Humans have been creating tattoos for thousands of years. Mummified remains have been discovered with tattooed skin and ancient paintings from all over the world show warriors, rulers, and tribespeople sporting unique designs on their skin. Tattoos have been used to show heritage and culture, observe religious faiths, and demonstrate tribal allegiances to outsiders.

Nowadays people use tattoos for all sorts of reasons. Some want to create meaningful permanent reminders of loved ones, special places, and dates. Others use them as a way to stand out from the crowd or declare their allegiance to one. But with so many tattoos out there, finding a design that is unique to you can be difficult. Even if you design your own or have it created just for you, chances are there are plenty of similar ones out there. According to Google search figures, there are an average of 201,000 searches each month in the US for butterfly tattoos, 165,000 for rose tattoos, and 110,000 for dragon tattoos.

So, how can you find a tattoo that has meaning for you, but doesn’t end up looking like just another copy of a popular style? Here are some niche tattoo ideas to give you inspiration.

Choose a Delicate Style

Tattooing techniques have evolved over the last few decades into as many different styles as you’d find in an art gallery. From the traditional black and white, to continuous line designs, watercolour tattoos with no outlines, to hyper-realistic portrait styles. If you want a unique tattoo, opt for one of the less common styles. Outline or solid colour flower designs are really popular, but they look just as amazing done as line art or with a watercolour technique. You’ll be able to use the subject you want but express it in a way that is unique to you.

Commission a Portrait

No tattoo is more unique than one you design to replicate a special person in your life. Lots of people choose to have their partner’s face tattooed on their skin – although you might want to make sure you’re both in the relationship for the long run before going down this road! Portrait tattoos can be incredibly realistic and detailed, so you’ll want to make sure you pick an artist with the skills to accurately realise your vision. If you want a more subtle rendering, portraits also look wonderful in line art. You can also accompany your portrait with personal dates, names, or a quote, for an even more personalised tattoo.

Commemorate Your Hobby

Tattoos have traditionally been used to show clubs that people belong to or hobbies they have in common. It’s not just biker gangs or prisoners that want to show off this information anymore, popular tattoos that show their owner’s love of Disney, Harry Potter, D&D, or a beloved football team are increasingly common. Choose some key iconography that is unmistakeably linked to your favourite hobby and you’ll be instantly recognisable as part of that chosen group. Check out these latest poker tattoo trends for inspiration and to see how poker fans use cards, chips, and suits to demonstrate their love of the game.

Get A 3D Tattoo

These are big pieces and they take tattoos to a whole different level with the complexity of their design. You’ll need to find a highly skilled tattoo artist and make sure you see lots of examples of their work before committing to letting them anywhere near your body. 3D tattoos make careful use of shading to create the effect that your tattoo design has layers. This could be anything from a 3D rendering of your pet to the image of someone looking out from within your skin – if you can imagine it, the right artist can create it.

Try Before You Buy

There has been a recent surge in the number of people looking for temporary tattoos, so much so that you can now order them online! A step up from the cartoons you used to wet onto your arm as a kid, these temporary tattoos last for a few weeks. Whether you want to try our different designs until you find the one you’re most happy with, or you like the idea of being able to constantly change up how you look, there are many reasons to go temporary. You can choose from many existing designs or create your own concepts.


Tattoos are a great way to define your image and let the world know who you are. Choosing a niche tattoo design can help you create a unique look and there are plenty of tattoo artists out there waiting to help you realise your dream designs.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.