How to Create Tattoo Name Designs

Name tattoos can make a strong personal statement.
Name tattoos can make a strong personal statement. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Tattoos last forever or at least until you spring for that lightening gel or laser removal. For this reason, you should carefully plan and create your tattoo designs. Lettering in general and names in specific offer a unique opportunity to create a range of original designs. The lines and shapes formed by letters can serve as a foundation for more complicated designs or frame objects or abstract designs. Create your own tattoo name design using a few basic design ideas and techniques.

Choose the name. Whether the name of a relative or loved one, a favorite friend, pet, celebrity, historical or fictional person, you can decide what name suits your tattoo best.

Sketch out all your tattoo ideas on drawing paper. Use a single color of pen or pencil to explore the various possibilities for your name tattoo.

Pick a font. The specific style of lettering you use can communicate a great deal of information. A Gothic font may communicate an urban or gangster style, whereas a simple sans-serif may communicate a more ironic or graphic design-oriented style. Experiment with various fonts until you find the one that works for you.

Choose the orientation of the letters. You can place the letters in any particular orientation. Some name tattoos deconstruct the lines of the letters and exaggerate them into swirling tribal shapes. Other tattoos orient the letters in a geometric pattern like a circle or square. Explore how various orientations communicate different moods and styles and work with those that most appeal to you.

Experiment with ambigrams. Ambigrams can be read the same from different viewpoints. This technique can prove challenging, but try writing your name, flipping it upside-down and altering the letters at the beginning and end of the name to match. You may add or remove design elements like serifs to make the letters match. This technique works particularly well with names that begin and end with the same letter, like Nathan.

Translate the name into another language. Many people choose to translate their name into subscripts or character-based languages such as Japanese. The refined lines of these characters look like abstract works of art in themselves. Ensure you translate the name correctly before permanently etching a typo into your flesh.

Incorporate the name into an image. Many traditional tattoos incorporate names into images of roses, hearts and other images of romance, love and tenderness. You may wish to incorporate a portrait of the person from a photograph, or a hand, foot or paw print into the design.

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