Top 103 Unique Tattoo Ideas [2020 Inspiration Guide]
The demand for unique tattoo ideas has skyrocketed because for some people the idea of complete originality is the key to killer body art.
Emphasizing the unique aspects of an entire tattoo idea can be the basis for some body art, while others are looking to create an interesting tattoo under the terms of an existing style, technique, or motif.
A skilled tattoo artist can take a hugely popular design idea but interpret it in a way so that it can be considered a fully customized and uniquely cool tattoo idea.
With tattoos no longer the act of rebellion they once were, people are turning to art and architecture principles or technology for creating individual expression in body art choices.
To help fully unlock your own unique tattoo, look at the stellar designs in this gallery of quality body art. These pieces can help clarify and define your concept or provide a style or type of technical application you wish to utilize in your next tattoo.
Unique Tattoo Ideas
Cool 3D abstract tattoo implementing clever geometric elements to pop off the skin. Like how the artist has lengthened the image image with straight line, fine black needle work – it better fits the placement on the outer forearm. The TV snow effect is also a smart technical fill.
Another cool 3D piece, this small tattoo does extremely well incorporating a portion of negative space into the other shapes. Also like the short, sharp, black line flourishes – they help put polish on the final artwork.
This body art is a great fit between style and placement. The checkerboard fill (and massive hole) is an excellent ‘seeing eye’ type pattern, and works well on the calf with the vortex shading. Also, the exaggerated fat black line border further promotes the mind bending visual aspects of the tattoo.
Wicked. The new wave 3D abstract meshes beautifully with the hybrid black shading behind the main image. It could be an image depicting outer space or a biological concept from a high school science textbook. The line technique in the purple/blue shape looks almost like a baker’s cake piping and is cool to look at in opposition to the dark, leathery alt fill.
Love the mix of black line, and single needle fill balanced with geometric shape and circuit board patterns. The artist’s line, fill, and shape creation is beautifully realized – the tattoo is crisp and modern.
This black tattoo relieves a variety of heavy black shapes with excellent negative space line work. You could almost call it emo Tron. The coolest parts are the neg space curved lines that contrast exceptionally well with black fill to make a flowing, coursing pattern of ink.
When the mix of abstract and animal realism tattooing gets it right the result is phenomenal. The artist has created a flawlessly diaphanous dragonfly based on the simplified black body, then strengthened the art with different technical fills to lengthen and broaden the concept into a highly artistic piece. Using different line thicknesses, lengths, and 3D patterns help make this an amazing piece of body art, fitting effectively with the concepts in pieces on both of the subject’s arms.
Okay, so this color tattoo is when absurd goes out drinking with abstract and has a wild one night stand. It looks totally killer. The symbols – a stylized heart clutched in a fist, and eye inside a diamond – are fantastically rendered in color and exceptionally unique – their placement in the centre of chest and sternum is nicely worked. The artist deploying traditional black and gray alternating shade technique but using purple and aqua is masterful application of flair.
This is bad ass. The artist effectively incorporated a range of styles to build a spectacular chest tattoo linking brilliantly with other work. While still unfinished, you can already see the impressive cover up on the left chest that once filled will be completely unrecognizable behind geometric pattern. The use of a gray, almost water color effect in the right hand shading is extremely unique and looks fantastic.
Opposite leg work, with the result looking like a pre-school class has gone mental with permanent markers. One side works negative space to creates it’s main effect, while the other leg is a mishmash of Sharpie like black line. This is a cool concept tattoo that is certainly one of a kind.
A cool play on the Japanese calligraphy style, without the calligraphy. The black and gray shade work in this piece creates paintbrush effects that vary between vivid and almost washed out. Really like the splash effects on the left and top of the image that finish behind the right ear. It’s a deliberately messy piece that maintains good balance and flow throughout.
Sensational twin lower arm sleeves mixing wonderful technique with a perfect eye for color. Again, the paintbrush effect is an arresting element, however in this pair of forearm tattoos there is more cohesive application of shape and pattern. The vivid range of color is exceptionally well inked back fill. It brings the strength of the black slashes out while solidifying the rest of the arms. This is premier tattooing.
This Latin tattoo means:”For the greater glory of God.” It’s a contemporary style abstract piece balancing well against the old school message of faith, and an interesting lettering tattoos design. The contrast between flat black ink and negative space word play is eye catching, and improved further by the highlights of geometric line triangles and blue flourishes mixing up the main image.
This is a unique variation on the Eye of Providence tattoo, with the choice to leave out the large triangle shape in favor of the stylized small one most likely a concession to the available space on hand (pun intended). The detail of iris and pupil are the standout technical parts of this piece, well supported by the curved hatches working against negative space filler.
A tricky, subtle watercolor tattoo that opts for a muted color pattern over a wild and vivid palette that could be equally as effective in depicting a space travelling panda. The mix of techniques allow – dotwork, geometry, and abstract – this chest tattoo to excel, including purposeful smudging in the red linework to help with pre-existing scarring. It’s one of those cool tattoo ideas that’s hard to explain but looks awesome on skin.
This is a different kind of eagle tattoo from the norm. Love the realism of the bird in flight that’s augmented by tile pattern and geometric shading and huge black ink lines. It’s an innovative sleeve tattoo relying on balance and negative space rather than tightly packed detail to illustrate the body art.
