If you’re thinking about getting a compass tattoo, already have one, or just like to look at cool designs, then you came to the right place. The compass, AKA nautical compass, compass rose, or nautical star, is no doubt an enormously popular tattoo design—and has been for decades. It’s complex detail, design potential, and beautiful symmetry make it an appealing choice for both men and women alike.
Various types of compasses exist but their names are not widely known. Each particular type is defined by the number of points it has. The most commonly drawn design is the 4-point compass rose, followed by the 8-point, 16-point, and 32-point.
As new styles have emerged, compass tattoos have enjoyed new levels of splendor. From wonderful watercolor works to delightful dotwork designs, the compass tattoo still reigns supreme in the world of body art.
Follow your own path.
Besides the words of wisdom, the first thing that grabs your attention is the extraordinarily clean lines and almost laser printer-esque shading. Miss Dewi got mad skills.
This brass beauty.
As you probably know, most nautical compasses were made of brass. Brass doesn’t react with salt water, and is commonly used in the construction of nautical equipment. (Photo: Roar)
This tiny forearm tat.
Although it’s probably been a while since this arm was clean-shaven, we’re willing to bet this perfectly executed mini compass was worth the effort. (Photo: Jon Boy)
This splotch of orange.
A fleur-de-lis marks true north on this unique watercolor design which looks as if it was the victim of a random spill rather than a planned action. However, the end result couldn’t have been better. (Photo: Adrian Bascur)
This sketch style back piece.
This sprawling back piece.
This traditional compass.
Here we have a wooden compass with a few gold encrusted red roses done in the traditional style. Everything from the brass beads to the woodwork pops out to give this piece a clean and crisp appearance. (Photo: Fourteen Arrows)
This dotwork globe and compass.
This divided forearm work.
These dark roses.
Mesmerizing to say the least. The detailed pattern on the face of this compass is really something special. (Photo: dstone)
This global compass.
The nautical star compass is usually found on maps. So it’s only fitting that this dotwork star is perched perfectly on top of a globe. If you didn’t notice, this piece is oriented in a user friendly position. (Photo: ilwol)
This open compass.
Although this compass certainly plays second fiddle to the much larger clock, it was just too beautiful of a design to leave out. The way the metal was done on the lid of the compass is almost as if the artist had liquid metal on his needle instead of ink. (Photo: Miami Tattoo)
These delightful dots.
What an amazing design. This compass looks a little like a pocket watch. Cool and clean. Definitely one of our favorite designs on the list. (Photo: Erik Jacobsen)
This vintage compass.
We’re not exactly sure what those red things are, possibly matches, but this flip top compass design is awesome to look at. The map on the table is also a nice touch. (Photo: Hand Trip)