When it comes to selecting your tattoo design and where on your body you want your tattoo, it cannot be stressed enough that you must adequately prepare prior to your tattoo appointment, to ensure you walk away with a tattoo that you will love for the rest of your life. One of the most common questions we get here at Majestic Tattoo NYC is, “what tattoo can I get that I won’t regret in 20, 30, or 40 years?”
We must preface this article by saying that people do change – what is appealing to you when you are 25 might be horrifying when you are 50 – and there’s not much that can be done about that reality. It’s human nature. That said, there are certain steps to take before getting tattooed that can help you arrive on a tattoo design and placement that you will love forever.
Put a Greater Focus on the Tattoo’s Aesthetics than Its Symbolic Meaning
When many people come up with their tattoo idea, they often start with what the tattoo is supposed to mean, and then follow with how it should look to represent that meaning. This will often lead to designs that are complex and visually incoherent, perhaps heavy in letters or numbers because they “represent something meaningful to me.” While this is a nice approach in theory – after all, you want to love that tattoo as you age – we at Majestic find that these are often the same tattoos our customers want to cover up several years later. We find that tattoo customers are much more satisfied with their tattoos and continue to love them over time when they think long and hard about the design, its placement, and where it fits on their body above all else. Consider tattoos like jewelry that stays on you forever – just like when you pick out a necklace or a ring, you want them to flatter your overall appearance and make you feel more confident with the way you look.
Text Can Lose Its Meaning – Fast
Your favorite song lyrics; a meaningful inspirational quote; your boyfriend’s name; the words “bliss,” “breathe,” or “loyalty.” These are all concepts that might seem like great candidates for a tattoo in the moment, but can quickly lose their meaning or start to look silly within years as your personality changes. Be very wary of getting a text tattoo that could prevent you from getting a good job later down the road, or could otherwise offend or insult others – this can cause tremendous hurdles later in life.
Think About How the Tattoo Will Age
Just because a tattoo looks good now does not in any way indicate that it will still look the same in 20 years, let alone 5! Extremely lightweight tattoos, while highly popular, can fall apart over the years. All-black tattoos can turn a dark shade of blue if they are not touched up every 5 or 10 years. Tattoos on fingers and fingers and hands can fade away relatively quickly. Tiny tattoos on the back or shoulders can turn into mush, given how much your muscles move in that area. At Majestic, we are often covering customer’s tattoos because of how poorly they aged in a short amount of time. Therefore, it is important to ask your artist about the potential for your tattoo to hold up well over time before you receive the tattoo.
Save the “Trendy” Idea for Your Wardrobe
There are things that should be trendy – your latest haircut, a purse, a pair of jeans. Tattoos are not one of those things. Just think about the infamous example of the tribal tattoo sleeve – once popular in the 90s, now regretted by many who wish they hadn’t bought into the trend at the time. Just because everyone is getting the same image tattooed, doesn’t mean you should run to your nearest tattoo shop to get it too. If you want to sport the latest trendy design, you can buy a graphic tee at Urban Outfitters.
Pick a Talented Artist, Even if it’s a Big Financial Investment
We cannot stress this enough: do not skimp on your tattoo project to save money. Good tattoos do cost money, and they should cost money! They are a permanent alteration to your body. Look for other areas of your life to cut costs; the quality of your tattoo has an immediate and lasting impact on your overall self-esteem. Tattoo cover ups and/or laser removal can be significantly more expensive than your initial tattoo cost, and are not always 100% effective in masking your original tattoo. Find a tattoo artist you love and set aside money for this important investment.