At this point, it almost feels like everyone knows someone with an aesthetic tattoo on their arm. (Or their thigh. Or their side.) But what exactly constitutes an aesthetic tattoo? And why do they suddenly seem so cool?
“Like any sort of fashion, tattoo trends are constantly evolving,” says Deanna Maffeo, a resident artist at Inked NYC. “Aesthetic tattoos are just the latest trend in an always-changing art.” When someone asks for one, Maffeo says they’re usually looking for something minimalist, often on the smaller side, and without too much detail — so it’s basically simple linework.
The simplicity is one of the main reasons why this type of tat is so popular right now. The designs don’t take up much space, Maffeo says, which means they’re easy to get and even easier to hide. For folks who were on the fence about the bigger, bolder tattoos — like patchwork ink, for example — aesthetic tattoos might seem more appealing. There’s also the fact a ton of celebrities have been getting them, adds Maffeo, making them even trendier. Just look at Selena Gomez’s music note or Hailey Bieber’s chevron lines.
If you’re on the market for a simple piece of body art, Maffeo suggests looking on Instagram and Pinterest for ideas. To help get you started, keep scrolling for fun examples of aesthetic tattoo ideas before setting up your appointment at the salon.
Aesthetic tattoos are often minimal, like this one by Maffeo featuring a simple sun, moon, and star motif on one leg, and a cute little heart on the other. Remember, it’s all about that thin linework detail.
Lots of aesthetic designs are outlines of images, like this floral piece. A pro tip: “Make sure to explain to your artist the size and placement you are looking for, as well as a rough idea of the design you want,” Maffeo says. “It’s always best to have a general idea of what you want, and then trust the artist to make design alterations so you end up with a piece of art you’ll love forever.”
You’ll also find that this kind of body art is often done using a single needle, which is what gives the lines that simple, minimal look — without any shading.
Branching away from simple line designs are other types of aesthetic tattoos, like this mystical art piece. As long as you find it beautiful, it totally counts as aesthetic, says Maffeo.
To upgrade an aesthetic tattoo, think about adding color. Oranges, blues, and other earth tones can add a pop.
Flower tattoos are always a classic, and when done in fine line, they look more modern and updated. Consider getting one of your fave floral.
OK, so what’s more aesthetic than a little cherub on your wrist? Or you can get whatever character you love for a meaningful— and super cute — piece of body art.
Take a scroll through the “aesthetic tattoo” tag on Pinterest or Instagram and you’ll see countless designs that incorporate a smiley face, which serves as the perfect mood boost.
The cool thing about aesthetic ink is it can stand alone or become part of an ongoing collection down your arm. (Or wherever, really.) Think of this one as a little piece of framed art for your body.
For another take on the aesthetic trend, go for colored ink without any black. Cartoon tattoos of any kind definitely fit the bill.
Geometric shapes, thin lines, and a reference to a famous painting? Must be an aesthetic tattoo.
This palm tree line tattoo, by Maffeo, is an example of an aesthetic piece that was inspired by nature. Get any sort of plant or tree your heart desires to keep your ink collection (metaphorically) grounded.
Deanna Maffeo, resident tattoo artist at Inked NYC