Tattoos are a very enticing form of expression, both for men and women, but especially for men. While big body art pieces, like full sleeves or back tattoos aren’t for everyone, those who really enjoy body art certainly appreciate a great piece.

Back tattoos are quite special. Usually, these are quite big pieces, ranging the whole back area, and are built upon slowly, to create the striking final design. Those have been popularly depicted on TV, like in the case of the iconic “full back map” tattoo that was at the center of the Prison Break plot, or more recently, on the Divergent movie, where the character played by Theo James had an intricate design, made up of five different symbols spanning his whole back. Those are great examples of back tattoo ideas for men to take inspiration from.

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However, you don’t have to take these examples, or fill your whole back with designs. Tattoos are something quite personal, which will most likely be permanently etched on your skin, so it should be your choice where and how much of your back should be covered, so keep that in mind when considering these back tattoo ideas for men.

One of the most popular back tattoos ideas for men, as well as women, is to place a design between your shoulders, stretching out toward the sides. This is quite a striking position, perfect for a big tribal design, and more so to an animal or creature design, especially winged ones. This type of back tattoo is also cool because you can connect it seamlessly to a sleeve, if you have one, or have it curling around your neck, so it’ll be hinted at below your shirt.

Lower back tattoos are more popular among women, but they can also make for great back tattoo ideas for men. This is mostly a prime location for, again, tribal designs, but a quote in a cool font also looks quite amazing at your lower back. However, these tattoos are more so for your eyes, and those close to you, only.

Finally, one of the most original and cool looking back tattoo ideas for men is to have a design cascading down your back. These look especially cool along your spine, like in the case of a tree design for instance, with roots at the lower back and branches spanning to your shoulders, but they can also be quite striking if placed to one side, as the off-center placement is likely to drive the attention to your cool, sprawling design. Alternatively, you could also wrap it around your armpit, like a holster, which is quite an unusual placement, but works quite nicely for curved designs.