Tattoos are excellent pieces of art. Since the 19th century, they have slowly picked up the pace and become more popular across all genders unlike those earlier times. Initially, tattoos were popular only among the men in the navy, where they signified important information like the position or rank the person served.

With time, tattoos have become adopted beyond such naval lines, and men and women alike share in the art of engraving their bodies with them. More often than not, tattoos have become something of a cultural significance as well as having a personal identification with every person who has them.

However, men have completely varied reasons why they go through all the fuss of getting tattoos as compared to women.


Why Small Tattoos for Men are Getting Popular

Let’s say that putting on a tattoo nowadays has become complex, and the reason easily transcends that of just it being a symbol of beauty on the body. Men are deemed as logical beings and seek to live a life of meaning. Their actions are careful, logical and go out of their way to plan things accordingly ahead of time, rather than just making spontaneous decisions. It is with this kind of mindset that small tattoos for men find themselves popular among many.

In addition, small tattoos for men hold a lot of meaning and a sense of identity or recognition to the one who has them. For instance, it may be to signify a certain life-changing experience, which one went through at a certain stage of their lives, or it can be a symbol that reminds one of the most important events or things that are part of their lives and have changed them either for the better or for the worse. Therefore, tattoos serve as symbols of a reminder of who the person is in the course of their lives.

Small Tattoo Meanings

For example, a small tattoo of a cross on the wrist says a lot about the religious background of the one who has it. It signifies protection from the high power one believes in, and at the same time it can give a sense of an elegant rebellious spirit. On the other hand, a semicolon tattoo on the wrist or the hand can be used to mean that despite the negative pauses one usually experiences in their lives, life still moves on.

Other small tattoos for men with a deeper meaning include two arrow-like symbols on the hand, which make up one Viking symbol and represents the creation of one’s own reality, the zen circle which represents enlightenment, universe and strength that resides inside us, and the full phase of a changing moon from crescent to crescent which signifies the continuity of life as we know it along with its inconsistency, as well as karma.


There are other numerous tattoos that give a lot of meaning to men, but these are perfect examples. Remember a tattoo is something meant to be permanent, so make sure you choose something that has significance, meaning and identifies perfectly to your situation. That’s the best thing about them.

Artistic Examples of Small Tattoos for Men


Tattoo on the outer side of the upper arm about four inches long depicting army-like stripes approximately a quarter inch thick, with the first stripe two inch from the crook of the arm. Four stripes of light black ink tone point upwards towards the upper arm and transform into two dark-toned images of a bird in motion.


Tattoo design covering the entire circumference of the wrist. Shows an ocean wave on the backside of the wrist of the right hand in grey and accented in black ink and with the front side depicting a small island with a single coconut tree on it.


Tattoo style on the innermost part of the forearm of the left hand indicating an intricate image of Da Vinci’s framed hand of God and Adam, about two inches thick. This is a perfect way to represent spiritual path


Small tattoos for guys on the lower side of the chest, one inch from mamma and on the left side a drawing that shows a simple representation of an elephant. This is a great tattoo that symbolizes dignity, strength and pride.


Small tattoo ideas can be applied to the left inner arm and turn cycling into a body art! This one is an adorable and lovely black bicycle design pointing to the left; just about two inches thick and great for travel lovers.


Small tattoo for men, a classic flying bald eagle one inch from clavicle, drawn entirely using black ink with simple white horizontal lines at the wings apart from the head which is left to show a lighter contrast.


Black ink ocean wave, bordered in a circle frame on the right hand approximately one inch from the elbow crook drawn in lines of uniform intensity. This can indicate the turbulence of a rough ocean, emotions fantasy, and a primal state.


A multicolored tattoo on the forearm showing a sleeping female astronaut’s head in her helmet with a ringed planet embossed at the top of it. A red bolt like shadow visible through the helmet’s visor runs across the astronaut’s face and contrasts perfectly with her feminine features. This is a pleasant way to show love for the universe and galactic exploration.


Tattoos ideas for men represented by a skull in black ink on the forearm, one inch from the wrist with black and grey floral patterns on its face – probably a symbol of remembrance, change of lifestyle or even overcoming deadly calamities.


