Tattoos of lettering are one of the oldest forms of body art. They were simple to design and apply, and did not require colored ink so often prisoners got letters tattooed on their bodies. In history, letters often held a negative connotation, such as the tattoos placed on prisoners of war or those forced into concentration camps.
Today, the name of a loved one, either alive or deceased, is the most common reason for getting a lettering tattoo. Phrases that sum up the wearer’s life philosophy are also popular. A bit more unusual is the placement of a humorous phrase, such as “handle with care” or “slippery when wet” in strategic locations. Ex or current Marines often enjoy using the military credo “semper fidelis”.
Photo by “KWDesigns” on Flickr
Languages other than English are quite popular for lettering tattoos, as well. A tattoo in Latin, Spanish, or another language is a great way to disguise its meaning to anyone but those who understand it. Oriental characters, with their beautiful, exacting strokes are very common these days. These letters often depict a zodiac sign, a haiku or poem, a name, or a meaningful saying.
Photo by “mytat_2s” on Flickr
Lettering is preferred by both men and women and can be placed in a variety of locations on the body. The chest, back, legs, arms, feet, hands, neck, even the face – all are ideal for lettering. Many times women will put a banner across the small of their back and include lettering within the borders. Some men like to make a “collar” out of a phrase inked from one pectoral to the other.
When you’ve got something you feel truly needs to be eternally read, consider writing it permanently in your tattoo.