Lettering Tattoo: The Ultimate Guide

Yura Gorobets avatarBy Yura Gorobets

If you’re looking to add some text to your tattoo, you’ll want to check out tattoo lettering! In tattooing, it is one of the most popular styles. This style of tattooing features beautiful fonts and designs that can really personalize your ink. So let’s talk about the different types of lettering tattoos, where you should get them inked, and what font is best for you or the most popular among the best tattoo artists. So whether you’re thinking about getting a Japanese lettering tattoo or a simple graffiti font, keep reading for inspiration!

The Lettering Tattoo Features

The name of the style “lettering” literally means this: this term in the art of tattooing refers to inscriptions in calligraphic script with artistic additions. The distinguishing feature of lettering is that an individual font is selected for each order, and the letters do not look typed but drawn. First, the master draws an individual sketch, and then he pencils it on the skin. That is, each lettering tattoo is a unique text image.

One of the main advantages of lettering is a wide variety of fonts and styles, making it one of the most versatile tattoo designs out there. Common types of lettering tattoo styles include Japanese lettering tattoos, graffiti lettering tattoos, and tribal lettering tattoos.

Lettering is also part of the Chicano style, which often includes a text part of the sketch.

Other features:

  • The letters in the inscription represent a single stylized composition.
  • These are often one-of-a-kind letters written for a unique inscription, name, or tattoo composition.
  • There are no strict rules.
  • Drawing is often supplemented by gradients, shadows, and highlights.
  • Fonts can be as different as possible, including bizarre, unreadable, and veiled as possible.
  • Most often, Latin, English, or Asian characters are used.
  • Color. Traditionally, a black-and-white gamut is used, but it’s possible to do a colored tattoo and add shadows to the image.
  • It is worth paying attention to the thickness of the line, it gives the right volume and brutality or, conversely, lightness and airiness of the finished picture of the letters.
  • Tattoo lettering is generously supplemented with artistic elements that emphasize the meaning of the text or enhance its stylistics. Usually, these are intricate abstract patterns, and scrolls. Girls complement their tattoos with butterflies, stars, ribbons, and floral motifs. Guys – slides, medallions, ink stains, barbed wire.

Types of Lettering

There are many different tattoo lettering styles that you can choose from depending on your preferences and tattoo design. Some of the most popular tattoo lettering styles include Japanese lettering tattoos, graffiti lettering tattoos, and tribal lettering tattoos.


The main feature is the smooth change of colors. The most popular variation of ombré in lettering tattoos is the transition from dark gray to light gray. The direction of the transition can also be chosen according to taste: from bottom to top, from left to right, and from letter to letter.

Graffiti lettering tattoos

Graffiti is a whole subculture that separates other styles from itself. But it is worthwhile to get graffiti letters on your skin with the help of a tattoo machine and a professional tattoo artist, the result can be safely called tattoo lettering. Graffiti fonts are actively used by lettering artists.

Volumetric, 3D

One of the most difficult techniques, as it requires detailed elaboration and understanding of perspective.


A gloomy style with a medieval reference. It used to be a style in calligraphy but is increasingly used in lettering.

Japanese lettering tattoos or Asian hieroglyphics

These tattoo lettering styles often use Chinese, Japanese or Korean characters to create a beautiful and unique tattoo design.


Vintage lettering can be described as writing that was current in the 19th and 20th centuries. This style has significant differences in such parameters: as decoration, serifs, texture, and color. This is the style that you might think, “Yes, this could have been on American posters in the 19th and 20th centuries.” It is characterized by special colors, serifs, texture, and decoration. You can choose from existing vintage fonts to create your own tattoo, or you can create your own sketch with a vintage-style tattoo artist.

Mixing Styles

When the first word looks like a printed font, the second like a handwritten font, the third like graffiti, and the fourth like calligraphy. Or any other combination in any other order.

Choice of phrases for tattoo lettering

More often than not, lettering sketches are created from texts such as:

  • quotes from celebrities, writers;
  • book phrases;
  • prayers, words from sacred texts; mottos;
  • names, significant dates (e.g. capital letters of a loved one, date of birth of children, husband or wife);
  • code words, letter codes;
  • simply beautifully designed individual letters.

Since it is often nearly impossible to read such an inscription without training, this privacy of tattooing attracts people to this stylistic direction of modern tattoo art.

Where to Get Lettering Tattooed?

One of the most popular tattoo placement areas for lettering tattoos is on your chest, hands, or stomach. Other tattoo placement areas that work well for lettering tattoos include your back, shoulders, and neck. Ultimately, the tattoo placement will depend on the size of your tattoo and personal preferences.

Large, voluminous lettering tattoos and large-scale projects are very popular, so they use relatively large areas of the body, such as the back and abdomen, where you can place the letters in height and width, using the full artistic potential of this style.

Lettering-style sleeve options are also possible. This will be a complex and unreadable sketch, but will absolutely be very unusual and original.

Lettering Tattoo Artists

When choosing a tattoo artist to create your lettering tattoo, be sure to do plenty of research to determine their skill level and experience with lettering tattoos. Lettering tattoos are attractive because of their intricacy, aesthetics, and originality. Look for an experienced tattooer, who will competently advise where, how, and what color and size is better to make the desired text.

You can simply search for “lettering tattoo artists” or “tattoo lettering styles” online to find qualified tattoo artists in your area. But first, get to know the best in the business:

The most popular Chicano tattoo designs

Popular lettering tattoos fonts:

  • Blackletter
  • Gothicha Regular
  • CM Tattoo Dragon
  • Cute Tattoo
  • Death in the Shadow
  • Ink in the Meat
  • Los Angeles
  • Original Gangsta
  • Tattoo Ink
  • STCO Prescissa Regular

Whether you’re looking for timeless, classic tattoo lettering styles or more modern and experimental designs, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to tattoos that incorporate handwritten text. Some popular choices include vintage tattoo lettering styles, calligraphy tattoos, and unique handcrafted letters. With so many different types of font styles available, the possibilities really are endless when it comes to designing your perfect tattoo! So why wait? Get inked today with one of these gorgeous tattoo lettering styles!