Many collectors of tattoo art do so for the sheer fact that they are "art lovers." The beauty and impact of the design are the factors most important in their choice. The other school of collectors do you for more personal reasons.
Since the days of sailors having anchors and the name of their war ship tattooed on their forearms, tattoos have been linked with careers, loved ones and memories from the past.
When deciding on tattoos with meaning it is imperative to decide on what you want the tattoo to represent, and how it will be represented artistically.
Say for instance that you have decided to have a design commemorating you mother. In days gone by you would pick your favourite design from the wall and have either "mother" or your mum's name scripted in English in a scroll above, in the middle or underneath.
This is a typical "old school" design, and whilst it still has its fans in the marketplace there are now a number of different options to go for.
So, lets pick a typical tattoo with meaning and look at what you can do with it shall we?
You and your partner have recently fallen in love and you've both decided to commemorate your union with a tattoo. Hear are some ideas:
1. Go "old school" and have a something that represents your partners favourite interest tattooed. She loves flowers, get her favourite flower, he loves motor cars, get his favourite car designed. Then have their name emblazoned in a scroll or banner within the design. As I said, It's old fashioned but it still appeals to many. The disadvantage here is if you break up. You will have your ex's name forever marked and you will have to look at cover up options or laser surgery to remove it. The bigger the design, the bolder the colours, the more problematic that will be.
2. Both talk through your likes and dislikes. When you have found something in common that you both love, and can find a suitable design for it, Both have the same design tattooed. This is a permanent link with you partner. If indeed the relationship ends, you still liked the idea behind the design so there is no problem with retaining it is there?
3. Perhaps there is something you've always said to your partner, some form of catchphrase or verse of poetry. Have it inked in script somewhere on your body, but consider another language. Maybe something from the middle east where the written languages tend to flow like beautiful designs themselves, or some form of oriental lettering. The beauty of the Chinese/Japanese symbols is that you can make them bigger and add colour to them. No one will know the meaning behind the tattoo unless you choose to tell them. A deeply personal style of tattoo.
4. A portrait of your loved one. Be very careful about this. A portrait of someone is far more involved than someone's name on your body in script. It will have to be bigger in order to contain the detail needed to make it work. If you go too small it will look a mess. It will be very difficult to cover up should the relationship end.
If you decide to go down this route make sure you employ a tattoo artist that specialises in portrait work and have a good look at his/her previous work beforehand. The internet is littered with images of portrait designs that didn't work out and look nothing like the loved one they are supposed to emulate.