Finding the Right Artist for Your Custom Tattoo Vision
Embarking on the journey of getting a custom tattoo is both exciting and significant. Tattoos are not just body art; they are a fo ...
Whether you want something timeless or trendy, geometric tattoos have it all. Sure, you may have hated geometry in school, but those shapes, lines, and points have deeper symbology than what you were taught.
From energy to emotions to religion, geometric shapes and symbols carry deeper meanings that a layman may find hard to decipher. This is why these tattoos have gained so much popularity lately.
This comprehensive guide about geometric tattoos will find everything you need to know before deciding on your next tattoo. When you’re ready, we can help show you the best way to design a geometric tattoo design.
You’ll learn the meaning behind the common shapes you see every day. You’ll also find inspiration for combining geometric shapes/designs with other types of tattoo art.
When we say geometry, shapes are probably the first thing that comes to mind. However, lines and points also come under geometry. Then, there are abstract shapes created from the basic shapes.
Let’s focus on the basic shapes and what they mean:
Circles are perhaps the most common organic geometric shape in the tattoo world. This shape is particularly popular in religious and sacred tattoos. However, circles also symbolize astrology, as circular shapes represent the sun and moon.
Because circles represent elements like the sun and moon in nature, they symbolize life or lifecycle.
In a religious or spiritual context, a circle represents wholeness or infinity.
However, the exact meaning may vary by religion. For instance, a circle represents enlightenment and perfection in unity in Zen Buddhist philosophy. In Judeo-Christianity, circles are symbols of sanctity (think haloes over angels).
In Chinese symbology, the meaning of circle is a little different. It represents the heavens, so it has positive connotations.
In Astrology, circles represent cycles and evolution. This shape is also connected to the popular ouroboros (snake-eating snake) tattoos, a symbol that originated from Egyptian iconography and was adopted by alchemists.
There are many interpretations of squares and rectangles. These shapes are symmetrical, especially square from all sides, so they are often linked with stability and structure.
In the world of mathematics, Pythagoras linked squares with the number ‘four.’ This number is linked with physical elements (earth, wind, fire, and water), directions (north, south, east, and west), and seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter).
Unlike crosses with similar symbology as squares representing materialism, the squares have volume. Therefore, they are considered static, reliable, and material.
Of course, the meaning of square also differs by religion. In Native American religions, the square represents safety. In Hinduism, the square represents the balance of opposites. And in Chinese symbology, the square is a sign of the earth.
Triangle is a common symbol in religions, so it’s commonly seen in sacred tattoos. It’s linked with the number ‘three’ because three lines or points make a triangle.
The most common symbology that comes to mind when you think of a triangle is the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. An equilateral triangle often represents this trinity.
Unlike circles and squares, the direction also plays a role in the triangle’s symbology. If the triangle is pointing up, the meaning could be different. If it was pointing down, the meaning would be different.
When the triangle points up, it represents a strong foundation, earth and water symbols, ascension to heaven, or male energy (fire and air). When the triangle points down, it represents air and fire symbols, water and earth symbols, descent into the physical world, and female energy.
Other than that, triangles with their three points can also represent the concept of time (past, present, and future) or the connection between body, mind, and spirit. They can also represent sexual union or harmony.
When two lines or rectangles intersect, a cross is formed. However, it can also be created when other shapes like triangles or circles intersect.
Cross normally represents the intersection or meeting of energies, especially in religious symbology. However, it has also been known to represent balance and healing, which is why it’s also a common symbol in medicine (for example, the Rod of Asclepius).
When it comes to symbology, shapes are more popular. However, linear tattoos with just lines have also been popular throughout history. For instance, the three lines serve as an expression of uniformity and symmetry.
That said, the thing about lines is that they can be interpreted personally. You can create abstract shapes or symbols with deep personal meaning with lines. The number of lines, their thickness, or even their color can represent something unique.
Sacred geometric symbols assign meaning to geometric shapes. This connection is based on how shapes appear in nature. When you dive deep into different sacred geometric symbols and representations, you’ll understand how the shape came to be and why it means what it does.
The belief is that geometry is the ‘architecture of the universe.’
Interestingly, geometric patterns intrigue both sides of the human brain. The left side of our brain responds to the logic and sequence (objective information) of the shape. In contrast, the right side responds to the randomness or intuitiveness of the shape (subjective information).
Here are some scared geometric tattoos:
There’s so much variety when it comes to geometric tattoos. You have so many different styles to choose from that can further be personalized. Here are some of the most popular styles:
Blackwork tattoos have been popular for ages simply because of the finesse that goes into them. Such tattoos are monochromatic (all black) but use the contrast of saturated black ink and negative space. It’s simply amazing visually!
Blackwork geometric tattoos use the same technique to create shapes and lines.
