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The 9 Biggest Tattoo Trends of 2024

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There’s a common refrain that tattoo naysayers like to repeat: “Would you still want that design on your body when you’re in the old folks’ home?” The answer is yes. When Gen Z-ers and millennials grow elderly, we’ll be happily dotted with tattoos of tiny tacos, delicately inked rings and bracelets, and hyper-realistic portraits of our furry friends. “People are a lot more in-the-moment and aren’t as concerned about how something will age,” says Ian Haight, a tattoo artist in Portland.

As tattoos become less taboo, the qualms over placement and style are disappearing along with the stigma. “There are no more ‘good tattoos’ vs. ‘bad tattoos,’’’ says Krizo Valkov, who also tattoos in the City of Roses. “There are no more gatekeepers, trendsetters, or tattoo police of the industry. The internet has fragmented all of that into an ever-growing legions of specialists doing their own thing and their respective niche audiences that connect with their specific work.”

That said, the tattoo industry sees trend cycles just like any other, and we’ve spoken with artists across the country to gather a list of tattoo styles that seem to be on the rise for 2024. Keep reading for our predictions, but remember: the best tattoo for you is the one that you’ll still be excited to see in the mirror decades from now.

 

Memphis pattern

memphis pattern tattoo with colorful triangle circle and square — 2024 tattoo trend

When you picture ‘80s graphic design motifs, chances are the image you conjure up is of a Memphis pattern — the style characterized by colorful, bold shapes floating in space. “Think Trapper Keeper,” says Haight (or just give the Saved By the Bell opening credits a watch).

“Everyone is welcoming back the nostalgia of late ‘80s and ‘90s design trends,” Haight adds. A Memphis pattern tattoo might include a pastel triangle, a neon green squiggle, and a bright lightning bolt.

Colorful, abstract tattoos are growing in popularity, according to Haight, and these designs don’t typically use much black ink, breaking an “unspoken rule” that any tattoo must be outlined in black. “The thought is that black ink lasts the longest and a tattoo with no outline will be unrecognizable in 20 years,” Haight explains. This might be true, “but the fact of the matter is, people just don’t care as much about that anymore.”

 

Realism and two-dimensional tattoos, combined

two dimensional flower tattoo peeking out of a realistic vase 2024 tattoo trend

 

bad bunny arm tattoo — 2024 tattoo trendBad Bunny’s arm tattoos

 

Rules continue to fly out the window with our next trend. Ana Guzman, a tattoo artist in New York City, has noticed clients asking to mix two styles, most commonly two-dimensional tattoos and realism. While realistic tattoos aim to capture the subject as they are in life, two-dimensional art is designed without any depth, for a flat-looking, purposefully unrealistic look. This work steps outside the confines of genre, creating a playful mix of the realistic and the obviously fake. Artists like Bad Bunny are lending more visibility to the trend with the realistic-looking vase and cartoon-esque two-dimensional flowers on his left arm.

 

Sticker sleeve

sticker tattoo sleeve with various small designs — 2024 tattoo trend

 

The sticker sleeve is less an individual tattoo style, more of a tattoo placement style. It involves getting multiple small tattoos, all placed seemingly haphazardly up and down the arm. “Instead of big pieces that take over a lot of real estate, a collection of small pieces allows room for more and more,” says Rosa Bluestone Perr, a tattoo artist in New York City. The overall effect is “cute and delicate.” This style is also helpful for the budget-conscious among us: instead of saving up for a major piece of work, you can build a sticker sleeve with individual tiny tattoos over time.

 

Lo-fi tattoos

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small simple cherry tattoo — 2024 tattoo trend

Across the country in Portland, Haight has also noticed the rise of the sticker sleeve, and his clients tend to build their collection out of “small, simplistic tattoos.” It’s a lo-fi version of tattooing, he says, often made up of impulse tattoos with basic designs. He credits the shift to the loss of stigma around tattoos. “You’re seeing a lot more silly tattoos that are completely meaningless,” says Haight. “I think insisting that every tattoo should have meaning is overrated. It’s your body, do what you want with it.” After all, if you ever get sick of having a teeny cartoon hamburger or a fiddle-leaf fig tattooed on your body, they’re easier to cover up than larger tattoos with thick lines and color.

 

Permanent jewelry

bracelet permanent jewelry tattoo — 2024 tattoo trend

 

The past few years have seen a rise in permanent (actual) jewelry, necklaces, anklets, and bracelets that are welded shut in lieu of a clasp. Bluestone Perr considers herself a pioneer in the tattoo version of the trend, featuring delicate tatted rings or bracelets. The designs are often shaped to mimic the way a bracelet would fall on the wrist, with individual dots that look like a chain of silver or gold. “They are a beautiful adornment to the body,” she says. “I love that they are a piece of jewelry you can’t lose.” She’s even looped the trend back around to physical jewelry, with a line of rings and earrings inspired by the tattoos.

 

Pet portraits

hyperrealistic tattoo of a pug — pet portrait — 2024 tattoo trends

We named micro-realism — the style made up of tiny, hyper-realistic designs — as one of our top tattoo trends of 2023, and while the genre remains exceedingly popular, Guzman has noticed the rise of one particular subset. Clients are asking for pet portraits done in the realistic style, the better to capture Fluffy’s true essence. “Most people are obsessed with their pets, and are willing to get their portraits tattooed so that they’re always able to have their fur baby with them,” she says.

 

Childhood, reclaimed

tattoo of the children's book character Eloise — 2024 tattoo trend

 

If you haven’t seen a Spongebob Squarepants or Tommy Pickles tattoo lately, you haven’t been paying attention. Just as we’re seeing the trend towards ‘80s and ‘90s nostalgia in patterned tattoos, Guzman’s clients have been asking for recreations of beloved fictional characters. She’s done designs featuring Hello Kitty and Disney characters, and is often asked to borrow from the movies, books, or drawings that the clients remember from childhood.

 

Fan tattoos

Harry Styles fan art tattoo — 2024 tattoo trend

In addition to borrowing from fiction, clients are drawing inspiration from their real-life faves. The rabid nature of pop culture fandom means that clients aren’t shy about immortalizing their beloved on their body. “In 2023 alone, I completed over 600 fan tattoos, predominantly dedicated to artists like Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, and Taylor Swift,” says Alina Naumenko, a Los Angeles-based tattoo artist. From portraits to symbolic tributes, “these tattoos held profound significance for our clients, offering a means to immortalize the most incredible experiences of their lives — witnessing their favorite artists,” Naumenko adds.

Neumenko and her collective group of tattoo artists even shadowed Louis Tomlinson on tour, where she often tattooed up to 30 designs per day. Next up, they’ll be following Niall Horan, proving that One Direction fans have grown up but are still just as dedicated to their favorite foursome.

 

 

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