Whether it’s your first tattoo or your tenth, sometimes you’re just looking for a small tattoo. The maxim that “small is beautiful” often holds up. For those with no or few tattoos already, a small design will stand out. And for those dedicated to their ink, a small tattoo leaves them room for their more ambitious projects in the future. As with any tattoo, there are a few things to consider before committing. 

Placement for Small Tattoo Ideas

A critical part of getting a small tattoo is deciding where you are going to place it. One good piece of advice is to avoid putting the tattoo out in the middle of a large “canvas” area, such as large muscles. If you want to later get a larger tattoo in the area, the smaller one will block it, or the artist may need to modify the new design to hide the first tattoo. A tiny tattoo needs some strategy, as it can’t just go anywhere on the body.

Right places for small tattoos are places where only a tiny tattoo would fit or a location at the edge of those larger canvas areas. Lower arms and wrists, lower legs and ankles, collarbones and necks – these are all some great places to consider putting a small tattoo.

First Tattoo? Think of Some Favorite Designs

If this is your first tattoo, there’s some extra pressure on you to get the design idea right. Thankfully, a small tattoo is a great low-pressure way to get started expressing yourself through ink. You should make sure that the tattoo has some meaning to you that won’t expire. You should be extra careful with names unless it’s of a parent or child. One good idea is to get a non-permanent henna tattoo beforehand to give the concept a “test run.”

You should also take the time to consider tattoo styles. There can be an overwhelming amount of tattoo styles offered, which is probably more than you need to consider for a first tattoo. You should just understand that some tattoo styles are more complicated than others. The sort of artwork used in Japanese-style sleeve tattoos, for example, is designed to be big and bold. Using this style for a small tattoo might not be the best fit or may cause the tattoo to become illegible as you age.

Illustrative or minimalist tattoo styles tend to work best for these kinds of tattoos. Check with the tattoo artist you’ve chosen to see if they have these kinds of small tattoos in their portfolio. So, with that in mind, here are some favourite designs to get you started.  

Quote or Signature 

Words, quotes, or signatures are among the most popular kinds of tattoos. They’re a straightforward way to get across the importance a person or idea has to you. The words’ position allows for a lot of flexibility in their positioning – they could run around a wrist or ankle, for example. Also, beautiful calligraphy still leaves room for artistry. 

Best of all, words can be a great companion piece for later tattoos, accentuating their meaning. 


It’s hard to go wrong with the classics, and what could be more classic than the heart? It’s a universal symbol of love. The heart can represent all kinds of love as well, from romantic to familial. It can even just be a way to remind you to love yourself. A heart tattoo is also a great way to dip your toes into the tattoo game without future regret. You can get a blank heart to start and then fill it in with colour later. Plus, because it’s small, if you steal a great design from Pinterest, we won’t tell. Ideally, our team at Sage can also take your inspiration and make it your very own.

Stars and Constellations 

Like the heart, the star is a simple symbol with many different meanings that you can apply to freedom, dreams, and hopes. Like the heart, the star can be a great starting point for a more ambitious tattoo in the future. You could colour the star or add more to make a constellation with a special meaning to you. 


Want something small but not so minimalistic? Flowers can be an excellent way to pack a lot of artistic talent into a small package. Many flowers have unique meanings to them as well, such as the association with roses to love. You can even use small flowers to decorate an existing tattoo or expand the number out into a bouquet. 

Just Go Big

If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s no problem with just getting something large that you know you’ll love. At Sage Tattoo and Art Gallery, our trusted and talented team caters to hyperrealistic and detailed-oriented designs. You can trust an artist who can take a big tattoo and ensure the concept, design, and artistry are just as you imagined.

Get Your Work of Art Today

Are you thinking about getting a small tattoo of your own? Or, do you just want to ask questions about getting one? Contact us today – we’re happy to help!