7 Tattoo Design Tips So You Won’t Regret It Years Later, According To Tattoo Artists

It's common to want a tattoo, to have the perfect design in mind, but to still wonder, will I regret my tattoo when I'm older? What it if fades? What if you don't like it? What if your tastes change? These are all valid concerns, that you should definitely take into consideration before getting inked.

Related: Everything To Know About Getting A Finger Tattoo

If you decide to proceed, it may also help to chat with a tattoo artist, who can help you come up with a design you won't likely regret. "A great tattoo artist can take what you are trying to visualize and make it even better than you expect," Rich Marafioti, owner of Wild Wind Tattoo in Chicago, tells Bustle. "Plus they will give you a tattoo that will hold up overtime that you will be happy with years down the road."

They can discuss things like placement, colors, and design ideas, so that your tattoo will be less likely to appear faded, blurred, out of date, or just plain bad in a few years' time. For example, if you're really into the idea of getting an intricate, colorful tattoo, a good artist will let you know that the lines and colors might not look as crisp after five years, as they do on day one.

The more you know going in, the less likely you'll be to end up with something you regret. So, here are a few more design tips from tattoo experts to keep in mind, to ensure you end up with ink you love.


Do Lots Of Research First

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It's not uncommon for people to get tattoos on a whim, when they're swept up in the moment with friends. And while that can be a fun way to get your first (or second, or third) tat, if you want to end up with a design that'll look great forever more, it's a good idea to do your research first.

"Really think about what you want," Marafioti says. "Not just your personal idea but also what style of tattoo you would like to get. You can search the internet and find so many styles of tattoos but also so many tattoos that you will not be happy with overtime."

Remember, your tastes may change, and certain trends will go out of style, so try to envision your future self and what might look good five, ten, or twenty years down the line.


Look At Design Portfolios

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To land on the perfect design for you — and ensure that you're choosing the best artist you can afford — look at their portfolios. "Check out [the] tattooer’s work online, websites, and Instagram," Marafioti says. "But even better, go to tattoo shops and talk to tattooers in person!"

This can help not only with creation of your final design, but also improve your overall experience. "Not only do you want to get tattooed by someone whose work you like, you want to get tattooed by someone you vibe with," he says. "This will make consulting about your design easier and you tattoo experience and memory a happy and relaxing one."


Bring In References

To help your tattoo artist get a good idea of the design you're looking for, bring in some examples. "Pictures of what you are trying to visualize will help a tattooer give you the tattoo you want," Marafioti says.

And if you're vibing with the tattooer, and happy with their work, consider letting them make a few changes. "Let them run with your idea," he says. "You will get a better tattoo if you let your artist be creative. Just make sure they are keeping to your idea and remember that you are never obligated to get something on your body that you don’t want."


Avoid Small, Intricate Tattoos

While small, delicate tattoos are super in right now, think twice before choosing a design that's too ornate, as these aren't as likely to hold up over time.

"Very small tattoos will lots of detail will not look good after several years, nor will all-color tattoos with no amount of black in them," Marafioti says. These designs tend to blur and blend into skin as the years go on, so you may end up not liking it later.


Location, Location, Location

It's obviously up to you to decide what design you'd like to get, and where you'd like to place it on your body. But again, it may be a good idea to heed your artist's advice.

To avoid disliking it later on, "get something that will flow with and compliment your body and think long-term," Marafioti says. For example, you might want to "avoid tattoos in locations that can’t be covered if they need to be covered for any reason. If that’s the case avoid your hands, neck, behind your ear, and fingers."

That way, if you decide it no longer fits your style — or you simply don't want to see it everyday — it'll be easier to cover up. "Some tattooers won’t even tattoo larger tattoos on your hands or neck if you don’t have a lot of tattoo work," he says. "That’s a good thing! They care about you and don’t what you to make a decision you may regret."


Avoid Locations That Tend To Blur & Fade

Tattoos on the fingers tend to blur and fade the fastest, so you might want to think twice about getting that rose design down your index finger.

And don't be fooled by the pretty images you see online. "The problem is you can find a lot of these tattoos online and pictures of them are taken when they are fresh and have just been completed," Marafioti says. "You rarely see photos of how these tattoos look when they are two, five, or 10 years old."

Sadly, designs that look gorgeous right out of the tattoo shop may not necessarily stay that way, so ask your artist for some advice.


Listen To Your Tattoo Artist

To ensure you end up with artwork that'll look great for years to come, "you must listen to your tattoo artist," Marafioti says. "They are experts, [and] they know and what’s best for you and your tattoo."

Not everyone gets hung up on these details, or worries about what their tattoo might look like in the future, but if this is a concern for you, there are ways to work around it. By avoiding certain locations and designs, and making sure you choose a great artist, chances are you'll end up with a tattoo you'll love for years to come.