A tattoo doesn’t have to be a big, elaborate affair. In fact, sometimes the simplest designs are the most striking. If you’re looking for some simple tattoo ideas for men, you’ve come to the right place. From small designs that can be hidden easily to larger pieces that make a bold statement, we’ve got something for everyone. So take a look at our list and see if any of these designs speak to you. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
1. Forearm Tattoo
When it comes to tattoos, the forearm is a popular spot for men. Not only is it easily visible, but it’s also a good canvas for a variety of designs. If you’re looking for some simple tattoo ideas for your forearm, here are a few suggestions. A tribal design is a classic choice that can be as intricate or minimalist as you like. Another option is a quote or saying that is meaningful to you. For something more light-hearted, you could consider a pop culture reference or inside joke. Whatever you choose, a tattoo on the forearm is sure to make a statement.
2. Line Tattoo
While there are endless possibilities when it comes to tattoo designs, sometimes the simplest designs are the most impactful. For men who are looking for a minimalistic tattoo, linework designs are a great option. Linework tattoos can be as simple as a single line or as elaborate as an intricate geometric pattern. And because they can be easily adapted to any size or placement, they are perfect for guys who want a discreet tattoo. Plus, linework tattoos are often less painful and quicker to heal than designs with color or shading.
3. Hand Tattoo
Since the hand is a small part of the body, a simple tattoo would perfectly blend here. The best tattoo designs for placements with small areas are geometric tattoos. They’d look best on the back of your hand. But, if you’re looking for something unique, another option is a short message or slogan. Make sure the quote communicates how you feel about life.
4. Lion Tattoo
A simple lion tattoo can be a great choice for anyone looking for a tattoo that is both stylish and meaningful. Lion tattoos are often seen as a symbol of strength, courage, and power, making them an excellent choice for those who wish to make a statement with their ink. Lion tattoos can be designed in a variety of different styles, from realistic to cartoonish. However, a simple lion tattoo is often the best choice for those who want their ink to be elegant and understated. When it comes to selecting the perfect design, it is important to consider what the tattoo will represent. For some, a lion tattoo may represent their personal strength and courage. For others, it may be a tribute to a loved one who has passed away.
5. Finger Tattoo
Finger tattoos are the best areas for simple tattoos for men. That’s because when it comes to this placement area, the simpler, the better. They blur faster, so ink lovers get clean and precise finger tattoos, lasting longer than complex ink. If you’re looking for something unique, try adding a hidden word tattoo on the side of your finger.
6. Ankle Tattoo
Ankle tattoos are becoming more popular with the recent fashion trends of cropped trousers and sockless footwear. It’s the perfect area for simple and classic tattoo designs like circles and quotes. Another fun tattoo design for men are crossed arrows, symbolizing strength and friendship.
7. Shoulder Tattoo
Although many men tend to gravitate toward larger and bolder tattoos, many don’t consider the shoulder placement. That’s because the area is often exposed. But if you’re interested, a simple stripped-back design can look as good as a bold and detailed tattoo. That’s if it suits your personality. A meaningful yet minimalistic design you can add to your shoulder tattoos is a binary code.
8. Chest Tattoo
Most men choose to have sizable and complex chest tattoos, but less elaborate designs can also work well with this placement. Consider getting a simple yet symbolic tattoo, like a name. A trend that’s becoming popular in the tattoo community is a serotonin tattoo. It’s a scientific molecule tattoo known as the happiness hormone. This chest tattoo design is an excellent choice for men looking to show others the value of happiness and joy in their lives.
9. Simple Rose Tattoo
Even among men, rose tattoos have become a popular choice. That’s because they’re a classic tattoo design representing the beauty and pain of life. A simple rose tattoo is an excellent option for men to showcase the hardships they’ve overcome. But to keep it simple, choose an outline design without colors nor shading. Although this design is more subtle, it’s recognizable and holds a powerful meaning.
10. Butterfly Tattoo
The butterfly is often associated with freedom and transformation. These are traits that many can relate to, making them a popular choice among men. But butterfly tattoos are considered feminine. That’s why to give your butterfly tattoo a more masculine yet simple look, choose a black ink outline design. These generally look great on any body part, but most choose to have them on their wrists or chest.
11. Cross Tattoo
Among the simplest but meaningful tattoo ideas is the cross tattoo. It’s the best design for religious men. Although simple in looks, this design carries a lot of power, reminding people of their faith. Plus, it reminds wearers that God is always with them. For laidback and faithful men, a cross tattoo is a great choice. After all, it doesn’t need any additional embellishments — a simple cross says it all.