This is an impressive sketch design fully realized into a cool tattoo. The piece is simple in theory, however the etching to play off the hatches and lines behind the Viking longship takes an impressive amount of precision skill from the tattoo artist.
This simple tattoo uses black ink calligraphy elements to create splashes or ringed ink. Kind of like an elaborate series of coffee cup rings, this beautiful tattoo works on the tattoo art being fluid and imprecise. Despite being all in black, this is one of those ring tattoos that stands up under scrutiny as an art piece.
This piece features cool transition between rough circular geometric shapes and tribal tattoo techniques in the lower section of the sleeve. I like the freehand aspect of this beautiful tattoo, it brings to mind aspects of indigenous art styles from outback Australia or parts of Polynesia.
A beautiful tattoo of abstract lines that intersect or move away from each other. The heart tattoo shape is an avant garde mix of black, negative space, and just a touch of red ink to top it off. I like how the work around it gives the overall flow of the tattoo room to work.
A tremendous lower leg tattoo of three elements. I love how this series of three almost cute small tattoos are linked together by the shade, use of negative space and width of design. In particular the Roman Numeral XIII is well done – the cross tattoo and hatches built from shard style linework and precise shading work well against the crown tattoo.
I love this watercolor tattoo. It takes a traditional anchor tattoo design and flips it by creating a new school piece of body art through alternative linewok and lettering. Rather than be a negative space based anchor tattoo – which would have looked cool – the subject has had the tattoo artist thread in a range of fluid colors to accent the saturated black ink central to the design.
Palm of the hand tattoos are extremely difficult to produce with this degree of style and skill. The hatchwork slashing lines look excellent. The issue with this tattoo design will be longevity – hand tattoos on the palm never last and require regular touch ups or complete re-doing over time. An inside of the finger tattoo in particular will need work, as it comes into contact with all sorts of surfaces and substances that can make the ink degrade quickly.
Such a cool take on lettering tattoos and script design. The heavy black saturation working against negative space gives this a printer shop aspect, while the differences in letter blocks looks wicked placed down the side.
A mind-bending almost hologram version of a skull tattoo. I love the crazy curve of linework and negative space coming together in a full black piece of art. There aren’t many cool tattoo ideas like this, featuring a cool design over the entirety of the subject’s back.
Such a cool small tattoo design of topography linework body art. Love the above and below ground concept this tattoo creates in the spacing of lines, and geometric aspects that hark back to reading maps at school. The intricate lines and use of space works well for a tattoo across the subject’s rib and sides.
This not quite a matching tattoo set is brilliant. The 3D tattoo looks to implement the head and shoulders as a framing shape then work a whole bunch of different images within . Thigh tattoos are becoming a popular new placement for tattoo, a set such as this depicts part of the reason why with the abandon to get creative.
This arm tattoo does an outstanding job of working brilliant linework into this Millennium Falcon Star Wars design. It’s a sweet piece of tattoo art that looks like an owner’s blueprint or the instructions to a kids mobile from the early 1980’s.
An eagle tattoo etched combining principles of black and gray tattooing with the American Traditional style of bold linework at the core of the design. The addition of the geometric black moon tattoo above the eagle takes it to another, more brilliant level of detail.
This beautiful tattoo is a great take on computer circuitry. The placement of this small tattoo piece stands out, I like the tracery of lines and panels working down the spine from the base of the skull in heavy black ink.
I love the choice of depiction in this 3d cutting shoulder tattoo. Not many small tattoo design ideas feature both vivid pink ink and white ink highlights within a geometric design – they’re usually a small tattoo working off black/gray shading and negative space.
Unique Tattoo Ideas FAQs
How do I create a unique tattoo?
To be a quality custom piece of body art I recommend some combination of the following points to maximize your design’s individuality.
- Research everything (or for true anarchy research nothing)
- Develop an idea that has significant meaning to you
- Choose an artist whose work fits in with your style needs and can articulate the design you want
- Listen to your tattooist’s suggestions and make the process collaborative. You can be the greatest artist in the world, but a true ink slinger knows their craft – and their art – so tuning in can make a huge difference
- Don’t think just because a tattoo artist works freehand that it’s a unique idea. Just like everybody else, a tattooist works to patterns, habits, schedules, and tendencies
- Don’t obsess over what your tattoo is, turn your thinking to how it is going to be brought to life and why you want to put it on your skin in the first place
The galleries of the best tattoo ideas are proof that there are no unique concepts but tattoos that are unique to the person that wears them.
What is the coolest tattoo idea?
For a hardcore tattoo lover, the coolest tattoo ever is either the next tattoo you’re thinking about getting, or the last tattoo that you got.
The fact is, for many people the first tattoo is just a steppingstone to more ink.
To try and make a tattoo cool is a waste of time. It’s up to your sensibilities, interests, budget, and where you wish to place the tattoo, not the size, complexity or the person who inked it.
For the majority of tattoo lovers, their own ink ideas speak to them first and foremost, not to anybody else looking on.
Did you enjoy these unique tattoo design ideas. Click on the links below for more cool galleries of inspirational body art: