Image: Instagram / taterkaink; jessiebush_
Shirley Bassey would have us believe that diamonds are forever, but we can think of something even more permanent than a fancy rock: tattoos! Sure, you can get a cover-up for ink-gone-wrong, but people rarely get tattoos they think they'll want to get rid of someday. People tend to pick something they believe will be just as meaningful, if not MORE, in the future than it is the day they finalized their design. Lyric and quote tattoos are a popular choice for many, because of just how personal they can be. There are endless variations and a quick scroll through Pinterest or Instagram and you'll find some quotes that come up more often that others. So much that they're considered a little cheesy now (looking at you "carpe diem").
While a picture may be worth 1,000 words, quote tattoos are a great way to immortalize a message that means a great deal in someone's life. Keep scrolling for some of our favorite inspiring quote tattoos!
Image: Instagram / taterkaink
It's short and sweet, but the message is clear: Be kind. A simple concept, but something that our world needs a good reminder of every now and again. We live in a time where negativity is tossed our way from news stories and social media posts, but when it comes down to it, if we could make a point of being a little more kind, we might just have the power to change the world. Being kind doesn't cost a thing, but its value is immeasurable. The placement of this tattoo is also somewhat unique and gives us the impression that maybe this person thinks about the idea of being kind with each step. After all, we all take life one step at a time — why not be kind while you do it!
Image: Instagram / fitlittledonut
There are a lot of inky detail on this person's arm, perhaps all added at different times, including coordinates and a message of love. The quote and the coordinates are likely connected — the location and sentiment meant for someone very special. We also love the letterboard quote, of course. They've got a point! Tattoos are for the people who get them and they hold great meaning. Depending on your points of view, that's probably a more worthy investment than something fancy you keep hidden away and never really use. You'll see your tattoos every single day — talk about value for your money!
Image: Instagram / pacific_ave_tattoo_and_beauty
Could there be a better reason to get a tattoo? Family is forever and so is this beautiful design, with embellishments that we can only assume must have some special meaning to the person who chose them. Maybe the four birds represent the members of their immediate family or perhaps a group of siblings? The stylized infinity symbol, created from the intertwining birds, feather, and circles, gives added meaning to this beautiful ink work. We have a feeling this tattoo would also look amazing in color, but the choice to do it in black ink only looks great too. Which would you choose?
Image: Instagram / uhhhhtaco
Are you ready to make history? This tattoo makes a bold statement but when you think about it, there are actually a lot of ways that you can make history in your own life. Maybe you won't cure a disease or solve world hunger, but what you can do is make a difference in one person's life. Maybe your version of making history will be to raise a child who cares about the environment, or maybe your volunteer work with the elderly will help someone live out their days with a smile on their face. We can all leave our mark on the world, and a tattoo that reads "make history", facing up so that you can read it each time you look down, is a fantastic reminder about all the good you can do in your lifetime.
Image: Instagram / blackjagmtl
This tattoo is the perfect blend of cheeky humor mixed with internet lingo. The idea of someone drinking tea aggressively is a fantastic juxtaposition of something quite posh and refined, and the feeling like that person is about to take on the world. Step one, drinking tea like a boss. Step two, kick butt! The way this quote is written in ink, with the asterisks at the start and finish, gives the impression that they are typing it into a text message or online in some way. In Markdown, using an asterisk will italicize your text, making it seem as though you are doing that particular thing, not saying it aloud. Bonus points for style on this one!
Image: Instagram / snakebitedublin
Is there a better thing you can be? We don't think so. This simple "be yourself" tattoo is a reminder for the person who has the ink on their arm, as well as everyone who gets to see it each day. This ink is also a nod to the well known Oscar Wilde quote: "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." People, not unlike their fingerprints, are unique. Sometimes they might think they have to put on a mask or pretend to be someone else to be accepted or to fit in, but in the end, being yourself is the only way to live a life that you can be proud of. Be confident — be yourself!
Image: Instagram / lazy.duo
It would be wonderful to know the whole story behind this quote tattoo. Are the flowers from a bouquet on someone's wedding day? Was this photo taken as part of an engagement shoot? Or was it something else entirely that lead the way to a sweet and loving, typewriter-inspired tattoo? The font choice is really beautiful and makes the ink seem as though it was written as a part of a love letter. This is such a personal message in a place that's not generally visible to strangers on the street — a secret sort of note for someone very special!
Image: Instagram / sacredgrovetattoo
"You gotta do what you gotta do." In life, there may be situations where you have to do exactly this, but the quote may also be about sticking to your guns and doing what's right for yourself. This quote is similar to the popular "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do". No one seems to agree on where this line is originally from because it is often misquoted. In the movie Hondo, John Wayne says, "a man oughta do what he thinks is best" and, oddly enough, the line is spoken verbatim in a 1985 episode of The Jetsons. We're not sure that's the first mention of it, but we do appreciate the trivia. Either way, sometimes you've gotta do what you've gotta do, and an inked reminder is a great way to keep it at the front of your mind.
