As one of the best places to get ink, back tattoos work well with cool designs that require more space to fully develop. Back tattoos tend to be bold statement pieces because the back is a large flat canvas that can accommodate all types of design ideas. Plus, your back piece tattoo can be one small and simple drawing, an awesome big and intricate concept, or a breathtaking image or collage of art that takes up the full back.
From unique tribal designs to the classic phoenix, dragon, skull, lion, cross, eagle, or family name, there are many incredible back tattoo ideas to explore. If you need inspiration choosing your back tattoo, then you’ll love our gallery of pictures. Before you visit your artist, check out our collection of the best back tattoos for men. These examples will spark your creativity and help you discover lower, upper, and full back tattoos worth considering!
Back Tattoo Ideas For Men
Full Back Tattoo
Full back tattoos are reserved for hardcore enthusiasts who want to use their complete back to see a massive design idea come to fruition. However, before deciding to get a full back tattoo, there are a few things guys should consider. While these tattoos can make guys become a living piece of art, covering your entire back in ink is going to be expensive, painful, and time-consuming.
Fortunately, full back tattoo designs can look amazing by turning fresh creative ideas into great works worthy of your skin. In the end, pick the right artwork and artist and you’ll never regret getting tattooed on the back.
Upper Back Tattoo
Upper back tattoos are among the most fashionable and trendy locations for ink. For guys, the upper back is prime real estate for all kinds of tattoo designs. In addition to being smooth and flat, tattoos higher up on the back tend to be more masculine, eye-catching, and attractive to women.
This makes it conducive for designs that are more intricate and detailed and can be proudly put on display. Men also have the option of tattooing the full upper back, half of one side, or extending their designs into the shoulder and neck, allowing for versatility.
Middle Back Tattoo
Between the upper and lower sections, a middle back tattoo minimizes visibility for business professionals and is a great place to start for guys who want to add new ink later. Placement is everything, and tattoos in the center of your back can be located between the shoulder blades or slightly below.
Most middle back tattoos for men end up getting aligned with the spine. Spine tattoos work best with linear designs and can be very painful. Stunning and edgy, guys can get long dragons, snakes, words, trees, moon phases, and other elongated pieces here.
Lower Back Tattoo
While traditionally feminine, lower back tattoos for men can be masculine and cool if you pick the right design. From wings and tribal art to family names and creative patterns, getting your lower back tattooed does require careful consideration.
The wrong design can turn out like a tramp stamp, but appropriately bold designs can be perfect. The most popular ideas have you start a piece that goes down your back or get a lower back design that extends into your backside, glutes and hamstring.
Spine Back Tattoos
If you want to prove you’re a badass with an awesome piece of ink, spine back tattoos are one of the most painful tattoos to get. Most guys get symbols, geometric shapes, numbers, letters, or names tattooed along their spine. The result is often a breathtaking and incredible design that can’t be missed. If you want to be known as daring and alpha, spine tattoos for men are at the top of the list.
Back and Shoulder Tattoo
One of the most visually stimulating tattoo options is a fluid design that wraps from the back and into the shoulders. Similar to an upper back tattoo, this is a larger piece, so it’s important to have a consistent design or complementary artwork to cover the space. Some men opt for angel wings or a suit of armor, while others extend their existing arm sleeve. If you’re going big, get a back and shoulder tattoo that works into the arm and chest.
Back and Neck Tattoo
It’s easy to stand out with a tattoo that bridges the gap between the back and neck. There are two main approaches if you want to get a back to neck tattoo. First, for a bold piece, you can extend a back tattoo upward to the neck and even expand it to the shoulders and traps. Keep in mind that this might be time-consuming, expensive, and somewhat painful with heavy design elements like shading.
Alternatively, you can do a subtle transition that moves up from the upper back to the neck. Make the piece edgy and badass by having your back tattoo go up the neck and into the throat area as well.
Small Back Tattoo
Though space is of no object, small back tattoos can also be perfect for the back. They can be a nice way to ensure that you have plenty of room to work with for future ink additions. Other benefits for smaller designs include a shorter and less expensive appointment, as well as less pain. Location-wise, it’s recommended to place the tat in the shoulder blade, middle, or upper back areas to ensure visibility and to still make a statement.
Simple Back Tattoos
Not all ink needs to be large and intricate when simple back tattoos can be just as amazing and powerful. There are limitless unique simple designs that can get inked on your upper, middle, lower or full back, but almost all of these drawings use black and grey colors for minimalism.
Popular ideas include a bold cross, the outlines of angel wings, stars on your shoulder blades, geometric shapes on the spine, and small colorful artwork. In the end, simple tattoos don’t have to be plain and boring, and can actually pack more meaning creatively.
Tribal Back Tattoo
If you have the appropriate heritage, the back is a great place to showcase your roots with a tribal tattoo. Inspired designs incorporate artistic elements such as bold, large, pointed, and dark shapes and lines as well as an animal or natural imagery.
Cross Back Tattoo
The cross is a significant symbol in the Christian religion, which makes it an extremely popular tattoo choice for men who live by faith. If you want to showcase your religious roots, the back is an ideal spot for a large cross tattoo. Other additions can personalize it further, such as Bible verses, family names, or other religious imagery.