The head of a woman is stylized at the forearm just behind the wrist with a hole at the forehead; these patterns can be applied to those who have great hopes in women, the focused and to ladies, who honor their womanhood,


Another concept can be applied at the front part of leg, two rectangular marks of about one and a half inch and an inch lying vertically after the other; drawn using black and red and have black marks


X marks or an unfinished cross represented by two black marks heavily toned in black ink crossing each other just before the middle of the arm, one having a slash of ink elongated to represent the unfinished stroke of a painting brush.


A tattoo description seemingly showing a winding stream of white light passing through a slit prism and giving rise to an oozing array of multiple colors similar to those of the spectrum i.e.; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and traces of violet on the opposite end. This design mimics Japanese or Chinese way of paintings


Tattoo on inner forearm outlining black trees about two inches from the elbow, on still implying darkness and several dots showing constellation, this is a great way to show hope and divinity. Also, this can be a good way to show guidance.


Three simple black marks lying about a quarter each from the other; at the right thumb, lying between the first and the second joint of the thumb, they are pointing at the upper side of the hand.


Left forearm deer head tattoo, one inch across, with the antlers extending about three inches from the wrist and drawn out in black ink. The deer tattoo can be applied to symbolize gentleness and kindness because of their natural character or even nobility which is a very vital value.


A catchy image of emerald crystals one inch from the right ankle on the left side with ten pieces made entirely of black with stripes that lie and overlaps each other. The larger shapes overlay one another akin to a well-formed conglomeration of crystals.


Three circular shapes tattoo patterns on the left side of the right hand just after the wrist and all marked with black ink. The first circle has a mountain with shapes overlapping into a compact composition; the second having got a simple water wave and the last an image of strong alpine tree


A rectangular shape at the upper arm of the left hand approximately one inch from the elbow and a quarter of it shaded with black ink where the cup having dotted marks lies almost full and hot.


A rising sun’s representation in the scaphoid or antihelix part of the ear with a clear semicircle cut off by a black line and different rays emerging from the shape. A few marks of different length are drawn on the downward part to represent calm water.


A simple band of solid black line, this is about a quarter inch thick around the wrist of the left arm similar to a dark bracelet that is worn at the same spot. The lower side has a lighter ink tonality as compared to the upper part which has much more intense tonality.


A monochrome or dark design showing a man carrying a surfboard rushing towards the water at the left ankle on the back side, this is a great art that’s seemingly showing he’s heading towards the front part of the leg. What a nice tattoo image to show love for the sport and adventure!


A tattoo with the inscription of the words “Tattone 5k1 N” bordered in a rectangular shape depicted at the forearm quarter inch from the wrist drawn white and elongated using black marks. What a great way to show that the color has been an integral part of how a culture expresses altitudes and emotions.


A warriors sword about three inches long and one inch and a half wide drawn at the sideway of the forearm pointing downwards has grey marks between running vertically on the blade and crossing on the handle which is about an inch from the elbow of the left hand.


An anchor tattoo about two inches long in black ink on the right arm just after the wrist pointing towards the elbow. A good small tattoo idea to show stability and strength just like the anchor holds a ship in a place.


A simple frontal view of a plane would be fitting as a small tattoo design if you’re an aviator, pilot, or plane enthusiast. The clean outline of the plane creates a sleekly neat look that can be done pretty fast.


There is no way better way of saying “Go Planet Earth” than this small tattoo. The capital “G” and the globe that stands as the “O” are clever, distinctive, cool and neat. It successfully shows a simple but strong statement.


Guys can never go wrong with plants, or in this case, a black-and-white fern. It takes dedication and skill to draft the intricate details of fern leaves onto skin, which makes this design as one of the many creative tattoo ideas for men.


Three minimal arrow heads are great as they can mean positivity, friendship, or new directions. It may not be common as small tattoos for guys, but the great thing about it is that you can have it mean whatever you want it to mean.


