Symbolic Meanings Behind Common Tattoo Designs

Most people use tattoos as a form of self-expression. Tattoos can represent personal narratives, have cultural significance, serve as a form of artistic expression, and more.  

Most people choose a tattoo that has some sort of symbolic meaning. And there’s a reason that you see certain types of tattoos on multiple people—because those tattoos have some sort of symbolic meaning that many people relate to. 

If you want a tattoo, choosing a design that has significant symbolic meaning to you is a good place to start. You can visit The Style Up website or a similar website to learn about many different types of designs and the symbolic meaning behind them all.  

If you’re curious about the symbolic meaning behind some of the most common types of tattoos, keep reading. 


Dragons have long been a popular choice for tattoos. Dragon tattoos range in designs and sizes, but large dragon tattoos that show off plenty of details and have the dragon’s fangs bared are common. They often look fierce or aggressive, but some people opt for a cute looking dragon.  

Dragons symbolize a strong personality. Dragons are thought to be powerful, brave, strong, and wise creatures. Those who get dragon tattoos often see themselves as having these characteristics. 

Lotus flowers 

In general, flowers are popular choices for tattoos; each type of flower has a different symbolic meaning, but one of the types of flower tattoos you’ll often see is the lotus flower. The lotus flower is known for symbolizing values related to spirituality. Each color lotus symbolizes something different.   

White lotuses represent spiritual awakening and purity, while blue lotuses represent wisdom and the never-ending quest for knowledge. Other common lotus colors used for tattoos include pink, red, and purple. 


Butterfly tattoos are both classic and feminine. Butterfly tattoos are often small, though some people opt for larger butterfly tattoos or choose a large design that incorporates multiple butterflies. You can get really creative with the colors of a butterfly tattoo! 

Butterfly tattoos are cute, but they have a powerful meaning. Caterpillars transform into butterflies, so those that get butterfly tattoos often get them to represent a major life transformation. Some even see them as symbols of perseverance through hard times. 

Infinity symbols 

Infinity tattoos can be simple or complex in design. The infinity symbol looks like a sideways 8 and represents an endless line. Some people refer to them as forever symbols. People that get an infinity tattoo are representing that something is endless or forever to them. 

For example, some people incorporate the names of their children into an infinity tattoo to represent endless love for their children. Other people might put a special date, such as the day of their wedding. 


Arrows are another tattoo that can be simple or complex in design. Some people opt for small arrows that can barely be seen, while others get arrow tattoos that take up their entire forearm. Arrow tattoos can also have different meanings. 


Generally, an arrow tattoo symbolizes peace and a new direction. However, two arrows pointing in opposite directions can symbolize conflict. An arrow going through a heart symbolizes love. If you’re curious about what someone’s arrow tattoo means to them, ask! 


The sun has always been a symbol of life and growth since ancient times. It should come as no surprise that they are a popular tattoo choice for both men and women across a wide range of cultures. Some sun designs can be simple, while other sun tattoos are quite complex. 

For most people, a sun tattoo symbolizes life, power, and positive energy. Some people might also use it to symbolize wisdom or to represent their positive personality. 


The moon is another symbol that has fascinated people since ancient times. The moon has always been a mysterious symbol in comparison to the sun; some cultures view the moon as magical or otherworldly.  

The moon, however, can also symbolize the release of negative energy or a form of personal growth, since it waxes and wanes each month. The meaning behind a moon tattoo can be complex; most people with a moon tattoo have given careful thought of what variation of the moon they want. 


The meaning behind tattoos can be rather fascinating. While some tattoos have universal meanings, other tattoos might have multiple symbolic meanings. 

If you’re ever curious about someone’s tattoo, strike up a conversation. Most people are happy to talk about what their tattoo means to them⁠—you might even hear their life story! 






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