Angel Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning

Angel tattoos can be a powerful symbol to express connection to a higher power, no matter what your religion, or lack thereof. They remain one of our oldest collective representations of an entity operating in purity—serving as a reminder of the goodness that each of us are capable of.

The word “angel” has been derived from old English and old French and is meant to loosely translate to the term “messenger.” Angels are believed to be messengers from a higher plane of life and reason, and they represent the highest level of loyalty.

Getting an angel tattoo, therefore, can be an intense and deeply personal experience for people due to the nature of the symbol. To make sure that your ink does justice to your faith and beliefs, we’ve provided a detailed list of angel tattoo ideas, designs, and common associations below.

Meanings of an Angel Tattoo

An angel tattoo might seem like a straightforward idea, but there are a lot of nuances and variations to work with here. To get the right ink, it’s important to understand the various interpretations associated with this design. Once you narrow down your intentions, the idea for the tattoo will flow naturally.

Here are some popular interpretations of angel tattoos and the different interpretations that people associate with them.

Spirituality, Divinity and Faith

The most recognizable and relatable connotation of an angel is that of a heavenly religious figure carrying out God’s bidding. These are holy beings commonly associated with all the positive things in our lives.

An angel tattoo can be used to represent any sort of connection we may feel with a higher power. Call it divinity, call it spirituality, call it faith; an angel tat can represent all these notions.

Protector or Guardian

Angels, as we all know, are meant to be the nice guys in the battle for good against evil. The related art can, therefore, be interpreted to signify protection. It may also serve as a reminder to be mindful of the things we hold dear.


An angel’s faith is an unwavering force. They’re destined to remain loyal to everything good and pure. This is one of the oldest mythological and religious references to the characteristics of angels.

If you’re drawn to this trait or if you deeply value the idea of loyalty, getting an angel tattoo might be a good way to represent this in tattoo form.

Principled or Righteous

Angels are also meant to be principled and righteous—a truly difficult mindset to maintain, considering they’re supposed to know and see far more than humans. If you can’t connect to these ideals and you’ve always strived to stay on the right side of the fight, an angel design should work for you.


Angels are associated with positive attitudes and traits the world over. How could they not be when they’re supposed to be messengers of God? If you’ve always seen the glass as half full and you like your eggs sunny-side up, an angelic tat can be just the thing to show off this beautiful aspect of your being.

Higher Self or Ascendance

Angels have always been represented in the image of humans because they’re meant to act as a source of inspiration—drawing us toward the best versions of ourselves.

We’re all capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for, and an angel serves to remind us about the possibility of ascending our human minds to find our higher selves. Those drawn to this notion can use this type of ink as a reminder that we should always strive to improve ourselves.

Popular Angel Tattoo Designs

An angel tattoo might seem like a straightforward ink idea, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of elements to play with here, especially conceptually, thanks to the plethora of myths associated with angels.

Just the Wings

A simple, elegant, and minimalistic way of working an angelic theme, without going for the whole look, is to get a tattoo of the related wings. Divine wings are an easily recognizable element, and you can use this if you’re after a simpler but equally effective ink design. Even a singular wing from a side angle does the trick here.

Emotional Angel

Angels are meant to be stoic beings who only display overwhelmingly positive emotions. Still, you can flip this concept on its head by going for a tattoo with the being displaying other emotions.

This can include a fiery angel bursting with rage, a crying celestial despairing over losing someone, or even a melancholic form peering into an unseen future. The point is that you can pick an emotion dear to your heart and represent it in angelic form for dramatic effect.

Angels With a Loved One

If you’ve lost someone special recently, you can use an angel tattoo to pay them an immortalizing and fitting tribute. In popular belief, these heavenly beings interact with all the good souls sent to heaven or its equivalent.

You can use this to create a tattoo with a loved one resting in the arms or wings of an angel. It’ll speak volumes about your relationship with them and how much they meant to you.

Popular Angels

Another common version of the angel tattoo would be the use of one of the many examples from popular culture. There are so many options here, including, but not limited to, Angel from the television series “Angel,” Gabriel from “Constantine” and “Good Omens,” and angel-like creatures, such as fairies and pixies.

This version of the tattoo acts as an amalgam of the old representations of angels reincarnated into a version created by modern-day culture.

Specialist Angels

We know about the angel of love, Cupid, but there are plenty of other specialist celestials to choose from. This includes: 

  • Birth
  • Death
  • Courage
  • Freedom

This is a great way to add even more depth to your tattoo, while highlighting some traits that you deeply treasure, too.

Fallen Angel or Phoenix Angel

The fallen angel — Satan or Lucifer — makes for a rather dark tattoo idea. This being represents rebellion, in popular culture. You can borrow ideas from the myth to detail existing ink. Think devil wings on a rose to illustrate that love can be used manipulatively.

A phoenix angel, however, symbolizes rebirth or reincarnation. This is an angel that’s rising like a phoenix from the ashes of oblivion. This design works best when the contrast is emphasized. Use dark colors for the background and litter it with sinister symbols like serpents, scorpions and black hearts.

Common Angel Tattoo Colors and Styles

Angel tattoos aren’t restricted by colors or styles and can work well with any idea and intended execution. For example, a two-dimensional, simplistic angel tattoo works as well as an elaborate three-dimensional version; it comes down to your budget and preference.

You can even use this tattoo to experiment with colors, especially if you’re going for an elaborate design. Angels are often associated with heavenly shades, such as gold or silver, but if you’re experimenting with non-conventional art types, you should opt for some bold choices with your color palette.

Because of this tattoo’s association with purity, it can be used to emphasize a theme of purity in other tats. You could have miniature celestials flying around a loved one or have an angel with the face of a loved one.

Common Angel Tattoo Locations

The most common placement for an angel tattoo would be your back because it’s big and practical enough to accommodate the wings. A good design would be to go for well-laced wings that imply you’re the angel.

Other common areas include getting tiny wings on your finger, miniature angels by the side of your neck, or getting more elaborate illustrations on your biceps, forearms, or chest.

Best Angel Tattoos