Spiritual symbols are expected to be a body-art trend this year

Tattoos that represent one’s religion or spirituality aren’t a new trend, but Belk said that these designs may be even more prominent in the coming year. 

“Spirituality helped many people find peace in the crazy world of 2020,” Belk said. “This is starting to show in the body-art trends of 2021.”

Spiritual tattoo designs include mandalas, lines from a sacred text, crosses, and stars, among others. For those whose practice doesn’t permit permanent tattoos, henna or temporary ink may be alternatives. 

Nature symbols may be a popular feature in 2021 tattoo designs

Ink designs that celebrate nature and the outdoors are expected to be desirable in 2021. 

“After a year of lockdown and limited travel, many people may be finding a new appreciation and love for the outdoors that they now want to represent on their bodies,” Belk said.

Plants, animals, and astronomical symbols all play into nature-inspired tattoo designs. 

Traditional-style tattoos are still in demand

Tattoo artist Gianna Caranfa told Insider that traditional designs will continue to be popular in 2021. 

“Traditional-style tattoos will always be a staple of tattooing, and I don’t see this trend ever fizzling out,” Caranfa said. 

Traditional designs often feature bold lines with dark shading and bright pops of color. 

Visible tattoos seem to be gaining popularity

Caranfa said that visibility may be the main tattoo trend of 2021, as more people are requesting body art on their hands, fingers, and faces.

“Tattoos are gaining acceptance in mainstream society, and fewer people are looking to hide theirs in areas covered by clothing,” Caranfa said. 

Caranfa said celebrities like Ariana Grande, Post Malone, Justin Bieber, Halsey, Angelina Jolie, and Rihanna helped to inspire the trend of highly visible tattoos. 

Faces of loved ones may be a popular request

Belk said getting a tattoo of someone’s face is a trending tribute that may become more common this year. 

“I’m predicting we’ll see more tattoos featuring the names and faces of family and friends in 2021 as people become more thankful for their loved ones,” Belk said. 

If you don’t want a realistically rendered face tattoo, you can opt for a silhouette or minimalist-line portrait instead.  

Chest tattoos will likely stay popular

For people who like the idea of a large tattoo but still want the ability to conceal their design, a chest tattoo may be a good option. 

Chest tattoos were popular in 2020 and are still going strong, including sternum tattoos or ornate designs under the breasts,” Caranfa said. 

Tattooing over the ribs may be especially uncomfortable for some, so scheduling multiple sessions may help make the experience more manageable. 

Clients are still asking for tribal-style tattoos

Tribal-style tattoos, which use dark lines and negative space to create bold designs, were especially popular in the 1990s, but Caranfa said the trend hasn’t faded away. 

“Yes, tribal tattoos are a trend from the past, but these designs are still around today and people are requesting them,” Caranfa said. 

These designs are often inspired by traditional Polynesian and South American art and tattoos, so it’s important to be aware that some tribal-style looks are sacred to certain cultures. 

Simple line work is trending

Minimalist tattoos featuring clean, simple lines are in for 2021. 

“People are getting a lot of cute, simple line work with the occasional line drags, which can give the tattoo a stippled line effect,” Caranfa said. 

Simple designs with minimal shading may also be a good fit for anyone worried about pain, as they often require less time in the tattoo chair