Geometric tattoos are one of the most popular modern tattoo styles. They use geometric lines and patterns to create striking designs ranging from mind-bending to minimalist. The signature geometric tattoo is all black, but tattoo artists incorporate color and geometric elements together into varied designs. The key feature of a geometric tattoo is that it uses a pattern of shapes, such as circles, triangles, and squares. A pure geometric tattoo will consist solely of shapes and lines, usually intricately arranged. Especially when used for larger tattoos, such as a sleeve, these tattoos can beautifully complement the body’s movement and may even have an optical illusion effect.
Other geometric tattoos start with a central feature that you might find in a traditional tattoo, such as a flower, animal, or person, and then use geometric shapes to augment the design. Often, these designs feature slim black lines or pointillism to add a modern, geometric flair to an otherwise traditional style.
Geometric tattoos are popular not only for their aesthetics, but for their symbolic meaning. Many tattoo artists are inspired by something called sacred geometry: the belief that shapes and patterns have deeper meanings that connect to characteristics of the universe. You may remember from math class, for example, how geometry is present in nature. Honeybees build their hives with hexagonal cells. Nautilus shells grow into a perfect logarithmic spiral. Humans, too, have used these universal proportions in constructing ancient temples, Christian cathedrals, and all kinds of artwork.
Geometric tattoos often draw on these elements for their designs, using nautilus shells or Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man drawing, for example. Others incorporate more abstract geometric meanings. According to symbolic geometry, each shape represents something different: a cube represents the earth, an icosahedron (20 faces) represents water, and an octahedron (8 faces) represents air. These symbolic meanings enable tattoo artists to imbue a tattoo with layers of meaning, while creating a minimalist design.
Another popular kind of geometric tattoo is inspired by mandalas: geometric designs created by Hindus and Buddhists to represent the universe. A mandala is a geometric shape, usually a circle, with intricate patterns spiraling towards the center. Within some Hindu and Buddhist practices, monks create mandalas as a form of focus and meditation. Each design detail of a mandala can have symbolic meanings, relating to religious teachings or to the structure of the universe. Some geometric tattoos recreate entire mandalas, while others work more subtle inspiration into other kinds of designs.
What Do Geometric Tattoos Mean?
Geometric tattoos, as you may know, tend to be inspired by shapes and patterns found in nature. Some common elements of this tattoo style, such as the Gordian knot, are even associated with religious and cultural backgrounds that go back thousands of years. What’s interesting about geometric tattoos is that each shape can represent something different. For example, circles can represent relationships and community, while squares represent stability.
In geometric tattoo is quite common to combine different shapes to create tattoo designs that are intricate and beautiful. Combining different geometric shapes is quite the challenge, though, because there needs to be balance for the design to look good. But that’s what good tattoo artists are for!
Geometric designs have existed for as long as we can see and they have remained through time because there’s strength in the shapes that make up our world. In fact, the concept of geometric tattoo has existed for thousands of years. Its evolution to what we know today has been a natural one.
The meaning of geometric tattoos back in the day was mostly spiritual and religious. In today’s modern world, geometric tattoos mean more than that and they represent symmetry, balance, mystery, stability, intelligence, grace, and so much more. The great thing about geometric tattoos is they can be adjusted to the context of whatever you want to express.
Most Common Geometric Tattoo Elements
Similar to other tattoo styles out there, geometric tattoos have certain elements that are common to this style and they all have a deep meaning. Let’s take a look at the most popular features in geometric tattoos so you can choose yours wisely!
The Gordian Knot
The Gordian knot represents an unsolvable or difficult problem. In geometric tattoo style, the Gordian knot is often created with interlocking rings. The simplicity of the design is exquisite and its beauty and elegance both stem from that fact. Even though the design is quite simple, the message is powerful enough to be dominant and to come across clearly. Many people wear this element as a representation of how complex life can be and how beautiful unsolvable mysteries can be.
The Gordian knot is actually based on Greek mythology because the knot was used to secure Gordias’ ox-car. No one could untie this knot, not even Alexander the Great, who decided to cut it with his sword. This is how the Gordian knot became a metaphor for problems that can’t be solved if we don’t think outside the box. If you’re an assertive person and you don’t shy away from the challenges life throws your way, the Gordian knot might be a good choice for your geometric tattoo!
Flowers are popular and always will be because they’re a common representation of beauty and they carry a lot of symbology behind them. Each flower represents something different and it’s no wonder many people around the world integrate flowers into their tattoo designs. There are so many different kinds of flowers that the combinations and the number of possibilities is incredible, so you can always come up with something unique.
Geometric renditions of flowers are no exception to that because the fact that they’re geometric won’t change the symbology of the flower. If anything, it will make the flower look more unique and interesting. Roses represent love, daisies are purity and innocence, and lotuses represent individuality. You won’t run short of symbolism if you go with a geometric flower, that much we can guarantee.
A common geometric flower in geometric tattoo is the flower of life, which is a geometric shape created by overlapping many circles of the same size. The flower of life can be traced back thousands of years and it has a rich cultural and religious background.
Owls are lovely creatures and they’re a symbol of wisdom and intelligence. Many people love the aesthetic of these birds and it’s no surprise they’ve become a common element for geometric tattoo. For some people, owls also represent mysticism and mystery. Owls are quite efficient and intelligent animals, so the meaning behind this element is quite obvious and it will make a great addition to your geometric tattoo design.
Cubes may seem dull, but they’re anything but. As a symbol, cubes represent earth and stability. As you can imagine, they’re a popular element in geometric tattoo and they have a lot of applications. One of the most popular designs is the Metatron’s cube, which symbolizes the underlying patterns of the universe. This symbol is often a reminder of how the universe wishes for us to use our powers and discover new paths in our lives.
Fractal designs are often a part of geometric tattoo design and they represent the infinite scalability of nature. Fractal patterns and designs can also represent the importance of the balance between order and chaos, so it’s no wonder they’re a common element in geometric tattoo.
The geometric tattoo style is unlike any other tattoo style out there. Its simplicity and beauty is unique and it allows you to combine many different elements to create a powerful, meaningful piece you can be proud of wearing on your skin. The meaning behind the most common elements in this type of tattoo style is deep and inspiring, so it’s no surprise this has become such a popular style for many around the world.