Over 40% of American adults have a tattoo, and 75% of those have more than just the one. It’s estimated that more men than women currently have tattoos, and there are more male tattoo artists dominating the industry. There are some top trends in the world of tattoos for men that are timeless pieces that you won’t regret in 5 or 50 years, making it easy to commit to a tattoo that you know you’ll love the appearance and meaning of forever.

Meaningful tribal tattoos

Tribal tattoos are generally seen on men more than women, which has made them a masculine tattoo. They are a piece that you need to be dedicated to, as they’re usually large tattoos, such as a full or half sleeve, and can take several sittings with your artist to complete, clocking up hours of work. Tribal tattoos date back to ancient times where they held deep meaning, often used to show what tribe or culture someone belonged to. The figures and shapes used were often picked to represent meaningful animals and other natural elements that were used by the tribes.

Today, tribal tattoos are largely based on aesthetics, but you could design a piece with an artist that has a lot more meaning, like the original tattoos did. This can include animals that represent you or are important to you or symbolism for your family.

Lettering and quotes

If you choose to get anything written on you, it’s always advisable to pick something and wait a while before having it done because your tastes can change quickly. Of course, you usually can’t go wrong with something like a child’s name. Iconic quotes from famous people may sound good now, but you might look back and feel it looks pretentious in the future.

Sayings or quotes from loved ones that have stuck with you, such as something your grandparent always used to tell you, can make a personalized and deeply meaningful tattoo that you’ll always love.

Japanese inspired tattoo

It may seem strange that tattoos in Japan are still associated with crime, people with tattoos are looked down upon, and most public places where there’s a swimming suit involved won’t let you in if you have a visible tattoo. Yet Japanese tattoos are hugely popular and some of the best artists in the world come from Japan. With some thought and a good composition, a Japanese tattoo can look good and hold meaning for you. For Japanese animal tattoos, koi fish represent good luck, courage and strength, and tigers represent a long life, warning off evil and disease. Lotus flowers are popular amongst men too, representing purity and harmony based on the beautiful flower that appears from the muddy water they grow in.


Blackwork has grown in popularity in the last few years, varying from having a sleeve, where your whole arm is inked black, to a large chunk of black background in a grayscale tattoo. Blackwork steps away from a tattoo having meaning or realism, and instead focuses on complex geometrical and symmetrical patterns, influenced by Polynesian tattoos and graphic art. For men who want a tattoo for aesthetics instead of representing something, a blackwork tattoo is a great option. Blackwork fits well with line and dot work to create stunning pieces of art.

Tattoo trends come and go, but these timeless pieces will suit men for the rest of their lives. The popularity of tattoos has grown immensely in recent years, making them more acceptable to have in visible places on your body, so you can pick big, obvious designs that are masculine, from tribal tattoos to blackwork.