If you've been dreaming about getting a tattoo, but are worried about the process or hesitant to commit, then a simple tattoo idea may be the best choice for you. By going for a quick and easy design — and possibly even choosing to get it in a location that's more private — you can enjoy the experience without having to overthink it.
You may also want to choose a design that's meaningful to you, so you're less likely to regret it later. Which is something that's entirely possible to do, even with a tiny tattoo. "Since an image can say more than a thousand words, a simple tattoo can be packed with tons of meaning," Lisa Barretta, astrologer and author of Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos, tells Bustle. "Not only are they chic because of their simplicity, they are also a great way to experience body art in the most subtlest of ways."
And who knows? Once you get past your initial fears, you may even go on to get more ink in the future. "Smaller tattoos sometimes open the door for expansion to more elaborate designs," Barretta says. But of course, it's perfectly fine to stick with one small tattoo, and enjoy it as-is.
If you're in the market for a tattoo, but are afraid to commit, here are a few simple — yet still totally meaningful — tattoo design ideas to get your imagination flowing.
1. Astrological Signs
Astrological tattoos tend to be simple, and thus are quick and easy to get. But they're also packed with meaning, so you really can't go wrong.
"These symbols carry deep meaning for embodying the archetypes that they represent, along with the elements of nature and their associated qualities," Barretta says.
If that hits home for you, consider getting a smattering of stars to represent your sign, or even the symbol itself.
A simple outline of a bug or animal, or even a design that's super realistic, can make for a fun tattoo. But what's even better, is choosing an animal that has meaning to you. For example, ladybugs are wish granters and bringers of love, Barretta says. So if you need more luck in your life, this may be a good choice.
3. Crescent Moons
Moon, star, and sun designs make for very simple tattoos, that always have a hidden message. As Barretta says, crescent moons can represent new projects coming your way.
Arrow tattoos are easy to get, and don't take up too much real estate on your skin. But these, too, are packed with meaning. "An arrow represents movement," Barretta says. "On a personal level the meaning could be seen as moving forward with your life or aiming for a goal."
5. Roman Numerals
"Whether it represents a special birthday or anniversary, Roman numerals are a beautiful way to start your tattoo collection," Esmailin Sanchez, owner of Chakra Tattoos, tells Bustle. They also don't take much time to get, so for anyone who's worried about the pain from tattoo needles, that may be a big draw.
6. Infinity Symbols
Another simple design — and one that can mean whatever you'd like it to mean — is the infinity symbol, which is often a top choice among tattoo newbies, Sanchez says.
And it can be as big or as small as you like. "It is very common for people to want a small tattoo as a new member of the tattooed community," Sanchez says. "We also believe that a smaller, simple tattoo would be great for anyone who is curious as to how the actual process of getting tattooed feels. It may help them gauge their pain tolerance before committing to a larger piece."
7. Little Waves
Many folks choose to get a delicate wave tattoo, since it's pretty, but also easy to get, in that it's only a single line. As Sanchez says, "Being close to the ocean can be soothing to most. A wave tattoo is a great way to express your love for it."
8. Names & Lettering
According to Sanchez, names and lettering may also be a good choice. Think along the lines of a simple yet meaningful phrase, or the name of someone you love. (Though you may not want to go for a partner's name, as those are among the most common types of tattoos women get removed.)
9. Music Notes
"Music lovers can get a simple musical note, which can be small [...] and be placed just about anywhere," Leo Palomino, a tattoo artist at Atomic Tattoos in Orlando, tells Bustle.
"Simple stars that are scattered or cascading is another great tattoo idea that is simple and can placed in area that is inconspicuous such as the back of the neck, behind the ear or hip that can be easily hidden and only visible when you want to show it," Palomino says. It's also a timeless design, that you're not likely to get sick of.
If you're an animal lover, you really can't go wrong with a simple design, such as a small flock of birds.
Or, you could choose another animal, and ask your tattoo artist if they'd do a minimalist design, which just so happens to be very popular right now.
"Doing a silhouette of your favorite animal is another great idea for someone wanting a tattoo but looking to keep it simple, discrete or small," Palomino says. "Even when you are taking a subtle approach, you can still achieve a significant looking tattoo."
12. Simple Flowers
"A small flower that's done with thin lines or a simple design can still [...] look good even as a small tattoo," Palomino says. And the fewer lines you get, the better the tattoo will age. So keep that in mind if that's what's holding you back.
Constellations are another go-to for beginners. As Sanchez says, "Simple line and dot work that can be both beautiful and elegant when done well."
It doesn't take much for a tattoo to look great, so if you really want one, don't be afraid to commit to something small — and see how you feel from there.