Each year brings with it a flood of new trends that will undoubtedly influence the aesthetic choices we make over the next 12 months. And while it’s unfair to suggest that 2020’s tattoo trends will dictate every (expensive) (generally permanent) body art decision that’s made in the coming year, there’s little harm in looking ahead. Even the fad-averse can peruse the 2020 tattoo trendscape for inspiration. (And at worst, scrolling through some seriously pretty body art on Instagram isn’t a bad way to kill 5 minutes.)
“Just like fashion, tattoo trends have a trickle-down cycle,” tattooist Adam Villani tells StyleCaster. So while a few new trends will enter the market in 2020, some of 2019’s favorite techniques will continue to reign supreme. Villani says tattoo fans can expect to see more minimalist black ink work, more grunge tattoos, and more stick-and-poke art. In other words, you don’t have to bid adieu to all your favorites just yet.
That said, we may see watercolor tattoos get the metaphorical boot in 2020. “They were very cool at first, but now they’ve been done,” Villani notes. “We also now know watercolor tattoos tend not to age amazingly.” Villani says we might also see small symbol tattoos fall by the wayside. (You know, “the ones you’d see all over Pinterest back in the day,” Villani says.)
What’s coming ’round the bend? Color, Korean-inspired pieces, and art that blends a few different styles together. While minimalism is still very much on the menu, maximalism is growing increasingly popular. In other words, chic 2020 tattoo options abound.
1. Color—and a lot of it
“By far, the biggest trend is color,” Villani says. “Color is so, so in.” Villani notes that the use of bold color offers a stark contrast to 2019’s obsession with minimalism. And while clean black lines will continue to pervade the landscape, color will begin to play a bigger role.
“We’re going to see so many new, creative uses of color,” Villani says. One particular palette Villani thinks is poised to dominate? Pastels.
2. Minimalist black ink work
“This past year, there’s been a trend of minimalist black ink work—particularly pieces with lots of empty space and thin lines,” Villani notes. Though color is set to enter the scene in a major way, Villani says the minimalist tattoo trend is “in no way dying.”
“This is a trend that will continue to thrive for a while,” he says.
3. Blended aesthetics
Villani notes that the shift toward favoring color has also led some to update older, more traditional pieces with vibrant, contemporary pigments. “There’s a huge trend that I’m loving, where pastels and bright colors are being added to American traditional-style tattoos,” Villani says.
And this movement extends beyond color. “With this, we’re seeing a huge trend in the blending of styles,” he notes. So prepare to see traditional pieces loaded with new shades—and blended with more contemporary motifs, too.
4. Grunge tattoos
“Grunge tattoos will continue to be in,” Villani notes. But they, too, will be affected by the shift toward color.
Just as traditional tattoos will undergo a saturated upgrade, we should expect to see higher-pigment takes on grunge tattoos, too.
5. Stick-and-poke work
The stick-and-poke tattoo has been a favorite for a while now, and according to Villani, it isn’t going anywhere. “Hand-poke artists will still be a trend,” he notes.
6. Korean-inspired pieces
“The Korean tattoo scene has become a huge influence on tattoos worldwide,” Villani says. And according to him, we can expect to see that movement take an even greater hold in 2020.
“A lot of Korean tattoos are dainty and super cute,” Villani notes. “But we’re also seeing these styles merge with others.” In other words? Korean-inspired tattoos will be subject to the same blending of styles other genres are seeing.
7. Serious tattoo planning
“Something I’ve been seeing a little more of recently is serious tattoo planning,” Villani says. He acknowledges this may sound silly—most people plan the tattoos they’re going to get before they get them. But what he’s talking about isn’t the requisite amount of thinking any piece of body art requires.
“Rather than getting many small, random tattoos (which is still a great look), people are starting to plan out very large pieces,” he explains. And even if you’re averse to more massive works of body art, Villani says you can achieve the same effect by planning complementary pieces, or working with different artists with complementary styles.