Ever since we first laid eyes upon that salty sea dog’s “hold fast” knuckle tattoos, we’ve secretly obsessed over them in a way that can only be described as unhealthy. While our current employee handbook has its boot securely placed upon our resilient dreams of knuckle tattoos, we’re not completely banishing the idea because, uh, their knuckles tattoos.
But all excuses aside, knuckle tattoos are constantly evolving and separating themselves from the negative stereotypes they have long been associated with. That coupled with the growing acceptance of tattoos of all types among corporate culture, gives us hope that one day people won’t be judged based upon what’s on their skin.
Knuckle tattoos come in various shapes and sizes. When you think of knuckle tattoos, you usually think of the standard phrase sprawled out across the knuckles so that when the fists are held up together parallel to the ground, the phrase can be read from left to right. But while iconic and still very much in style, these type of designs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the sheer amount of various knuckle tattoos being inked today. In this article, we’ll explore a wide variety of different designs. From the common to the creative, each design has its own characteristics that make it unique.
The design process can be more fun than actually living with your tattoos and showing them off of the daily, and definitely less painful. The phrase “Hell bent” fits perfectly on the knuckles and isn’t too widely inked. (Photo: Bill Dugan)
These four creatures.
These cool characters have been floating around the net for a while now. We posted this image on a previous list and it was one of the first designs that came to mind when the idea of this article became more than just an idea. In stunning black, grey, and white ink, Isiah brought to life four of our favorite creepy cats including WolfMan, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Creature From The Black Lagoon. (Photo: Isaiah Negrete)
‘Farewell’ knuckle tattoos.
This list contains a few unconventional knuckle tattoos with this one being our favorite. Usually with knuckle tattoos we see the letters running horizontal, not vertical. (Photo: Jonathan Aubry)
Here we have the words ‘True Love” in a neo traditional two-tone font. The way the tattoos on the subjects hands flow down onto the knuckles compliments the lettering nicely. (Photo: Knuckles 365)
Along with the words of wisdom comes a scripted font that looks great even when its not being displayed. These types of designs are often hard to distinguish when they aren’t lined up for the viewer to see. (Photo: Vesso Alexiev)
Black and white ink.
When you think of knuckle tattoos, this minimalistic barely-there design is probably the last thing that comes to mind. Single needle, white and black ink, this is possibly our next tattoo. (Photo: Jakub Nowicz)
This crown knuckle tattoo.
This would be an awesome idea for a king and queen style wedding ring tattoo. Earlier this year we put together a list of wedding ring tattoo designs and this design definitely belongs on that list. (Photo: Isaiah Negrete)
Here we have the word “lonesome” completed with diamond and peace sign symbols. This old school Sailor Jerry font reigns supreme when it comes to knuckle tats. (Photo: Knuckles 365)
This steer skull.
Cattle skulls, bull skulls, steer skulls, cow skulls, whatever you want to call them just seem to ooze western elegance. Steer skull tattoos can symbolize courage, death, strength, or protection depending on the culture. (Photo: Isaiah Negrete)
These ornamental knuckle tattoos.
This smorgasbord of different ornamental designs all come together to form one spectacular composition. If you look closely, you can see the white ink accents that give each design an extra bit of contrast. (Photo: Shaks)
‘Doll face’ knuckle tattoos.
This geometric design.
This lion knuckle tattoo.
These horizontal lines.
These matching ‘bake cake’ tats.
These Three Wise Monkey knuckle tattoos.
These three rings.
These seven dwarfs.
Cross-stitch and leaf.
This dotwork pattern.
‘Game over’ knuckle tattoos.
‘Much love’ tats.
These naturalistic knuckle tattoos.
These matching designs.
‘Grateful’ knuckle tattoo.
‘True love’ traditional font.
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