12. Tribal Tattoo
Tribal tattoos originate from centuries ago. They draw upon generations of tradition and masculinity. Besides being rich in symbolism, tribal tattoos also look fantastic. That’s because of their unique interweaving patterns. You don’t need to get an elaborate one to impress people since even a simple tribal tattoo can leave a lasting impression. Overall, this kind of tattoo design works best on the upper shoulders and chest.
13. Dragon Tattoo
Dragons are powerful and fierce mythical creatures. That’s why they’ve become a popular tattoo choice among men. Although dragon tattoos are often detailed, large, and complex, it doesn’t have to be. That’s because even the most miniature dragon tattoos have a sizable impact. The best part is, dragons can smoothly adapt to the stripped-back design. So men with a laidback personality or minimalist style should consider getting a dragon tattoo.
14. Owl Tattoo
Owls are creatures of the night. Because of this, they’ve conjured an ancient and mysterious vibe. Additionally, owls have also been linked with knowledge. Getting an owl tattoo is an excellent choice if you’re an enigmatic gent with a secretive side. But remember to keep it simple and follow a stripped-back design.
15. Mountain Tattoo
Mountain tattoos represent one’s connection to the wilderness and nature. These ancient natural land formations have also been associated with eternity and order. After all, mountains are immovable. Plus, since mountains have a geometric shape (a triangle), they work well as a simple tattoo. The most popular spots for mountain tattoos are the back of the hand or the forearm.
16. Phoenix Tattoo
A phoenix tattoo is ideal if you’ve gone through a lot in life or have overcome challenging obstacles. That’s because this mythical bird roots back to Greek and Egyptian lore, symbolizing rebirth. It’s the perfect simple tattoo idea for men who want to showcase their fresh beginnings. Just make sure to get one without any colors to keep it simple.
17. Wave Tattoo
Wave tattoos are like mountain tattoos. That’s because of their recognizable shapes, making them suited for simple tattoos. Besides looking cool, waves can also make for a meaningful tattoo. For instance, since the ocean is continually moving and changing, waves can represent one’s strive to move forward. After all, all we can do is accept life and move on. All in all, a wave tattoo is perfect for men who have a relaxed lifestyle.
18. Compass Tattoo
The compass is a symbolic figure representing the journey through life. But it can also showcase one’s love for travel. Either way, it’s an appealing and straightforward tattoo idea for men. Although there are many simple compass tattoo designs, the best one is a two-line tattoo with letters representing the four directions.
19. 3D Tattoo
If you want a simple tattoo but ensure it looks cool and eye-catching, consider getting a 3D tattoo. That’s because this style gives a tattoo more depth, making it look better. But 3D tattoos are complex designs. So things can go awry when left in the wrong artist’s hands. For this reason, you’ll need to seek a tattoo artist specializing in this category.
20. Elephant Tattoo
Elephants are often associated with prosperity and wisdom. That’s because these gentle giants are known to live long lives and have good memories. Men considered as old souls often gravitate to elephant tattoos. Although most elephant tattoos are complex, they can also suit simpler styles. An example of this is a stripped-back design for a simple touch. The best part is since they’re naturally gray, there’s no need to add color.
21. Skull Tattoo
Skull tattoos are appealing and have deep meanings. Many smart men choose to have skull tattoos to remind themselves to live life as if it’s their last. It’s a great motivational piece for anyone to have. Plus, though skull designs work well into different styles, a classic skull is the best choice. After all, it’s subtle but powerful.
22. Cat Tattoo
Cats are some of the most favored animal tattoos, thanks to their unique traits. These include their mysterious vibes, independent and laid personalities, and adorable appearances. Plus, they’re recognizable and are easy to turn into a tattoo. It’s the perfect tattoo idea for smart men, symbolizing their independence and mysterious side. On the other hand, getting a simple cat tattoo would be an excellent way to pay tribute to your pet cat.
23. Sun Tattoo
The sun is often associated with life and happiness. Because of this, sun tattoos are popular among men. After all, it’s a simple yet powerful symbol. The best take for this tattoo design is to draw a circle and add lines around it, representing the sun’s rays. Although simple, your tattoo will become more recognizable — and is bound to look awesome!
24. Crown Tattoo
Crown tattoos never fail to make anyone feel like a king. Although most men choose to have a more ornate crown tattoo or combine it with other elements, it’s best to keep it simple. After all, crowns would look just as good as simple outlines of silhouettes. So for smart men looking to showcase their authority and power, a simple crown tattoo is a great tattoo idea.
