61+ Tattoo Ideas and Designs for Men

best tattoo ideas for men

Last Updated on July 22, 2019 by Kimberly Crawford

Deciding on which tattoo to get is very important, and one decision to be taken seriously. Learn more about common tattoo ideas for men and their meanings.

The reason you have decided to get a tattoo is likely very different from your neighbor, friend, or uncle. A tattoo is a very personal expression and it usually carries a significant meaning to the man whose skin it touches.

So, it’s no wonder most people agonize over what to get inked with. Should your tattoo be funny and quirky or serious and somber? The answer usually lies in your motivation to get tattooed in the first place. Read on for a few inspiring tattoo ideas for men.

Memorial Tattoos

When someone who is no longer in your life has left a mark on your heart, it is natural to want to memorialize their spirit with a tattoo. Often, people will search out a very skilled tattoo artist to re-create a portrait of that special someone.

Think about what you’d like this tattoo to say. It could be that person’s name alone or with significant dates (birth and or death). You may want to add a sentiment as well, such as “always in my heart” or “brothers forever.”

There is no wrong way to design a memorial tattoo, just make sure you’re happy with the sketch before the artist begins inking.

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Tribal Tattoos

Tribal bands are somewhat of a trendy thing these days, but many of these designs resemble some of the earliest tattoos we know of.

Tribal tattoos are meant to provide you with a link to your ancestral heritage, so if you opt for a tribal tattoo, try to find something with meaning. For our ancestors, a tribal tattoo was used as a rite of passage, and each tattoo was unique to each person.

If you’re considering a tribal tattoo, browse designs and find out more about their meanings with a book like “Modern Tribal Tattoo Designs” by Lora S. Irish or “The Tribal Tattoo Pack” by Andy Sloss.

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Dragon Tattoos

Dragons represent a majestic power, wisdom, and strength. They are popular choice for men’s tattoos because of their symbolism, and because they can be very detailed works that will show off the skills of a master tattoo artist.

In Japanese mythology, dragons are very different from those of the West. They do not have wings, and they may not even breathe fire, though flames may erupt from their limbs. It is common for the Oriental dragon to be pictured with a pearl or a ball, which represents the spiritual essence of the universe.

In Oriental lore, the dragon is a benevolent being, which controls the winds, rain and protects the planet from evil-doers. In contrast, the Celtic dragon, who once adorned King Arthur’s helmet, is associated with the devil and sin.

It is usually depicted with bat-like wings and fiery breath. It is very similar to the dragon of the West, and is commonly thought of as a cave-dwelling, treasure-guarding being. Either type of dragon would work well on a tattoo. Your choice really just depends on the message you would like to portray.

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Cross Tattoos

You may decide on a cross for reasons of style, religion, or ancestry. Your motivation for choosing this type of tattoo should shape how the work is drawn.

For example, if you are only getting a cross tattoo for style reasons, you may want it to be a strong departure from the religious symbol. You might want it adorned with barbed wire or a tribal design. For a religious symbol, you may want a tattoo of Christ on the cross. Or, if you’re Irish, a Celtic cross can be a good way to honor your heritage.

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Skull Tattoos

The skull and crossbones tattoo symbolizes death, but it also has become a cliché. Nothing symbolizes tenacity quite like the skull, but you can find more creative ways to work the skull into your tattoo.

Try combining many skulls to create another shape or just add twist by giving your skull a creepy grin. Skulls are also used as symbols in Native American culture. For example, the cow or buffalo skull has become a symbol of the American Southwest.

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Scorpions and Spiders

Any summary on tattoo ideas for men would not be complete without mentioning the creepy crawlies. The scorpion could symbolize your astrological sign, if you are a Scorpio.

The spider, in most cultures, is looked at as a treacherous creature that cannot be trusted. They cast their webs and sit in waiting, until an unsuspecting victim comes along.

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