List of Popular Tattoos

1. Anchors

Associated with sailors and the sea, these tattoo designs have been popular for a long time. While the anchor theme began with sailors, navy men, and others closely tied to the sea, they have become more and more popular as the rise in tattooing has developed over the last couple of decades. These tattoos can symbolize hope, grounding, security and stability.

2. Sparrows

This tattoo has been popular for a large amount of time, but its popularity has only grown. Sparrows are often associated with freedom, something many people crave and value. It can also be symbolic of monogamous love or undying love. An interesting fact about sparrow tattoos is that many mafia members have gotten the tattoo on their arms to signify that they are free and bound by the rules of no man.


Whether a quote from a person, book, poem, or movie/television show, these types of tattoos are ever-growing in popularity. Quotes can be very personal, emotional, or funny. For instance "This Too Shall Pass" is likely the most popular of all tattooed quotes, and it can remind the person whose body it graces that no problem lasts forever and time and life goes on.

4. Tribal

While these have seemed to fall in popularity over the last decade, many people still get tribal tattoos. The beginning of tattooing originated with some tribes who use tattoos as a way to identify themselves either as a member of the tribe or to signify accomplishments made by the individual. These designs have been adopted by people all over the world, most of the time for aesthetics rather than tribal values.

5. Stars

In a group of people, it's highly likely to find at least one with a star tattoo. These tattoos have been common on inked people for decades, and only seem to increase in popularity as more people get tattoos. Stars can mean different things to different people, but they are commonly associated with hope, luck, and finding direction.

6. Dream Catchers

Originally a popular item that came from native tribes, these have recently become a hot tattoo design. The dream catcher is believed to catch bad dreams and allow only the good to pass. It makes sense that people would want a permanent dream catcher with them always to ward off nightmares and bring good luck. The beauty of dream catcher designs has also helped these tattoos to be increasing in popularity.

7. Maps and State Outlines

Many people are proud of where they come from or where they have been. It comes as no surprise that these people want to commemorate these things, and some choose to represent their place of origin or favorite vacation spots on their bodies. Commonly, people get outlines of their state of origin if from the United States, but other popular place tattoos include skylines or local symbols. For example, many people from New Mexico get the "Zia" symbol tattooed on themselves, which is on the state flag and is symbolic of friendship and unity.

8. Sun and Moon

These celestial tattoos are very popular. We see these objects in the sky nearly every day, so it is no wonder that they are popular symbols in cultures all over the world. Some people get tattoos of suns or moons to represent cultural values and symbolism, while others get them for purely aesthetic reasons.

9. Kanji/Foreign Language

While it's been a popular motif for tattoos to get Japanese writing or writing in other languages, there is a stigma to getting a tattoo in a language you do not speak. This has lead to controversy within the tattoo community. Some people bring in languages they do not speak, so they do not know for sure what the writing actually says. There have been instances of people getting something like "Spicy Kung Pao Chicken" instead of their intended saying.

10. Religious Symbols

Religious symbols such as crosses, Buddhas, Ganesh, and many others are very popular. While it's ironic that many religions prohibit getting tattoos on the body, our society often leads to those who are devout in their beliefs to be tattooed with the symbols of their faith, scriptures from holy books, or sayings such as, "Only God can judge me".