Tattoo font
August 16, 2016 11:31 AM   Subscribe

As a follow-up to my previous tattoo question: I've decided I want to get a short line of text from a poem. But now I can't figure out what font it should be — I want it to be pretty, legible, and not ostentatious. Is there such a thing as a scripty font that's neither illegible nor ostentatious? Would a scripty font look tacky?
posted by a strong female character to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Where is it going and how big is it going to be?
posted by griphus at 11:33 AM on August 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

It might depend on the poem. When was the poem written? In what font did it first appear?
posted by the Real Dan at 11:42 AM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

And how "scripty" do you want? A more-legible, less-ostentatious compromise might be a humanist/old style typeface like Goudy Old Style, Garamond, or Century Old Style. "Humanist" in this context basically means "looks sorta like a human might have written it with a pen," so it's a nice midpoint between script and more contemporary type.
posted by HeroZero at 11:44 AM on August 16, 2016

Best answer: Talk to your tattoo artist about this. I also have a line from a poem. I spent hours figuring out just the perfect font. Brought it into the shop and immediately got told it wasn't going to work. We worked together to find something that would look perfect on my skin and also embodied the overall aesthetic I was going for. I get tons of compliments on this tattoo.
posted by Sara C. at 11:58 AM on August 16, 2016 [13 favorites]

I have several sections of poetry by David Whyte, all from The House of Belonging, tattooed on my body in my handwriting, intermingled with ivy that's over a large part of my body.
posted by janey47 at 12:32 PM on August 16, 2016

Often the script I find most interesting and lovely in tattoos is handwriting--if you have a nice hand, or someone meaningful to you does, you might consider that. Always best to work on that with an artist though, as Sara C points out.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 2:00 PM on August 16, 2016

Depending on where you have it on your body, the text likely isn't going to lie "flat", if that makes sense, so just picking a font that looks good on paper may not be appropriate. I would look at a few different fonts that appeal to you and bring them to the artist for discussion.
posted by noxperpetua at 2:13 PM on August 16, 2016

Best answer: For tattoos, I personally generally prefer something hand-lettered to something made from a font. It's an aesthetic preference, and one might agree or disagree, but I would encourage you to consider the option.

Talk to your tattoo artist.
posted by box at 2:23 PM on August 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

Best answer: i would definitely talk to the artist, and also see if they're down to do hand lettering - it almost always looks better and more unique
posted by burgerrr at 2:27 PM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

If it were e.e. Cummings I would do courier/typewriter font.

Otherwise, I would consider having my grandmother write it out and have the tattoo artist copy that. (Insert special older person of your choice, obvs.)
posted by wwartorff at 3:33 PM on August 16, 2016

Talk to a tattoo artist. They are not ink jet printers.
posted by so fucking future at 3:39 PM on August 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

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