25. Heart Tattoo
The heart is one of the most famous symbols for tattoos for men. That’s because they look fantastic and hold deep meanings. But among the different styles, the most popular and appealing one is hearts in the old school art style. They’d make great standalone tattoos or addition to a sleeve. Overall, a simple black heart tattoo is an excellent choice for smart men.
26. Tree Tattoo
Nature-lovers should consider getting a tree tattoo. That’s because not only it symbolizes their connection to the natural world, but it also showcases their commitment to growth. Many styles work well with tree tattoos. But for smart men, consider getting a palm tree tattoo since it symbolizes a relaxed and positive approach to life.
27. Moon Tattoo
Moon tattoos are simplistic yet hold powerful meanings. Many cultures associate the moon with transformation since it waxes and wanes over time. Because of this, it’s a perfect tattoo idea for men who want to express how they’ve changed. The best style for this is a simple crescent moon, and it would look best on the wrist.
28. Anchor Tattoo
Anchor tattoos have been a popular choice among men for years. They are often associated with hope and safety. Plus, since they’re such a meaningful and straightforward tattoo idea, there’s no need to add more details. After all, anchors by themselves look fantastic and masculine. So many men choose to get an anchor tattoo, usually on their wrists or forearms. Additionally, you may add it onto your ankle, reminding you to stay grounded at all times.
29. Arrow Tattoo
Arrow tattoos never fail to impress. They’re simple, stylish, and hold deep meanings. Arrows suit many different placements, but the most popular parts are the arms and legs among men. This tattoo symbolizes your direction in life, reminding you to stay true to your path until you achieve your goals. Plus, arrow tattoos can be a great reminder to stay true to yourself.
30. Star Tattoo
If you’re looking for a small and simple tattoo idea for your next inking session, consider a star tattoo. Star tattoos are becoming more popular among men since they work well as a standalone or broader tapestry. Overall, it’s a great tattoo choice for smart men looking to showcase their mysterious and curious side.
31. Bear Tattoo
Bears are often linked with courage and family since they’re potent creatures that care about each other. They’re also associated with primal instincts and knowledge, making them the perfect tattoo idea for smart men. Whether it’s a panda or the mighty grizzly bear, there are different bear tattoos to consider. But for a simple take, choose a bear tattoo in a black ink line drawing.
32. Fish Tattoo
Fish tattoos are becoming more popular among men. That’s because these animals are thought to represent prosperity and luck. So a simple fish tattoo can be an excellent way to remind yourself to work hard, and fortune will always be by your side. Although detailed fish tattoos look the coolest, they can also look great in a simple back ink tattoo.
33. Dream Catcher Tattoo
Dream catchers are popular tattoo designs. They were traditionally woven in some Native American cultures. Native Americans believed that these would stop children from having nightmares or bad dreams. Since then, dream catchers have become popular as a symbol of protection. Although many men choose to get photorealistic dream catchers, they can be adapted to more straightforward geometric style tattoos. The simple version adds a more masculine appeal to the tattoo design, making it perfect for smart men.
34. Angel Wing Tattoo
An angel wing tattoo can represent several things. These representations range from Biblical figures like the Messenger Angel, St. Sealtiel, or a tribute to a loved one who recently passed away. Regardless of the meaning, a simple angel wing tattoo is an excellent pick for smart men. The simple version of an angel wing tattoo strips the intricate design back to the most critical elements — the wings and a halo.
35. Family Tattoo
There’s no better way to show off your love to your parents, siblings, and heritage than getting a family-themed tattoo. With a family tattoo by your side, you can wear your love for your family on your body. This tattoo idea can be anything related to your family. Whether that means a portrait or a family tree, there’s plenty of designs out there. But regardless of what design you go for, this is a tattoo with deep meaning behind it. The best thing is, no one will ever ask what it means! Remember to keep it simple for a more significant impact.
Simple tattoos are generally better than elaborate pieces, especially for a first tattoo. That’s because they take less time to finish and are subtle. So it’s a good first tattoo design for people who want to get into body art.
Simple and small tattoos are also called micro tattoos. They’re tattoos that are tiny, subtle, but impactful. You can have them done using other tattoo styles and sport colors like black and gray or vibrant hues. For this reason, simple and small ink designs have become a popular first tattoo for many.
Tattoo shops and artists charge per hour, so getting a simple tattoo should be cheap. But the more details and colors the tattoo has, the more expensive it will be. So, you can expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $200 for a small and basic tattoo.
There may be different opinions on tattooed men. But studies are saying that tattooed men are healthy and good-looking competitors. These studies back that women perceived tattooed men as healthier and more masculine.