Women can be common inspiration for either big or small tattoo for men, but if you want to be a bit more artsy, here’s a more interesting approach. A woman’s posed outline done in different shades will stand out creatively as a tattoo.


The Penrose triangle is a triangle that seems to connect but a closer look reveals a mind-boggling illusion. It’s quite popular although not a lot of men settle for small tattoos of it, which makes the design unique and fun.


Words and sentences are popular small tattoo ideas. The word “Alive” however, tattooed onto skin can be powerfully resonating. Whether you’re sentimental, trying to inspire, or trying to remind yourself something each day, this design would be a good choice if you’re into words.


A triangle done in gradient style linked with an outline of another could make up for a great minimal tattoo design. The great thing about shapes is that they are flexible as designs. Minimal may mean simple, but here it looks refreshingly creative.


Enclosed tattoos make them look neat and sleek to look at, especially when they feature an astronaut in space. Color won’t even matter. Space themes may be common as tattoos ideas, though getting one such as this is never a mistake.


The gifts of nature – as seen here as two birds perched on a tree branch – are another great concept when it comes to small tattoo concepts. Getting a tattoo like this may remind you of nature’s beauty wherever you are.


Rings are not the only things you can wear on your finger. A bijou skull design could work well with you. Throw in a flower crown for the skull to wear for extra spice and you will have a cool, minimalist tattoo.


A palm tree and a fern tree separated by two intersecting lines is on another creative level. A little line and shape combination can give you a refreshing edge. This is one small tattoos idea where it’s best to not give too much away while remaining interesting.


If a rose encased by a diamond looks familiar, that may be because you’ve seen Beauty and the Beast. Whether or not the movie inspired this design, and although it’s more of a woman’s choice, it still rocks as a small, minimally creative tattoo for men.


Gradients are always appealing to look at, and their non-conformity to one solid color makes them a candidate for great compact tattoos. In this design, a faint shade of green softly turns into blue, showing you how gradients are perfect for color transitions.


Symbolism is another creative approach to a mini tattoo design. A paper plane, casting an outline of an airplane as its shadow, can prompt anyone to look at it in various, different perspectives. It’s clever, crafty, and thought-provoking as it is beautifully effortless.


If you want to go for a sleekly minimal tattoo idea, try parallel lines. Wear them anywhere your body symbolically. The beauty of this idea or design is that you know what it means to you, and there may be nearly zero similar tattoos.


Another compact tattoo design for men is this gesture guised as a cactus. The lines on this one are not carefully done, but that’s just the creative look of it. The cleverness of the design makes it a great idea.


Thinking of another clever, tiny tattoo design for guys? Why not go for barcodes! Barcodes need numbers to work. Get a barcode with a set of numbers that mean something special to you and you will have a simple and savvy tattoo design.


This design is a great hipster approach to tiny tattoos and it could fit you. Instead of a solid black color on a triangle, get the artist to experiment with hues of colors. Settle on the hues and have the artist color the triangle in.


Sailing is a great pastime, and boats can provide anyone with various symbolic meanings. Encase one sailing boat with a square outline and you will have a hip, neat, and original small tattoo style. The waves created by simple strokes and shades are also a cool touch.


Going floral is a cool mini tattoo style. To get the best of both worlds in the case of viewing perspectives, you can get two roses – on the sides of your thumb to get up close – but get one done upside down


The shape of a camera’s shutter lens is a stylish, cool and clever miniature tattoo idea, especially when you’re a photography enthusiast. No need to get the whole camera shape done – just getting the solid shape of the shutter is enough.


A portrait, paint-like tattoo like this one is great compact tattoo idea. Kept neatly solid by the circular shape, this style cleverly does away with the usual, rigid frame. The style also pops out more with the help of the soft colors.


An artistic way to wear a small-scale tattoo is have the tattoo done as an anklet. Reminiscent of traditional tattoos, this style is timeless and is fashionable and fitting not just for men. Sticking to one solid color – like black – can make the style stand out more.


Wear minimal, fine art on your body like this tiny tattoo design. Draft mountains onto the skin, turn them into more solid triangle shapes and give them more color – doing so can give you a hip design such as this.