If its permanent nature is any indication, it appears that tattoo artistry – or rather, its popularity – is here to stay. Tattoos have been the rise over the last two decades, and in 2012, a study found that 1 out of every 5 adults have at least one tattoo. A similar study conducted by Pew Research determined that close to 40% of young adults between ages 18 to 29 have tattoos. Though currently soaring in popularity, especially among younger demographics, the practice of tattooing dates back to Neolithic times. Tattooed mummies have been recovered from all over the world, spanning countries and cultures and representing everything from caste systems and punishment to healing and religion.

Though not any less diverse, the tattoos of today are a bit different. Frequently deeply personal, today’s tattoos usually have some sort of intrinsic meaning attached to them, signifying a memory, a person or place, or even something of personal value. Despite this, particular designs resonate more than others, and due to their popularity, trends eventually emerge. Unique yet ubiquitous, outlined below are 10 of the most popular types of tattoos found in the U.S. today. Scroll through and see if your favorite made the list.


Popular among men, tribal tattoos signify the strength of the warrior and date back to more than 5000 years ago. They are frequently worn on the arms as sleeves.


Celestial and peaceful, star tattoos are varied in meaning and appearance. Popular with both men and women, stars can be inked in many styles, including three-dimensional and watercolor.  


Signifying love, hearts are a common tattoo design for women. Large or small, heart tattoos can be delicate or overstated.


Floral tattoos are popular for their use of color and range of style. Though largely popular among women, men too have been getting in on this trend, with full sleeves of lush gardens.


Originated in New Zealand, Maori tattoo artistry represents the indigenous Maori people. Highly intricate and detailed, facial tattoos are common among the Maori people, as they consider the head to be the most sacred part of the body.


Wings – especially angel wings – are a popular design among women, frequently tattooed on the back close to the shoulder blades. Beloved for their beauty and delicacy, wings are heavily symbolic in nature.  


Dragon tattoos are revered for their variety of meanings and popularity across cultures, with a strong Chinese and Japanese influence.   

Sun and Moon

A sun tattoo can have many meanings, including fertility, strength, and passion, while the moon may represent purity or eternity. Both are popular in cultures all over the globe, and all have a universal recognition.  


Celtic tattoos hearken back to the days of Celtic warriors, worn as an intimidation tactic during battle. Commonly sported by men, Celtic knots are typically worn on the neck, chest, shoulders, and arms.

Pin-Up Girls

Cheeky and fun, pin-up girl tattoos gained popularity during World War II when posters of actual pin-up girls like Bettie Page and Betty Grable provided a welcome comfort to soldiers overseas.  

Whatever the style or meaning, tattoos are an undoubtedly creative way to express oneself. What are your favorite kinds of tattoos? Share in the comment section below!

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