Gallery of graphic tattoos that can be filtered by subject, body part and size.read more
Graphic style tattoos can go from a reinvention of reality to the purest abstraction, from color to black, to childhood and street influences to watercolor and pop art. Graphic style tattoos mix photos, shapes and typography to communicate a specific and unambiguous message.
Graphic tattoos use the principles of graphic design. They can be simple or complex, and can vary in style or tone. However, they always mix images with typographical elements (or symbols representing typography) to express a clear statement, whether commercial, political, educational or cultural. Within tattooing, this can also mean the depiction of a specific story or quote, as requested by the client.
Depending on how broadly or narrowly “graphic design” is defined, many art movements can be classified within it. Some camps choose to separate design from “art,” however, arguing that any message commissioned by someone other than the artist -- whether a corporation, social group, religious order, or another person -- is fundamentally different than that of an artist expressing their own thoughts, emotions and experiences. However, given the history of fine art commissioned by religious sects and wealthy benefactors, that can also be viewed as an invalid argument. Tattoo Filter takes no formal stance in the Art vs. Design debate, but must recognize the controversy here.
The foundations of graphic design are rooted in religious books of antiquity, where calligraphy intermingled with detailed illustrations in Confucian, Muslim, Egyptian, Hindu and Christian texts. It can be argued that pictographs and hieroglyphics of prehistoric cultures were the first examples of graphic design, as the paintings were forms of communication.
Modern examples of graphic design can be found in branding, advertisements, infographics, political propaganda, maps / charts / data visualization, and the like. Taking many forms, the common thread is the intention to communicate something objective, rather than being interpretive or subjective.
Colloquially, in contemporary tattoo culture, “graphic” is sometimes used to reference anything created with a digital program, such as Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. However, the same results can often be achieved with analog tools, as well, so this is not the proper way to categorize the design.