Image: Instagram / eagletattooer
This beautifully inked tattoo shows the first few lines of a famous Truman Capote quote. The full quote reads as follows: "The brain may take advice, but not the heart, and love, having no geography, knows no boundaries: weight and sink it deep, no matter, it will rise and find the surface: and why not? any love is natural and beautiful that lies within a person's nature; only hypocrites would hold a man responsible for what he loves, emotional illiterates and those of righteous envy, who, in their agitated concern, mistake so frequently the arrow pointing to heaven for the one that leads to hell." By inking just the start of this beautiful quote on their arm, this person gets to carry around a meaningful message in full, just below the surface. How poetic!
Image: Instagram / officerkitten
Continuing with our theme of literary quote tattoos, let's head to Prince Edward Island for our next one. Fans of Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery will recognize this particular phrase from her most famous work, Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley's contagious optimism and happy outlook on life make for a fantastic narrative to carry around with you on your skin. Even if you didn't know that this was a quote from from Anne of Green Gables, the upbeat positivity shines through easily. There's a fresh start right around the corner and no matter what you can always begin again. You've got to love that message!
Image: Instagram / lindasaeberg
The script of this inspiring quote tattoo reads: "I am the light of my soul I am beautiful, I am bountiful, I am bliss I am, I am". After a bit of Googling, we've found that these are lyrics from a song called "I Am The Light Of My Soul", often used as a mantra for meditation or yoga practice. In meditation, a mantra is a phrase or a sound that is repeated over and over to help with concentration. This quote tattoo may actually be incredibly practical in helping this person to never forget the words they've inked on their body. We love how these words are written, with each word running into the next, as though they are all connected and neverending. What a beautiful tribute.
Image: Instagram / jessiebush_
Once again, the words from this tattoo come to us from a song. The line "how rare and beautiful it is to even exist" is from the first stanza of "Saturn" by Sleeping At Last. There's a whole lot of truth in this sentence, don't you think? It calls to mind that feeling when you look up at the stars at night, or out across the ocean, and suddenly you feel rather tiny. This tattoo offers a humbling sort of message and a reminder that life shouldn't be taken for granted. It is basically a miracle that we're here at all!
Image: Instagram / finelineminimal
"This too shall pass" is another one of those quotes that holds a lot of meaning for people around the world, but can't really be traced back to one definitive source. Most believe it to have a biblical background but after 2010, many simply know it as the name of an OK Go song due to the virality of their Rube Goldberg machine music video. This quote is a great reminder that no matter what you're going through, it won't last forever. One writer shared how this idea helps them through living with chronic illness as a reminder "that even when I can’t see it, the light is there". Well said.
Image: Instagram / southernsteelworker
Even if you're not a Potterhead, the font of this quote tattoo might still give away its origins. For the HP aficionados reading this right now, you already know this is a quote from chapter 12 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Mirror of Erised, spoken by Professor Dumbledore to a young Harry who finds himself watching his parents in the magical mirror, night after night. Albus is a truly quotable character and this is one of our favorites — make sure you live your life to the fullest, instead of just dreaming about the things you wish you could have.
Image: Instagram / jorgebarros96
Is there enough adventure in your life? Maybe you need a little reminder to strike out on adventures more often, or perhaps you feel like life itself is a constant adventure and you'd like to keep it at the front of your mind. Or adventure, to you, is climbing a mountain or visiting a new country. It could be leaving your house with four kids in tow or getting out for a night with your girlfriends. Whatever YOUR idea of adventure might be, inking it on your arm is a great way to integrate it into your life. We could all use a little more adventure!
Image: Instagram / rabbitgirl91
Have you ever had a moment when you wish you could go back in time to tell your teen self something about the world? Maybe you'd go back and tell yourself not to worry about what people think, or to major in something different when you get to college. Maybe you'd give yourself relationship advice or just pat yourself on the back and tell you think will work out just fine. Hindsight is 20/20, however, and since time travel hasn't been perfected, what you CAN do is be the person you needed when you were younger — just as this minimalist tattoo states. You can be that person for the next generation and someday they'll thank you for it.
There are a lot of reasons to get a tattoo, but nearly all of them stem from the desire to express something personal and special to that person. Maybe it's a memory you never want to forget, maybe it's for someone close to you or to commemorate a life-changing event. No matter what the reason for your artistic ink, be sure to do your research and seek out a reputable, clean tattoo parlour. You want to make sure that what you remember most from your tattoo is the art and message itself — not a nasty infection, or worse, a trip to the hospital. After that, you just have to decide what your tattoo is going to say and that might be the hardest part of all!