Popular Tattoo Designs: Symbols & Meanings

December 23, 2015 - 3 min read

Tattoos come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own symbols and meanings. If you’re thinking of getting inked up, you want that ever-lasting piece of body art to hold a special meaning. While certain types of tattoos will hold more personal significance, a lot of popular tattoo designs have similar connotations. Check out our guide to popular tattoo designs and their symbols and meanings.

Tattoos & What They Symbolise


Anchor tattoos are often associated with a love for the open waters. They can also symbolise holding strong despite whatever might be happening around you.

  • Strength
  • Stability
  • Affinity with the ocean


Apart from having strong religious connotations, Angels represent an ever-present force of protection. Angels are traditionally depicted as pure beings sent to vanquish evil and redeem the just. For a believer, an angel tattoo can serve as a comforting reminder of spiritual safety. Religious symbolism aside, angel tattoos just look really cool.

  • Spirituality
  • Devotion to God
  • Protection


Considered a more feminine tattoo selection, a butterfly tattoo can signify transformation. It’s also a symbol for human imagination, as well as the delightful and magical powers of nature.

  • Transformation
  • Divine beauty
  • Femininity


Although the Cross is most synonymous with the Christian faith, it also symbolises triumph over adversity, compassion, forgiveness and loyalty. Often times, the design of the cross image can have cultural significance. For example, the above image is a Celtic cross, which could represent the wearer being proud of his Irish heritage. The cross remains one of the most popular and striking tattoo designs.

  • Devotion to Christianity
  • Triumph over adversity
  • Forgiveness


Crown tattoos are associated with a range of meanings related to sovereignty, power and authority. They are often used as a symbol to remind people that they have the power to choose their own destiny.

  • Sovereignty
  • Power
  • Control

Koi Fish

Koi fish tattoos are a symbol for good luck and fortune. Old Japanese legends suggest that koi fish would battle their way up the falls of Yellow River and transform dragons. The colour of koi fish you choose will often change its meaning.

  • Luck
  • Strength & Perseverance
  • Transformation

Dream Catcher

Originating from Native American culture, a dream catcher is an amulet that’s believed to capture evil dreams and let the good ones through. People tattoo this on their body in hope that it has the same effect.

  • Native American culture
  • Good Dreams


The average lifespan of a dragonfly is only 24 hours long. So people use dragonfly tattoos to symbolise just how short life is and it serves as a reminder to make the most of it.

  • Carpe diem
  • Shortness of life

Rose Flowers

Rose tattoos symbolise love and beauty. Unlike real-life roses, rose tattoos don’t die, so it can also serve as a symbol of eternal love.

  • Love
  • Beauty
  • Nature


Without the sun, there would be no life on earth. Sun tattoos represent fertility, strength, passion, courage, life, power, light and even knowledge.

  • Fertility
  • Life
  • Power & Strength


Depending on the type of star tattoo and the amount of points it has, a star tattoo can have several different meanings. A star shining through dark surroundings is seen as a symbol of hope and truthfulness. In Australia, the Southern Cross is a common star tattoo selection and is a sign of patriotism.

  • Light
  • Hope

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