Good tattoo design is important because tattoos are one of the few types of art that are literally embedded into their owners’ bodies. And among the types of art we choose to permanently wear—which also include piercings and cosmetic surgeries—tattoos are the most visible.

In recent years, attitudes toward tattoos have shifted, thanks in part to the presence of beautiful, well-executed tattoo designs. Working with a talented freelance tattoo designer means having your vision for your tattoo, whether it’s a reflection of your past, your values, your perceptions, or your dreams, turned into an image you’ll be proud to wear for the rest of your life. Find the best freelance designer to hire from our list of top tattoo designers for 2019.

How to get the best tattoo design

If you want a custom tattoo designed, the thought of finding the perfect designer to create it can be intimidating. You don’t want—or, since it’s 2019, need—to limit yourself to the tattoo artists in your town. There are a few ways you can find the right tattoo designer to create your perfect image.

tattoo design
A tattoo design contest will give you options. By Suxzero
tattoo design
by simbe

Two ways you can find that designer on 99designs are:

Keep in mind that a tattoo designer isn’t the same as a tattoo artist. There are plenty of tattoo artists who do design their own work. If you’re working with a designer you meet on 99designs, you’re going to have to find an artist who can replicate the design onto your skin. Getting your perfect tattoo is a two-step process, and getting the perfect design is step 1.

The 10 best freelance tattoo designers to hire in 2019

  1. 1
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 63 )
    • Tattoo
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • T-shirt
    • Sticker
    • Poster
    • Clothing or apparel
  2. 2
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 130 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Book cover
    • Tattoo
    • Other art or illustration
    • Logo design
    • Poster
    • Other design
    • Character or mascot
    • T-shirt
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Banner ad
    • Other book or magazine
    • Icon or button
    • Social media page
    • Other web or app design
    • Other packaging or label
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • App design
    • Landing page design
    • Infographic
    • Facebook cover
    • Cup or mug
    • Card or invitation
    • 3D
    • Web page design
  3. 3
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 38 )
    • Logo design
    • Tattoo
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • T-shirt
    • Product label
    • Character or mascot
    • Icon or button
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Other design
    • Logo & business card
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Signage
    • Product packaging
    • Merchandise
    • Sticker
    • 3D
  4. 4
    • T-shirt
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Tattoo
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Other art or illustration
    • Character or mascot
    • Cup or mug
    • Sticker
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Product label
    • Poster
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Banner ad
    • Other design
    • Business card
  5. 5
    Top Level
    4.9
    ( 30 )
    • Logo design
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Tattoo
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Logo & business card
    • T-shirt
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • Banner ad
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Clothing or apparel
  6. 6
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 14 )
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Other design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other art or illustration
    • Merchandise
    • Tattoo
    • Icon or button
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Sticker
    • Product label
    • Other Graphic Design
    • Other business or advertising
    • Other book or magazine
    • Logo & business card
    • Book cover
  7. 7
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 22 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Logo design
    • Character or mascot
    • Other art or illustration
    • Tattoo
    • Sticker
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other packaging or label
    • Product packaging
    • Menu
    • Cup or mug
  8. 8
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 34 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo design
    • Character or mascot
    • T-shirt
    • Other art or illustration
    • Tattoo
    • Other design
    • Book cover
    • Product label
    • Product packaging
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Other clothing or merchandise
  9. 9
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 27 )
    • Logo design
    • T-shirt
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Tattoo
    • Product label
    • Product packaging
    • Other art or illustration
    • Merchandise
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Character or mascot
    • Social media page
    • Other packaging or label
    • Other Graphic Design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other business or advertising
  10. 10
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 10 )
    • Tattoo
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Character or mascot
    • 3D
  11. 11
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 7 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • T-shirt
    • Other art or illustration
    • Web page design
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Merchandise
    • Logo design
    • 3D
    • Card or invitation
    • Product packaging
    • Book cover
    • Tattoo
  12. 12
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 34 )
    • T-shirt
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Merchandise
    • Tattoo
    • Sticker
    • Other design
    • Logo design
    • Signage
    • Icon or button
  13. 13
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 12 )
    • Character or mascot
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Tattoo
    • Other art or illustration
    • Icon or button
    • Other web or app design
    • Logo design
    • Card or invitation
  14. 14
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 111 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • Product label
    • Other art or illustration
    • T-shirt
    • Product packaging
    • Logo design
    • Tattoo
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other design
    • Other book or magazine
    • Other business or advertising
    • Merchandise
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Poster
    • Other packaging or label
    • Card or invitation
    • Business card
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Sticker
    • Logo & business card
    • Landing page design
    • Infographic
    • Icon or button
    • Brochure
    • Book cover
  15. 15
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 47 )
    • Book cover
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Logo design
    • T-shirt
    • Character or mascot
    • Magazine cover
    • Other book or magazine
    • 3D
    • Tattoo
    • Other design
    • Banner ad
    • Web page design
    • Logo & business card
    • Logo & brand identity pack
  16. 16
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 25 )
    • Book cover
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Character or mascot
    • Other art or illustration
    • Tattoo
  17. 17
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 3 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • Tattoo
    • Web page design
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • Other art or illustration
    • Logo design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Logo & brand identity pack
  18. 18
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 28 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo design
    • Book cover
    • Tattoo
    • T-shirt
    • Other art or illustration
    • Magazine cover
    • Sticker
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other business or advertising
    • Merchandise
    • Icon or button
    • Card or invitation
  19. 19
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 107 )
    • Logo design
    • T-shirt
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Product label
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Logo & business card
    • Merchandise
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Business card
    • Other design
    • Icon or button
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Web page design
    • Tattoo
    • Poster
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Logo & hosted website
    • Infographic
    • Brand guide
    • Character or mascot
  20. 20
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 33 )
    • Logo design
    • T-shirt
    • Logo & business card
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Brand guide
    • Other design
    • Other business or advertising
    • Product packaging
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Icon or button
    • Business card
    • Book cover
    • Tattoo
    • Sticker
    • Product label
    • Clothing or apparel
  21. 21
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 11 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Logo design
    • Tattoo
    • T-shirt
    • Sticker
    • Character or mascot
    • Card or invitation
  22. 22
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 75 )
    • T-shirt
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other art or illustration
    • Logo design
    • Sticker
    • Merchandise
    • Tattoo
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other web or app design
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Book cover
    • Web page design
    • Poster
    • Other design
    • Landing page design
  23. 23
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 10 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other design
    • Tattoo
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Other art or illustration
    • Character or mascot
  24. 24
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 35 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Other art or illustration
    • Merchandise
    • Tattoo
    • Product packaging
    • Sticker
    • Other design
    • Product label
    • Other packaging or label
    • Cup or mug
  25. 25
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 143 )
    • Book cover
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Product label
    • T-shirt
    • Character or mascot
    • Other business or advertising
    • Other book or magazine
    • Sticker
    • Product packaging
    • Logo design
    • Other design
    • Banner ad
    • Tattoo
    • Other web or app design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Magazine cover
    • Logo & business card
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Poster
  26. 26
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 44 )
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Product label
    • Other art or illustration
    • Logo & business card
    • Poster
    • T-shirt
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Tattoo
    • Product packaging
    • Book cover
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Other design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Card or invitation
    • Brochure
  27. 27
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 2 )
    • Book cover
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other packaging or label
    • Other design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Logo design
    • Tattoo
    • Product label
  28. 28
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 60 )
    • T-shirt
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Tattoo
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Merchandise
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Poster
    • Logo & brand identity pack
  29. 29
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 73 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Poster
    • Sticker
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Product label
    • Merchandise
    • Cup or mug
    • Book cover
    • Social media page
    • Product packaging
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other business or advertising
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Tattoo
  30. 30
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 27 )
    • T-shirt
    • Logo design
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Sticker
    • Tattoo
    • Cup or mug
    • Other clothing or merchandise