This tattoo style is also very popular with geometric tattoos with optical illusions. However, this technique can work with any geometric tattoo regardless of the shape, design, or meaning.
As you can guess, the dot work tattoos involve a lot of dots. In terms of geometric tattoos, the geometric shapes are created with dots. The artist creates a shape, symbol, or picture with dots of different sizes.
This kind of tattooing style is inspired by post-impressionist pointillism. The points can be minuscule or as big as a quarter of an inch, depending on the overall size of the tattoo. Also, the dots may have different distances between them to create the illusion of depth or shadow.
If you’re going for a simple geometric tattoo, having it in dot-work can elevate it further design and complexity. But, of course, it takes a lot of work and attention to detail.
If you’re a fan of abstract art, you’ll notice that many abstract art pieces are simply playing with geometry. Abstractism and geometry go hand-in-hand. In this style of geometric tattoos, anything is possible.
These are random yet personal, inventive yet rooted in symbology, and complex yet easy to understand for those who understand shapes.
It’s easier to be abstract with geometric shapes and patterns as it’s all just about combining different shapes, patterns, or colors. The sky’s the limit with this style!
While you may think that your abstract tattoo has to have a meaning, it doesn’t necessarily. If you can create a unique style, you can assign it an equally unique meaning. That would be one great ice breaker at parties.
This is a good choice for people who want to have tattoos with meanings but, at the same time, not have one that gives away the meaning rather easily. So no one would be able to tell the meaning until you tell them.
The watercolor technique in tattooing has gained a lot of popularity lately. These colorful, artsy tattoos gradually become even more inventive and innovative by combining more traditional elements like geometric shapes.
Yes, watercolor geometric tattoos are the newest trend, where shapes are filled with colors or shapes or lines in black exist over a backdrop of a splash of colors.
This is thanks in part to the wide adoption of watercolor techniques in the world of tattoos. This technique uses layers or washes of color for a paint effect (it looks like the tattoo has been painted on the skin).
Since geometric shapes are often made with black ink, the splashy colors of water add another dimension to the tattoo. In this context, combining solid shapes with random splashes of watercolors is becoming increasingly popular.
Sketched or sketchy geometric tattoos have an artistic rough yet visually pleasing look. In this style of tattooing, the artist leaves rough edges or makes the lines random as if a pencil has drawn them.
The geometric tattoos in sketchy style bring order to the roughness of the sketched lines and patterns. This style is also predominantly monochromatic. However, you can add colors to the shapes. It can even be combined with the watercolor effect for even more design depth.
Contemporary geometric tattoos are generally playful and colorful, as this is a modern style of tattooing. Most commonly, such geometric tattoos take inspiration from the shapes of objects.
Think of things in nature and the shapes they present. For example, a tree may be represented by a rectangle (stem/trunk) and a triangle (leaves). Similarly, watermelon may be represented in a semi-circle.
Much like abstract geometric tattoos, contemporary tattoos don’t often have a well-defined meaning. These are open to interpretation, and many people simply go for this style because they like it. Now, that’s a reason good enough to get a tattoo!
One of the best attributes of geometric tattoos and geometry, in general, is that they are universal. In other words, they combine well with everything. As a result, geometric tattoos can be combined with other types and styles of tattoos easily to make them unique.
If you’re considering getting a geometric tattoo but don’t want it to be too basic, go for a combination of styles. Here are some of the tattoo styles and techniques you can combine with geometric shapes:
Animal, birds, and insects also have meanings, often represented by their traits. For instance, a fox is cunning, whereas an elephant represents leadership spirit. We have already discussed the many meanings hidden behind common shapes.
So when you combine animals, birds, or insects with shapes, you can create a dual-meaning tattoo, the classic yin yang. The meaning and representation of the shape can be balanced with an opposing meaning and representation in the animal.
Such tattoos are nothing short of art and require much work, depending on the design and scale. Here are some common geometric animal, bird, and insect tattoos:
Honeycomb itself is made of a shape, hexagons. The tiny hexagonal cells of honeycomb create a great geometric pattern that can be further combined with shapes. For instance, a honeycomb pattern inside a square, circle, triangle, or even a hexagon.
If you think flower tattoos are too commonplace, you can make them super interesting by adding some geometry. For example, what are petals, if not shapes?
Again, flowers have their symbolism, so you can add more depth to the meaning by turning the flower into a geometric design. Some people find flowers to be more feminine, so with geometric shapes in the mix, you can balance the feminine vibe with the male vibe of shapes.
Here are some geometric flower ideas:
Now, there are many ways to combine these two styles of tattoos. You can have them distinct or diffused into one another. For example, a sunflower created with shapes like circles, ovals, and triangles combines the two forms directly. On the other hand, a rose inside a triangle combines the two without altering its real form.