Wings Back Tattoo
The back is practically made for a full-length wing tattoo. Wings carry several different connotations and meanings. In some cases, they’re spiritual, in others, they’re ironic. Whether they’re angelic or Viking-inspired, a set of detailed wings look amazing across a muscled canvas, especially when some of the design spills over to the shoulders.
Angel Back Tattoo
The angel back tattoo can look stunning, especially when combined with a full set of wings and the right theme to create your own warrior guardian angel. The phrase “angel on your shoulder” will have new meaning with a tattoo of a holy figure inked across your back. An angel can symbolize many things. Angels carry religious symbolism across the Christian faith, and several figures have relatable or inspiring stories. The archangel Michael or the imagery of Gabriel are popular choices for men who find strength in their faith. On the other hand, guardian angels don’t have to be about your religion. Guys also like angels in the likeness of lost loved ones, or a generic figure to guide them in times of struggle.
Eagle Back Tattoo
Men who get eagle tattoos typically admire the creature for their strength, fierceness, and symbolism of freedom and precision. These birds of prey have a massive wingspan, which is partly why the back is an ideal amount of space to honor them and give the art room to dominate. Whether it’s a USA-specific symbol of patriotism or a simple ode to an admirable creature, an eagle back tattoo is impressive, masculine, and cool.
Dragon Back Tattoo
Dragons are a popular tattoo design for men across the board. Whether you’re a Game of Thrones fan or not, these mythical creatures are incredibly cool, especially when transposed into literal art on the body. They are detail-heavy and can showcase your strength and tenacity to endure several long tattoo sessions, as well as your tattoo artist’s talent. The dragon is powerful, versatile, and carries imagery as a fiery and scaly force to be reckoned with.
Japanese Back Tattoo
Japanese back tattoos look unique and are often requested by men who appreciate the country. For instance, Japanese culture has a form of tattooing known as Irezumi. This kind of art is highly stylized with distinct design elements, such as familiar shapes, subjects and colors.
Though Irezumi is traditionally inked by hand, you can replicate inspired Japanese body art with your favorite artist and a needle. These designs, which typically depict natural, animals, and symbols of honor and respect, come with heavy shading and can be perfect for the open-space canvas on the back.
Phoenix Back Tattoo
The phoenix back tattoo is one of the most meaningful and powerful designs you can get. The phoenix symbolizes rebirth and new starts since it represents a bird dies and is reborn from the ashes, stronger than before. This story of death, transformation and renewal is relatable for many men. Most guys have experienced hardships and made mistakes but have also overcome challenges and grown from their experiences. A phoenix tattoo is ultimately a motivational design. Elements like fire, power, and strength combine with vivid red and yellow coloring to create a cool piece of art.
Quote Back Tattoo
There are several ways to transpose a meaningful quote into a back tattoo. Whether it’s inspired by a beloved phrase, book, lyric, poem, bible verse, or line from a movie, you can capture your feelings, emotions, and philosophies and preserve them in ink. Because quotes often contain several words and sentences, many men opt for back placement – it provides some space to work with. Quotes look amazing inked horizontally, across the shoulder, on the rib cage, or down the spine.
Badass Back Tattoo
There is no better canvas than the back for a big, bold, brazen, and badass tattoo. You have the space to create an image that is fierce and jaw-dropping. Ideas could include anything from a ferocious bear to an intimidating (or scary) demon. Animals, objects, or spirits with incredible detail and masculine energy all fit the bill.
Skull Back Tattoo
One of the coolest tattoo designs out there is a full-length skull plastered across the entire back. This imagery is powerful, dark, intimidating, and badass. It can mean one of several things, including the permanence of death, the transience of life, or just a love of the creepy-crawly. Other variations of skull tattoos include animal remains, old west-inspired art, or Mexican Day of the Dead sugar skulls.
Geometric Back Tattoo
Many men gravitate toward large-scale geometric back tattoos for their eye-catching and mathematical properties. This kind of body art involves intricacy, patterns, lines, and shapes. Another bonus is that nearly any traditional design can be translated into geometric style. They can be as large or small as you’d like, which pairs perfectly for the back.
Wolf Back Tattoo
Another powerful piece of art that’s practically made for the back is a wolf-inspired tattoo. With the extra canvas space, the tattoo artist can get as detailed and intricate as you’d like, to showcase the fierceness, loyalty, and bravery that the animal is known for. Whether you stick with the imagery of one wolf or go into pack mode with several, you won’t regret this powerful and masculine piece of ink.
Lion Back Tattoo
The lion is a dominating force in nature – these animals are known for their prowess, fierceness, pride, and majesty – which is why the back is the perfect canvas for a tattoo that captures their defining spirit. A creature this dominating deserves the space to be captured authentically, and the back provides that. Men who admire these large cats and want to bring their empowering energy into their lives should consider this kind of statement ink that is equal parts impressive and fierce.
Tiger Back Tattoo
The tiger back tattoo is often inked on a full back, in intricate realistic detail, and with the intention of looking ferocious and fierce. Whether you choose a tiger tattoo with Japanese styling, this amazing cat sprawled out across your back, or the animal intertwined with other designs, this idea can come alive depending on the skill of your artist.
Back Name Tattoo
Name tattoos on your back have always been popular, and mark a meaningful way to honor your family and loved ones. From your last name to your kid’s names to the names of family members you want to memorialize, name back tattoos are traditional choices that reflect your values and priorities in life.