bear.
28. Fish Tattoo
Fish are thought to represent perseverance, prosperity, and luck. A simple fish tattoo can be an excellent way to remind yourself to keep going and act as a ‘lucky charm.’ For guys who prefer a minimalist style, fish look great as a simple black ink tattoo.
29. Dream Catcher
Dream catchers were traditionally woven in some Native American cultures to stop children from having nightmares and bad dreams. They have since become well-known all over the world as symbols of protection. While many people choose realistic-looking dream catcher tattoos, they can also be adapted to a simple, geometric style that has a more masculine appeal. A dream catcher tattoo could be a way to honor your tribal heritage.
30. Angel Wing Tattoo
Angel wing tattoos can represent many things, from Biblical figures like the Archangel Michael, a person’s ‘guardian angel’ who saved them from a terrible event, or a tribute to a loved one who has passed away. The simple version of an angel tattoo strips the design back to essential elements: wings and a halo.
What is a good first tattoo for a guy?
A small, simple design is a good first tattoo for a guy, especially if you're feeling a bit hesitant. Small tattoos take less time, so you won't have to commit to hours of pain. Plus, it'll give you a good idea of how the process works from start to finish, and there is less ink to heal, which can be a great bonus.
How much does it cost to get a small tattoo?
Most tattoo shops charge by the hour, so getting a small tattoo can be reasonably inexpensive. However, some shops will have a minimum starting price. Expect to pay between $50 and $200 for something small and basic. The more details and colors you have, the more time it will take and the more it will cost.
Are tattoos on guys attractive?
According to a 2017 study from Polish researchers, called "Tattooed men: Healthy bad boys and good-looking competitors." women perceived men with tattoos as healthier and more masculine and dominant, but not necessarily more attractive. However, masculinity and dominance can be desirable traits themselves. On the flip side, some people consider tattoos to be an indicator or impulsiveness and recklessness.
Why are tattoos attractive?
Tattoos are attractive because it shows the wearer as strong, brave enough to go under the needle, and healthy enough to survive any infection. Plus, they can highlight your best body parts, drawing attention to muscled biceps, strong backs, and manly chests. Just make sure to pick a skilled artist who will deliver excellent quality work. While tattoos can be attractive, there's not much that's less appealing than a terrible tattoo and regrets.
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