Tattoo artists share 7 mistakes people make when getting word or number tattoos

Tattoo artist tattooing word on someone's forearm
Word tattoos require specific considerations.fpphotobank/Getty Images
  • There are many things to consider when getting a word or number tattoo, according to tattoo artists.

  • Since ink spreads slightly over time, make sure your design isn't too small to prevent blurring.

  • Double-check that the date or spelling of the word you want tattooed is correct.

Even though word and number tattoos may seem simple, there's plenty to consider before going under the gun.

So Insider spoke with tattoo artists to learn about the common mistakes people make when getting text inked.

Ink migration is inevitable, so make sure your tattoo is properly spaced

Tattoo and permanent-makeup artist Lisa Doll told Insider inked words or numbers can often blur together and become illegible, so it's important to consider the size and spacing of each figure to "allow for ink migration over time."

"Tattoo ink sits in the dermal layer of our skin matrix. So as we age and our skin loses elasticity and collagen, the ink will migrate or spread slightly," Doll explained. "Hence, tiny lettering or cramped words and numbers become a blob."

Doll recommended choosing an artist who specializes in fine-line lettering for the best results.

Be mindful of choosing the right font for the design's size

"Love" tattoo on wrist of someone sitting down
Not every font works for every tattoo.Ani Fifia/EyeEm/Getty Images

Tattoo artist Josvan González Agramonte Copán recommended being mindful of how the size of your design can affect your font choice.

"Sometimes, the clients will bring me a calligraphy font but want to get it super small without realizing how much risk it is for the ink to blow out under the skin and the fancy script to bleed together," Copán told Insider. "Other times they will bring a thick or complicated style that won't work with the size and placement they want."

Consider the overall design of the tattoo and ask your artist for their professional input to figure out which font makes the most sense.

Misspelled words are a common issue

Tattoo artist Gianna Caranfa, owner of Bee Inked parlor, warns against tattooing words without double-checking their spelling first.

"Misspelled words and incorrect translations are two of the most common word-tattoo mistakes," Caranfa said. "Believe it or not, many tattoo artists forget to put the period above a lowercase 'i.'"

Avoid misspellings and incorrect translations by having multiple people review your tattoo idea before heading to your appointment.

Double-check your dates, as well

Woman with roman numeral date tattoo on shoulder
Dates are a popular tattoo request.Justin Case/Getty Images

Sandy Verfaille, the founder of and a tattoo artist at Inksane, said "a lot of people" want a tattoo to mark the date of an important event, like the birth date of their kid or the day a loved one died, but be extra-diligent to make sure it's correct.

"One time a customer came back and explained she was wrong about the birth date of her own daughter," Verfaille recalled.

Think twice about getting a word tattoo ahead of a drastic physical transformation

Tattoo artist Lorena Lorenzo of Indigo ArTattoos told Insider that timing — especially related to bodily changes — is one of the most important considerations for text tattoos.

"How old are you? Has your body stopped growing? Are you currently on a weight-loss or -gain journey? All these factors are important to script tattoos and their placement," she said. "When your body changes, so does your art."

Lorenzo recalled she tattooed an 18-year-old client with his mother's name, but when he became a bodybuilder at age 32, the word was "completely out of place, blurry, and unrecognizable."

Try to avoid inking areas that are prone to fading

Person on tip toes with tattoo on foot
Feet tattoos may fade more quickly.Nadtochiy/Getty Images

If you want your ink to stand the test of time, tattoo artist Nic El, owner of Gorilla Tattoo Paphos, told Insider that clients should "avoid areas that are prone to fading" like "palms, fingers, feet, elbows, and knees."

If you're set on placement in one of these areas, El suggested making sure the font you select is bold and reasonably sized for the best results.

Also consider what other tattoos you may want before deciding on your placement

When determining the placement of your word, tattoo artist Cassie May said to consider your long-term body-art plans.

"Placement can make or break the future of your tattoo plans," she said. "A mistake I commonly see clients make is failing to think long term."

For example, she said if you think you may want a sleeve one day, don't use up precious real estate with a "wrap-around script tattoo in the middle of your forearm."

She added that even one small piece "could interrupt the cohesion of your tattoos down the line," so you should decide on your eventual staple pieces before selecting a placement.

Read the original article on Insider