Tattoos are renowned for their meaning and symbolism, with many individuals often getting tattoos that represent major milestones in their lives or experiences they have grown from over the years. New trends start all the time and the new school tattoo design is no exception.

The new school tattoo design is considered one of the top trends for 2019, but what is it, and what is it about this new design that is appealing to individuals?

What is the New School Tattoo Design?

The new school tattoo style is categorised by heavy outlines, vivid and bold colours and an absurd element added to the design that dramatises it and makes it different to the usual style. The design originated in the 1970s and looks to old school tattooing in the United States for inspiration. It’s certainly a daring style that people may not understand at first glance.

Where Did the New School Tattoo Originate?

New school tattoos started with film stars, Disney characters and famous mementos from television shows being warped into designs that represented the culture at the time. They somewhat reflect popular culture from the time they were tattooed as many customers were coming in asking for a specific design, rather than the tattoo artist coming up with a sketch.

Nowadays, new school tattoo designs feature animals like tigers and octopuses, famous horror movie villains, Japanese cartoons, food, pop stars and anything weird and wonderful that deconstructs the usual, run of the mill designs. They are meant to be shown as tongue-in-cheek illustrations.

They differ from old school designs because of their bold outlines, colours and outlandish subject matter. As time has progressed, they have taken on the form of street art, resembling cartoons and graffiti, more than a more traditional look. They could feature words in bubble writing or in a jagged edge style.

New school was also given its name because of the numerous tattoo techniques used in the design and process – it represents a more openness to all kinds of practices, including a folk art style, traditional Japanese tattoo elements and the old school designs.

What’s Their Purpose?

Alike to all tattoos, new school tattoos are thought of as art work on the skin. This up and coming trend aims to help individuals express themselves and their identity. They are thought to be a good outlet to express irony and humour – like the tattoos, the person getting tattooed should also not take themselves too seriously. New school tattoo designs move away from the usual subject matters like flowers and birds and add a quirky twist that gives personality to the tattoo and its wearer.

Often in the tattoo world, tattooists have been wary to share designs, collaborate or copy another artist’s work, as every tattoo is considered a homage to the artist. However, new school tattoo designs are about progressing past this worry and entering a new era of tattooing that incorporates co-operation and building on each other’s work.

Written by Wayne Grant