Tattoos of Chinese characters are being inked onto more and more people’s skin everyday. Unfortunately, many of these tattoos are far from unique. There seems to be a real shortage of creativity when designing or deciding on tattoos, and people are often content to settle for run-of-the-mill, pre-designed tattoos.
Rather than settling for mediocre Chinese symbol tattoos, there are many methods for creating unique and personally meaningful tattoos. Below are some suggestions for creating Chinese symbol tattoos with unique designs and significant meanings.
Choose Meaningful Chinese Characters for Tattoos
Many tattoos of Chinese characters use the same standard words and characters. “Love”, “peace”, “beauty”, “freedom”, and other such powerful words are so popular that tattoo parlors typically have these tattoos pre-designed for clients.
Another common trend is to get Chinese transliterations of English given names as tattoos. While perhaps a neat idea, anyone interested in creating a unique and personal tattoo design should avoid these common trends.
One way to avoid cliche tattoos of Chinese symbols is to work backwards. That is, instead of coming up with an English word or phrase and looking for a Chinese equivalent, words and phrases that pack a lot of meaning when used in the Chinese language itself should be sought.
For example, Chinese is a language with a rich inventory of idioms. Consulting a Chinese dictionary of idioms might be a good place to start for choosing meaningful Chinese phrases for tattoos. Getting a tattoo of a Chinese idiom will give an authentic, endemic Chinese flavor to a tattoo, and can be appreciated by speakers of both Chinese and English.
Another option is to use lines from famous Chinese poetry, or Chinese religious and philosophical works. The poetry of Li Bai, Du Fu, and Han Shan can be a great place to search for impressive and beautiful use of the Chinese language. Likewise, Daoist texts such as Dao De Jing (or Tao Te Ching) and Zhuangzi (or Chuang Tzu) have plenty of examples of rich language and meaningful expressions.
Choose Beautiful and Interesting Chinese Symbol Tattoo Designs
Tattoos should be as visually pleasing as possible. Yet, many tattoos of Chinese characters are designed with uninteresting and aesthetically unappealing scripts and fonts. In fact, some tattoo designs look as though they have been written in an overly common font and printed off a computer. At worst, the characters can even look pixelated.
Choosing a good font or script is an essential aspect of designing a good tattoo. As such, tattoo clients should spend time deciding on the best fonts and scripts. Using older, archaic calligraphy styles is one way to create unique tattoo designs. Even using the oldest known style of Chinese writing – oracle bone script – may be an interesting option for tattoo designs. Or, for the ultimate unique approach, hiring a competent designer to create a unique font for a character tattoo guarantees originality.
One final suggestion might be to avoid getting tattoos of just one Chinese character. Instead, using full sentences, paragraphs, and blocks of texts are far less common, and can look great if done thoughtfully.
There is no reason to settle for pre-designed Chinese symbol tattoos. Likewise, there are plenty of options for creating unique and interesting tattoo ideas and designs. The above examples are a good starting point for those interested in getting Chinese character tattoos to really be proud of.
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