All you need to know before getting a minimalist tattoo

minimalist tattoo

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Having yourself inked is one of the best ways for self-expression. Tattoos can mean anything from a remembrance of your past beliefs or shenanigans to a minimal tattoo that could be deeply personal or totally arbitrary.

Tattoos are a matter of individual taste, so it could get a little tacky and daunting if you don’t think it through. Some opt for a big, flamboyant, and grandiose tattoo design; some also go for something simple, elegant, and small. You can commemorate a life endeavour with a symbolic shape or pay homage to your favourite city with a simple skyline – it’s hard to go wrong with a minimalist tattoo.

What are minimalist tattoos?

Minimalism can be considered an avant-garde movement, and going minimal on tattoo is the new trademark of body art.

Less is more – sometimes a minimal tattoo says more than that of a garish design.  It’s clean, crisp, and timeless, and it features graphic lines, geometric shapes, and subtle dot work. Although minimalist tattoos tend to be discreet and simple, they don’t always have to look dainty. Some have graphic, abstract shapes that make a bold statement.

Minimalist tattoos are almost unnoticeable, but this only adds to their charm and mystic quality. They can often emanate with a more concerted sense of personal significance and ardour. Minimalist tattoos stand out because sometimes, an isolated image can be more visually arresting than is a sleeve overflowing with colourful graphics.

Where do you put minimalist tattoos?

Since a minimal tattoo is usually inconspicuous in design, you would want to put it in an area in your body where it can be more accessible to the eye. After choosing a motif which is already a challenge in itself, the next big part is to decide which body part would be best to have it. 

Of course, having a tattoo on your body requires needles, which means you will subject yourself to some pain. So if you are averse to pain, choose areas that are fleshy since the “bonier” the area is, the more painful it will be. Putting one on the leg, arm, or back is relatively less painful than on the collarbone.

You would also want to put your minimal tattoo on an area on your body where it won’t be subjected to high friction so it can last longer. Tattoos placed at high friction zones tend to fade really fast, so you will have to consider your lifestyle before getting one. Consider getting them on flatter, less abused areas of the body like the flat of the forearm, upper arms, shoulders, back and thighs.  

How much are minimalist tattoos?

Knowing how much your dream minimal tattoo will cost will help when planning it. Although it is minimal and relatively smaller doesn’t necessarily mean it will be cheaper. Hiring a tattoo artist typically costs $120 to $150 per hour, and prices depend on how long it takes. The average cost of a simple tattoo can be calculated at $10 per square inch. A completed simple tattoo design usually averages on $50 to $80 and will take about 45 minutes.

But there are several factors to how much a tattoo can cost. So just a caveat: as a rule of thumb, it’s best not to consider getting one unless you’re willing to pay at least $100 for it. 

Factors affecting the price of a minimal tattoo


  • Skill, experience, and popularity of the artist – This is the leading factor in determining how much you will be charged. If the tattoo artist is well-known and highly skilled, then you can expect that the price is higher than usual. They usually charge by the hour. Artists and tattoo shops that are popular and can only be available by appointments can also charge higher rates.
  • Tattooing tools – The tools and supplies including ink, needles, sterilization units, inkwells, lotions, wipes, and sprays are another expense incurred by the artist that will be passed on to you.
  • Body placement – Artists charge considerably more for a tattoo on a challenging body area. This is because sensitive parts have a lot of nerves and receptors where the tattoo artist should take more caution than usual. Difficult locations include the neck, elbow, feet, and face.
  • Size – The smaller the tattoo, the cheaper it will be. The bigger the size, the more ink is used.
  • Complexity – The amount of time to finish a tattoo depends on the complexity of the design. Those with lots of intricate details will take multiple sessions and long hours, which means you will be paying more. Watercolor tattoos, for example, cost a lot more than getting simple black-inked ones because they require a lot of color and skilled technique to create. 
  • Geographical location – A large tattoo might cost thousands of dollars in a metropolitan location, but only hundreds in a small-traffic city. This is because a lot of other costs are included in the tattoo’s price like the rent, electricity, and overhead that the tattoo studio will have to account for.
  • Color – The more colors there are, even if it’s just gradients or shades of a single color, the more expensive your tattoo will be. It’s not because there’s an additional expense on the artist if he keeps changing inks; it has more to do with the attention to detail the artist has to put in order to get the colors done.
  • Custom design – If it is a generic tattoo design like a shape or an object, the cost will be lower because the tattoo artist does not have to make it up from scratch. But if it’s custom, even a simple flash design that the artist or tattoo parlor already has a stencil of will cost around $50 to $100. If the artist has to create an original design based on what you want, you will also have to pay for the time they will take to conceptualize the piece.

Do tiny tattoos last?

The smaller and more intricate the detailing of the tattoo is, the more chance it will get blurred over time. As cute as they are when you get them, small tattoos sadly won’t last as long as full-line, traditional style tattoos.

Factors that affect the longevity of the tattoo

  • Size of tattoos – Your tattoo should be big enough to not fade in on itself. But despite the size, there is still the general wear and tear, so you should also allow room for touchups. As your skin ages, your tattoo will change. If the tattoo has small, tight intricate details, they will be lost with time as the cells of the skin change and move. When the design is bigger, there is more room for displacement and allows the design to still be decipherable.
  • Layer of skin – An artist’s skill has a great bearing on the appearance of tattoos and how they will age on your skin. Tattoos lay in the dermis of the skin which is only one millimeter thick. It requires precision to ensure the needle hits this one-millimeter layer so if your artist goes too deep, then the ink will blowout. What originally looks like clean lines will eventually look sloppier. 
  • Immediate aftercare – A tattoo will age well if you care for it in the immediate aftermath of getting it done. Allow the tattoo to heal properly so there’s no need for a touch up. Follow your tattoo artist’s instructions word-for-word so your tattoo can last for years.
  • Color – Bright and vibrant colors look great at first, but tend to fade the quickest. Watercolors, for example do not always last the test of time. Black ink or greyscale lasts better than any color does, which makes it the best tattoo palette.
  • Boldness of the design – Both the size and the thickness of their lines make the tattoos long-lasting. Your immune system is actively working to get rid of a tattoo the minute the ink hits your body, and it has an easier time flushing out single line styles simply because there’s less ink. For your small tattoos idea, choose one with bolder designs.
  • Exposure to sun – The sun can dramatically fade tattoos over time, so you should protect the tattoo from sun exposure. If you are a frequent sunbather or cannot commit to putting sunscreen on your tattoos, get them done in areas of your body that don’t typically see the sun.

Bottom Line

Having a tattoo hurts. A tattoo design may require single needles, others need multiple needles. For minimalist tattoos, the process can go on for at least 45 minutes, and it can last longer if your design is more detailed because there is more pricking done than the usual. You have to condition yourself to the pain.

Tattoos are also permanent. Of course you have the option to laser remove it, but that will cost thrice the price of your tattoo, possibly more. They are also invasive and just as painful, sometimes even more so. So you have to have a strong reason for getting one. Tattoos can mean a lot to people, but it can also be just some random body art – people have different reasons for getting tattooed. Whatever your reason may be, it should be something that will help you get comfortable with the thought of your tattoo being long-lasting and something you will have to live with every day.

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