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These days, there are tons of tattoo styles to choose from and if you're unsure, the possibilities can be pretty overwhelming. Say, for example, you want to get a tattoo of a rose. Well, you can virtually go in any direction with that idea—from a hyper detailed color realism piece to a bold-n-bulletproof traditional banger. When considering a style, there are a few different factors you should consider.

First, do you want the tattoo to be in color or black-and-grey? Some tattoos come to life with color and are more recognizable with their signature bright hues. On the other hand, black-and-grey is a timeless and classic choice. Next, do you want something that has a lot of intricate details or a tattoo that's more simplified? Tattoo technology has come an exceptionally long way in recent years, with artists being able to pack teeny tiny details into a tattoo to make it look like it's jumping off the skin. Then again, simple is totally rad too. Then, what size are you aiming for? If you want something small, subtle and dainty—micro is the style for you. However, if you're not afraid to go big, why not opt for a traditional Japanese back piece?

In case you're still unsure what direction to go in or just want me to stop yammering so we can get to the babes, take a look at 7 of the most popular tattoo styles showcased through dedicated tattoo collectors.

Color Realism

Color realism is an extremely popular tattoo style that has taken the industry by storm. A tattoo can be classified as color realism is the artist tries to mimic a photograph, the tattoo lacks bold outlines and it's inked in color. Notable color realism tattoo artists include Nikko Hurtado, Steve Butcher, Yomico Moreno and Paul Acker.


Black-and-grey is an extremely sought after style, particularly on the West Coast. A tattoo can be classified as black-and-grey if it aims to be realistic, has smooth shading and is inked in black, grey and hints of white ink. Notable black-and-grey tattoo artists include Sergio Sanchez, Carlos Torres, Jak Connolly and Matt Jordan.


Neo-traditional has been one of the most popular tattoo styles for a while, as it's extremely diverse and versatile. A tattoo can be classified as neo-traditional if it takes inspiration from American traditional but takes creative liberties with colors, shading and subject. Notable neo-traditional tattoo artists include Emily Rose Murray, Matt Curzon, Daniels Bauti and Jen Tonic.


Ornamental tattooing is an umbrella term for many different styles, but primarily refers to dotwork and jewelry tattooing. A tattoo can be classified as an ornamental tattoo if it's made up of patterns, filagree or body framing shapes. Notable ornamental tattoo artists include Ryan Ashley Malarkey, Coen Mitchell, Ryan Smith and Karlla Mendes


If a tattoo is primarily made up of black ink, then it might be a blackwork tattoo. A tattoo can be classified as a blackwork tattoo if it's bold, solid and of course, black! Notable blackwork tattoo artists include HoodeTattoos, Black Prada, Johnny Gloom and Wolf Rosario.

American Traditional

If you want a tattoo that will outlive any and all trends, a traditional tattoo is your best bet. A tattoo can be classified as an American traditional tattoo if it has bold black outlines, solid color shading and simplistic imagery. Notable American traditional tattoo artists include Myke Chambers, Mattia Giks, William Cioncolini  and Giuseppe Messina.

Japanese Traditional

If you want a tattoo that's larger than life, Japanese traditional could be your style. A tattoo can be classified as a Japanese traditional tattoo if it follows the rules passed down by artists for generations, depicts scenes featuring dragons, geishas, koi or tigers, and could be done in the traditional tebori technique. Notable Japanese traditional artists include Jess Yen, Mike Rubendall, Chris Garver and DiaoZuo.