Considering the number of large, text-heavy tattoos popping up online in recent years, it was only a matter of time before someone sat down to write about them.
And that person–thankfully–wasn’t me. I came across a post on the Seppuku Tattoo blog, The Laws of Lettering for Tattoos, which began simply enough:
We often turn down requests for massive amounts of type & I wanted to spell out our very concrete reason as to why that is. This isn’t to discourage anyone from getting tattooed, but rather to look at the broad picture & to help make better tattoo choices. I realize it’s a current fad to get scads of text, we see it all the time. And it drives us crazy.
Here’s the CliffsNotes version of the points used to support their reasoning:
- Text tattoos destroy the art of typography
- Text tattoos fight anatomy
- Text tattoos fight good tattooing
- Text tattoos eat up a lot of skin
- Text tattoos cockblock other tattoos
- “There’s no gallery openings for fonts”
- Art is subjective–text is not
- No one wants to have to read you
- You might have failed English (or other national language)
Clearly the author put a lot of thought into this post – there’s a lot of quotes I considered re-posting here, but for maximum effect might I suggest you read the full post yourself.
Personally, I’m not big on the “one size fits all” mindset for anything; but text tattoos are tricky. While I can think of a handful of attractive large-scale text tattoos right off the bat, I’d say closer to 80% of the heavy text tattoos I’ve seen could be summed up by Seppuku’s last line:
She could have been the Birth of Venus, now’s she a Chinese take out menu. *sigh*
So, what’s your take?