Did you know that Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, and mathematician, asserted that geometry represents man, nature, and God? Well, nature is full of geometry. All objects and phenomena in nature are made up of regular and irregular shapes.
Realistic nature tattoos are quite time-consuming and can be costly. However, when you bring geometry into the mix, they can get easier and more interesting. You can do so much when combining nature tattoos with geometric tattoos.
Here is some geometric nature tattoo inspiration:
Of course, science and geometry would complement each other. Scientific symbols and objects such as tattoos look modern and unique, as not many people go for these unless they are really into science. And much like nature, scientific things are all about shapes, too, so the union of the two is not that hard to achieve.
In this context, space tattoos are the most popular. The spherical shape of planets, the pointy triangles that make up the stars, and the cylindrical shape of satellites exemplify how space objects and geometric shapes come together effortlessly.
Other scientific tattoos combined with geometric shapes include the light bulb, hourglass, magnifying glass, and telescope.
Tribal tattoos are those tattoos you have to be very careful with. You don’t want to be inappropriate to someone’s culture. But, at the same time, these tribal pattern tattoos have been the rage for many years. They’re just that good!
But if you want to give your tribal tattoo a little more edge, you incorporate some geometry. For example, think of a circle encapsulating a band of tribal patterns or a tribal sketch overlaying a triangle. Then, you can make it truly unique, truly you.
More importantly, tribal tattoos are perfect for colors. While monochromatic tattoos are also great, the distinction between the shapes and lines in the pattern comes from contrast, which comes from using different vivid colors.
Did you know that sailors were some of the first to openly adopt tattoos? So it’s befitting to get a nautical tattoo for someone who loves tattoos in general. Nautical tattoos like anchors, ships, or chains also have meanings and sentiments that can be combined with the spiritual or worldly meaning of shapes.
After all, nautical objects like anchors and ships are made of shapes as well. You can make those shapes prominent and incorporate a double entendre. For instance, the sails of a boat with a perfect triangle can incorporate the meaning of a triangle.
If you’re going with marine life tattoos, you combine not two but three tattoo themes: nautical, animal, and of course, the good old geometry.
From Papua in the east to Mexico in the west, myths and folktales provide ample inspiration for tattoos. However, Greek mythology tattoos are some of the most popular around the world. Medusa and Pheonix tattoos take a lot of work and attention to detail, but these can also combine shapes.
For instance, Medusa’s beauty is a double-edged sword. While it presents as something pretty, it’s also devastating, as she is known to turn her suitors into stone.
Combine that with a few triangles pointing down, and you can bolster the feminine energy and spirit of the tattoo. It’s the perfect choice for a staunch feminist.
But there are many other mythological creatures for tattoos that can be mixed with shapes to create something unique. For instance, a unicorn emerging from a circle can represent the cycle of life and purity. Even the unicorn’s silhouette can be traced in a melange of shapes.
Need some more inspiration for geometric tattoos? Here are some head-turning tattoos:
The cube figure represents the element’ earth,’ which, in turn, symbolizes stability. It’s about valuing what is good in life and giving gratitude for it. One could use a daily reminder of that on their very body!
A growing spiral pattern signifies that nature is infinitely scalable. It represents the harmony created by the presence of order and chaos or good and evil. It’s about accepting that imperfections sometimes make us perfect.
This tattoo design is based on Greek mythology about a knot that cannot be untied. This tattoo has interlocked rings, where rings are spherical.
The icosahedron is a symbol of water that represents change. You know the old saying ‘going with the current’ or ‘going with the flow?’ This tattoo is a literal representation of that!
Mandala tattoos are rooted in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. It translates to ‘circle’ in Sanskrit. It is essentially a circular floral pattern representing balance, harmony, and unity.
‘The Flower of Life’ or Metatron cube is a symbol that represents the fruit of life. With 13 circles coming out of the center circle, the outer circles presenting as petals.
This is a 3d figure with eight triangular faces that symbolizes the element’ air.’ It signifies healing and compassion.
This design stands for a serpent (snake) from Greek mythology, which devours its own tail. It represents the circle of life. It can also be seen as a representation of yin and yang within oneself.
This is another example of how you can combine shapes with animals. It’s an owl that symbolizes wisdom, intelligence, and mystery, but its silhouette is made of shapes.
This is a 3-d figure with four triangular faces and symbolizes the element of ‘fire.’ It represents power and the link between the physical and the spiritual.
Geometric tattoos have deeper meanings that many don’t know, which makes them all the more special. And these tattoos can be combined with so many other themes. Most importantly, geometric tattoos are not just trends; they are timeless because geometry is timeless.
Tattoos are not just ink on skin; they are a form of self-expression, a canvas for personal stories, memories, and artistic vision ...