How did we choose these as the top tattoo designers?

When we compiled our list of the top 10 freelance tattoo designers for 2019, we looked at how the designers on our platform fare in three categories:

  • Quality
  • Experience with tattoo design
  • Professionalism

Quality

tattoo design
by Giulio Rossi

You’ll notice the tattoo designers on 99designs are split into three categories: Entry, Mid and Top level. Our in-house team hand-vets every designer on the platform to determine where they fit best.

To achieve top level status, a tattoo designer has to have a solid record of creating high-concept designs that meet and often, exceed clients’ expectations. But it takes more than creativity to be a top level designer. The designers we choose to bear this title are designers whose technical skills enable them to create usable products and whose communication skills don’t just satisfy clients, but bring them back to 99designs when they want more tattoos designed.

Experience with tattoo design

You wouldn’t hire somebody who’s never designed a tattoo before to design your tattoo, would you? When we chose the top tattoo designers of 2019, we chose designers who have extensive portfolios that satisfied their clients.

A good artist isn’t necessarily a good tattoo designer. Every medium has its limitations and best uses; tattoos are no different. A tattoo has to work with the client’s natural curves in the area where they want it. It also has to be shaded and colored appropriately for the client’s skin tone and type. A skilled tattoo designer uses this type of information about the client to create a design that will really pop on the client’s body, not just immediately but for years after it’s initially inked.

Professionalism

As the client, you have to be comfortable speaking with your tattoo designer and confident that you’ll be satisfied with the end product, even if that means having the designer make revisions to their original design. To be chosen as one of the top tattoo designers, a designer has to have a record of communicating effectively with clients and delivering designs that they’re happy to receive. Reputation goes a long way on 99designs, and it’s one of the things a designer needs to get to the top of their category.

What to think about when hiring a tattoo designer

The best way to find the right tattoo designer to look at designer portfolios . Don’t just look for past work that matches the tattoo design you have in your head—look at little things like the use of shading, gradients, art style and the kinds of subjects used. For example, if text is part of your tattoo design, look for designers who have text-heavy pieces in their portfolios that use the fonts you like. Start your search with ideas in mind to help you weed out designers who aren’t a good fit, but also be open to suggestions from designers because they might have a different take on your idea that you end up liking better than how you originally envisioned it.

A few key points to think about when you’re searching for the right tattoo designer to hire are:

woodcut tattoo design
by simbe
  • Your budget
  • Your timeline for your project
  • General and specific style ideas
  • The designer’s level on 99designs
  • How well your design will translate to an actual tattoo. You might have to make adjustments to your design to make it into a tattoo that will look great on your body, like darkening pastel tones in a design to make them pop against fair skin. One way to approach this part of the process is to find a tattoo artist first and talk to them about colors you should use and other design elements based on where you want the tattoo, then find a designer.

Are you ready to hire the freelance tattoo designer who’ll capture exactly what you want on your body?

When you get a tattoo, you get the tattoo for life. Sure, you can have a tattoo removed or covered up, but after making your original investment in the tattoo, facing these costs can sting more than the lasers they’ll use to take it off your body.

If our top 10 tattoo designers aren’t what you’re looking for, search 99designs to find the perfect designer for your tattoo. The right designer for you is out there, you just have to find them.

Want more tattoo designer choices?
Search for the most creative freelance designer for your tattoo.