Quotation Tattoos

Jennifer Betts
Paramore quote tattoo on woman's collarbone

Brightly colored designs aren't the only tattoos trending right now; word tattoos are getting popular as well. Like graphic designs or intricate images, word and quote tattoos can provide you with inspiration, comfort, motivation or even strength in hard times. But, before you run into your local tattoo shop requesting this type of tat, there are some things you should think about, like size, placement, and quote you want.

Getting the Right Quote

More important than placement or font is the quote that you choose. Words are a very personalized tattoo that usually hold important meaning, and a quote is no different. It should have some type of significance to you. Whether it is to inspire you, give you strength, or just motivate you, these words should bear some kind of personalized meaning. While you might already have something in mind, if you don't, there are lots of places to draw inspiration.

Quotes That Inspire

Inspirational quotes do just that: they inspire you. They are typically quotes from famous people, authors, songs, or poems that provide you with the strength to persevere through troubled times or push for that promotion. Inspirational quotes include things like:

  • Never be afraid to try something new.
  • Fall down seven times, get up eight. - Japanese Proverb
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. - Lao Tzu
    Love hurts quote tattoo on ribs

It's All in the Family

Another area that you find quote tattoos is about family. These quotes tend to remind you of the love of your family and how important they are to you. Common family quote tattoos include:

  • Family. Like branches on a tree. We all grow in different directions. Yet our roots remain as one.
  • Where life begins and love never ends

Strong and Fierce

Everyone needs to be reminded how strong they are sometimes, and these quotes give you that reassurance. These words remind you of the strength that you carry within, like:

  • Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. - Napoleon Hill.
  • With pain comes strength
  • If there is no struggle, there is no progress. - Frederick Douglass

Finding the Will

Do you need to find your inner warrior? Maybe you need to remind yourself to take it one day at a time. Motivational quotes remind you that you are a strong, powerful warrior, even in the darkest of times. A few favorites include:

  • If you never try, you'll never know.
  • Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings. - Salvador Dali
    Hippy girl with forearm quotation tattoo

Memorializing Loss

Sometimes, quotes are designed to remind us of a loved one, a special person that left this world too soon. These tattoos are diverse and can take on several meanings. This type of quote might cover the importance of living, heaven, and even the pain of losing your loved one. Common ones include:

  • You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be. - Chuck Palahniuk
  • What the heart has once known, it shall never forget.

Creating the Look

While getting the quote might be one of the hardest parts, making the quote yours can be just as challenging. Typography is an art form, even outside of tattoo design. Not only do you have to think about the type that you want to use, but placement and size. All these factors are important to create the perfect piece that coincides with your personality.

The Importance of Font

There are several typefaces or fonts that you can use to create a quote. You might choose a script font that flows along the line of the skin, or you can choose a bold font like Old English. The type of font that you choose will depend on personal preference along with the quote.

Additionally, your personality and interests can affect your choice. A great way to find the perfect font for you can be to print out a few that you like on paper and place them against your body. This can give you an idea of what the words will look like on you, and if it forms to the body the way you want.

woman's c'est la vie neck nattoo

Size Matters

Tattoos fade over time and ink will smudge and displace. For most tattoos, this might not be noticeable for several years to come. But if you choose to get a quote tat in a small delicate font, this might be noticeable sooner, rather than later. This means that your inspirational quote can become unreadable and lose clarity. Therefore, bigger can be better if you want your quote to stand the test of time.

block quote tattoo on woman's ribs

Think About Readability

Some artists will tell you tattooing is an art, so readability comes after design. When it comes to a quote/word tattoo, however, clarity counts. While it's important to think about artistry and crafting the words in such a way that they demonstrate beauty and design, being able to read it is just as important. A good rule of thumb when thinking about a quote tat is whether it is readable from ten inches away. If not, you might want to modify your design.

Man with serenity prayer chest tattoo

Check the Spelling Twice

This can't be emphasized enough! There are no redos on word tattoos, so the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation that you are using need to be perfect. Double check to ensure that your there, their, or they're is correct. Make sure that words aren't missing and the quote makes sense as it is written. This is especially true if you are getting quotes in a foreign language or symbols. Remember 'No Ragrets' when it comes to your word tat.

Body Mechanics

Quote tattoos are an adaptable piece that can fit in small crevices as well as large areas. What you really need to consider is the length of the quote, size, and font. A bolder font and a longer quote will need more space like the back, upper thigh, shoulder or bicep. A relatively small quote in a fine line calligraphy type can fit easily on your ankle or wrist.

Another important consideration is the way that skin will shift and sag as you age or move. While 'Carpe diem' on your wrist will look fine in ten years, the serenity prayer along your lower stomach might not age as well because of fluctuations in skin and weight. If you don't want your tattoo to resemble a blob of ink rather than your quote, think long and hard about placement.

You also have to consider how visible you want your quote to be. Words of motivation or inspiration, like 'believe in yourself,' aren't going to be as helpful on your back as they would on your forearm. However, a mourning or grieving quote can fit well on the shoulder or lower back if you don't need to see it but want to know it is there. Be aware of what the quote is for, and place it in the best area for you.

runner with large quote shoulder tattoo

Words to Live By

Words surround us. Words inspire us. Words even offer us comfort. They are everywhere, including inked permanently on the body. There are different types of quotes out there and finding the one that fits you is just a matter of looking. However, when you do decide to take the plunge, remember to think about fonts, placement, and readability. If done wrong, these can really take your permanent art work from wow to whoa.

Quotation Tattoos