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Tattoo Lettering and Text Font Styles

Updated on February 11, 2013

Art and Tattoo Lettering

Tattoo lettering, wording, and fonts are very popular choices for a stand alone tattoo design or to play part of the overall tattoo design. Lettering is a frequent request heard in tattoo shops. Some artists specialize in lettering.

People like to tattoo names of the people that are or were an important part of their life, the dates of a memorable day, and to have a written proclamation of their beliefs and philosophies. It is an interesting way to visually convey a person’s opinion or view.

Lettering is also a nice accompaniment to a beautiful tattoo. Often people like to combine a portrait with dates and names.

Lettering is an art form in itself. The selection of beautiful fonts combined with a talented artist can greatly add to the visual impact of a tattoo. Former graffiti artists turned tattoo artists are generally successful at changing mediums. Usually wording is one of their specialties.

Ambigram Tattoo Designs

This is a newer style of text art that is growing in popularity.

Ambigram tattoos are unique to other styles of lettering. You can almost think of it as a visual puzzle. The lettering is one or more words that are visible and discernible in two directions. Right side up or upside down. Symmetrical ambigram tattoos have the exact same wording in both directions. A more complex version displays one word when read in one direction but a DIFFERENT word when read in the opposite direction. This is referred to as an asymmetrical ambigram.

Some web sites sell ambigrams of popular tattoo words and phrases. That way all you have to do is purchase the word or words you want and truck it right down to your favorite tattoo shop and they make your stencil from that picture. There's also software and web sites where you just plug in any word and it'll come up with a design for you. This type of automated ambigram is handy but bound to have its limitations.

If you’re serious about wanting a unique ambigram with words of your choosing, then you need to look for an artist that is adept in the field. You’ll pay extra money but you will be able to choose your font and have your design made to your specifications. Truly a one of a kind design which is important to some ink collectors.

Ambigram Tattoo

Ambigram Tattoos

Tattooed Names

There are a couple of unwritten laws when it comes to tattoo lettering. The number one no-no that all individuals should heed – never get a lovers name tattooed on you.

Some people believe this is almost as bad as putting a curse on the relationship. Get your boyfriend’s name tattooed on your arm – and expect to have the relationship hit the skids in the near future. I've also saw a man and his wife both get their names put on each other. They divorced within 3 years.

Because of their professional experience in the trade, tattoo artists will usually try to discourage their customers from making this mistake. Usually people in love are blind to reality so most of these warnings fall on deaf ears. This is one of the reasons the tattoo removal industry is doing so well!

The other unwritten law – check the spelling. I can’t say this strongly enough. Check and double check. I’ve witnessed this problem first hand a couple of different times.

If you are a fan of tattoo reality shows, you’ve probably caught an episode that brought this problem to light.

One time I was in my friend’s shop and this young girl wanted her boyfriend’s name tattooed on her neck. He was in the service, she was in love, blah,blah, blah.

He had a Hispanic name – which this young girl gave to my friend. My friend repeated the name, wrote it down and asked her to check the spelling. Her answer – "I think that’s how you spell it".

She wasn’t sure how to spell the guy’s name. She got it anyway. That real life example is a perfect illustration of the 2 worst mistakes you can make. That was 7 years ago - do I have any doubts that the couple is no more? None whatsoever.

Tattoo Names

Written Tattoos

Customer Getting Tattoo on the Rib Area

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    • Sue826 profile image

      Sue826 6 years ago from Albuquerque

      Thanks Metalmomma27! - love your handle

    • metalmomma27 profile image

      metalmomma27 6 years ago from Hornell,New York

      Totally Awesome man! Love it. Keep em coming!!! Rock on!

    • profile image

      mariem 6 years ago

      arabic tato

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      They look great to me. It is unusual for a dog to write a HUB too. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and awesome.” I'm now your fan! RJ

      Based upon your HUB, you might enjoy today’s HUB…

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Tattoos are no longer an extreme form of expression. Even grandmothers are getting them!