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Once many decide they’re gung-ho on getting a tattoo, they enter the sometimes time-consuming process of settling on a symbol or design. The best tattoos are typically the ones that mean something special to the one who adorns it. While it can be difficult to symbolize the message that you wish your tattoo to convey, there are many avenues through the study of semiotics (the study of signs and symbols) that your experienced tattoo artist will use help you discover the right tattoo symbol for you.

Intricate tattoo symbols on a man's arm

There are literally thousands of images that can tell a great story. For whatever feeling or idea you want your tattoo to represent, there is an option our there for you.

If you can’t find that perfect image that sums everything up in a pleasing way then we urge you to take the following advice into account:

Considering semiotics for you tattoo symbol

Semiotics is the study of signs, symbols, and the significant things they represent. Semiotics studies center around the relationships between the signifier and the signified, while also taking into account the interpretation of visual cues, sound, and body language.

  1. Colour

Colours have the power to influence a range of emotions spanning from sadness to anger to love. For instance, blue has a peaceful, tranquil, and stable feel to it, while red can evoke expressions of anger, intense passion, and desire. If you are looking to add colour to your symbol, it’s important to be cognisant of what the colour of the tattoo is representing.

  1. Style

There are many different styles that each tattoo artist specializes in. Each style of tattooing can give the same core tattoo concept you have a new and unique life and meaning. Discover the different tattoo styles and find an artist whose work will complement the tattoo you are looking for. Browse through some of the different tattoo styles out there and discover which one your prefer.

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  1. There is a story behind most tattoos

There are many common symbols used in tattoos, many owning a similar meaning. Common symbols like stars, wings, butterflies and the sun are used because of the beautiful stories they are able to tell. Butterflies, for instance, can symbolize a positive change in someone’s life. Just like the insect evolves from a lowly caterpillar to vibrant, beautiful butterfly through metamorphosis, this tattoo is commonly adorned by those who have persevered through hardships.

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A trend of semicolon tattoos is an example of a simple tattoo with a great message. This symbol indicated that someone has persevered from their struggle with mental illness or depression. The message being “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” The simple beauty of this tattoo has created a movement and has shed light on the American lives lost every 12.95 minutes to suicide.

Finding the inspiration for your tattoo symbols

  1. Get out there to help inspire your tattoo symbol

If you’re struggling to find an idea for your tattoo, try doing what you’re most passionate about. Go hiking, see a band you like or meet some close friends or family. By doing this, you might stumble upon an idea or a symbol that would translate perfectly into a tattoo. Living in Toronto & Vancouver, there are many shows, festivals and tattoo exhibits where you can meet others who are passionate about getting tattoos.

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  1. Listen to others

The majority of tattoos aren’t for cosmetic purposes alone. Many tattoos usually serve as the symbol for a great moment, a sad story, or transformation in someone’s life. In discovering the story of someone else’s tattoo, it can become easier to find the story we want to tell.

  1. Using the Internet As Your Ally

You have access to almost unlimited tattoo ideas on the internet. While you should not necessarily copy someone else’s idea, you can take what you like from other’s tattoos, and use those themes to develop your own idea. A tattoo artist will be able to see what you like from these other tattoo’s and be able to mock up some preliminary designs.

This gallery of tattoos done in the Toronto & Vancouver area should serve as a great springboard for your next design idea.

  1. Getting a Professional Opinion on your tattoo symbol

You don’t have to have your idea fully fleshed out when you meet your tattoo artist for a consultation. As long as you enter the shop with some inspiration in combination with a good idea of the tattoo you are looking for, your tattoo artist will be able to use their wealth of experience in tattoo design to find the perfect option for you.

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