Can A Graphic Designer Have Tattoos?

Professionalism in the workplace is highly valued. However, what it means can vary greatly from company to company, from generation to generation, and especially between professions. While many people from a variety of professions have tattoos, depending on where you work, you may have to keep them covered. In the art world, it is quite different and if you are a graphic designer, you may be wondering if you can have tattoos, visible or otherwise.

For the most part, a graphic designer having tattoos is not an issue with their employers. While many graphic designers choose not to get tattoos for personal reasons, in that industry, having tattoos is often seen as a good thing as it indicates creativity and innovation.   

While having tattoos may not keep you from getting or keeping a job in graphic design, you may choose not to have one. If you do choose to have one, there are going to be some things you need to be careful of when picking or creating a design. Read on to find out why some graphic designers do not want to get a tattoo and some things you should be aware of before getting a tattoo.

Why Do Some Graphic Designers Not Want Tattoos?

While many people who create art for a living have a tattoo or multiple tattoos, graphic designers can often be hesitant or downright opposed to getting a tattoo. There are a few common reasons for the reluctance. These are not a surprise as they are why all kinds of people will forego getting a tattoo and include such reasons as not wanting something permanent on their skin or not being able to choose a design that they can be sure they will always like.

However, there are other reasons for not getting a tattoo that seems to be pretty specific to graphic designers and includes

  • The lines of the tattoo won’t be crisp. No matter how talented the tattoo artist is, drawing on the skin is much different from creating lines and designs with a computer. Skin twitches and moves when a person moves. Even the most experienced tattoo artists cannot have the same level of crispness that comes from a design made with a computer.
  • Trust issues. It can be difficult when you have a specific idea of how you want your tattoo to look, but the tattoo artist may have a different style or not know how to get the exact typography or font that you like. Some people are very outspoken and may try to tell the tattoo art how the tattoo should look. This can, in turn, cause other issues.
  • Tattoos fade over time. Tattoos often need to be touched up as the years go by because they will fade, blur, or smear with exposure to the sun and natural skin aging. For graphic designers who value crispness and attention to detail, this aspect and the upkeep can be a big reason not to bother getting a tattoo at all.

What Kind of Tattoos Are Appropriate for a Graphic Designer?

Even though many in the graphic design field choose not to get tattoos for the reasons listed above, many others have tattoos, love them, and consider them an important part of their self-expression and creativity.

While generally, the attitude towards tattoos in the graphic design field is relaxed or even encouraged, you should always be careful when you get one because you want to make sure that you choose something that does not inadvertently express something which will offend the people you work for or any of the customers you may be required to interact with. Some things to avoid tattooing include:

  • Hate. This could be anything that portrays an attitude of sexism, racism, or discriminatory symbols. It is especially important to look into the history or meaning of any symbols you may be considering. You may think it is just a cool or artistic symbol, but it could be sending a message you do not want-for example that you enjoy drugs or that you are part of a gang.
  • Obscene. What is obscene may vary from person to person, but to be safe it is best to avoid getting tattoos that depict gruesomeness, violence, nudity, or that are on more private areas of the body (like high on the leg or the lower back). If you like a tattoo but are not sure if it would be acceptable in a workplace environment, make sure that is in a place that is on a part of your body that can be easily and adequately covered.

The bottom line is that your tattoos are seen as a way of expressing who you are. As a graphic designer, you want to be sure that you express in your unique way what you enjoy or that is important to you and give a sense of your style. However, you also want to do it in such a way that does not cause any offense or harm to the people you are working with or will be working with in the future.


At one point in time, professionalism was a specific standard. However, as time has progressed more things are considered inconsequential to professionalism or may even be an indication of your professionalism. One aspect that has changed greatly has been whether or not it is okay to have visible tattoos in the workplace. While some companies and generations still hold to tradition, many other career fields are okay with and even embrace tattoos.

Also consider how most graphic design work can be done virtually nowadays. Whether that means working on Illustrator from home, or on Placeit from your smartphone, you may not need to physically go to the office anymore.

One such career field is graphic design, although many graphic designers choose not to have tattoos for a variety of personal reasons. For those graphic designers who do have tattoos, it is important to choose your tattoo carefully. The goal is to make sure that your tattoo gives an accurate portrayal of you and your creativity. Just as important, you do not want to inadvertently cause offense or hurt with anything obscene, offensive, or hateful.