Old English, more properly known as blackletter, features a style of script originating in the 12th century in western Europe. It was the main form of writing until well into the 16th century and then continued to be used in the German language until the 20th century.
Blackletter is also known as Gothic miniscule and Gothic script, and these types of tattoos are currently skyrocketing in popularity.
Before the year 1500, blackletter was used in a lot of important historical texts which can now be seen in a number of museums or libraries that keep antiquities. There are some tattoo artists that use an already prepared font and pick out letters from it, and there are some who mix up their own style from the font’s foundation.
There’s many lettering styles for Old English tattoos since the font can be quite flexible, but the most common style of blackletter is textualis. It’s the most calligraphic form with ornamental accents and flourishes that’s attractive for the way it stands out on the body. When people hear “old English,” the textualis style is most likely the one they’re thinking of.
Many people pick quotes or important names written in the blackletter style.