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What is a 'Traditional' Tattoo?

Just like there are different types of painting and art, there are many different styles of tattoos. You may have heard people talk about a "traditional" tattoo. But what is a traditional tattoo?

This is also called old-school, American traditional, Western traditional, classic, or "trad" for short.

A traditional tattoo eagle by Matt
A traditional tattoo eagle by Matt

What Distinguishes a Traditional Tattoo?

Traditional tattoos are known for their bold, dark lines and bright colors, but in a limited color palette (although you can get a traditional design in any color or black and grey). These tattoos typically have classic tattoo images: anchors, pin-up women, roses, patriotic symbols, eagles, the American flags, swallows, hearts, mermaids, nautical stars, daggers, snakes, panthers, Navy symbols, and symbols of good luck, like a horseshoe or four-leaf clover.

Who are Traditional Tattoo Artists?

Some of the most famous tattoo artists in history specialized in traditional: Sailor Jerry and Don Ed Hardy, for example. In our shop, all artists can do traditional tattoos, but the artists who specialize most in this style are Matt and JD.


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