Heartbeat Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning

Heartbeat tattoos represent life, either by celebrating your vitality or remembering loved ones. They can also depict two entities that are connected, like siblings, best friends or couples. Most heartbeat tattoos are small, but you can innovate and make them bigger in size.

Popular Designs

The heartbeat, measured by an electrocardiogram, can symbolize either the unstoppable force of life or signal its end. Many people use this as a reminder to be grateful, a memorial tattoo or to represent two intertwined lives. You can personalize this meaning by adding different elements to your ink.

The easiest way to add to the meaning of the heartbeat and personalize it is by adding other elements to it. Let’s go through some of the most popular designs.

Simple Heartbeat

Even though many people like to decorate their tattoos a little more, the heartbeat already carries enough symbolism on its own. You can use it as a celebration of your own vitality or as a memory of someone else. Only you will know what this tattoo represents unless you decide to share it with others.

You can design a thick or a thin line, and experiment with the placement to personalize it a little more.


Many people like to put a heart in the background and add the heartbeat on top. It can also be placed in the beginning or at the end. You can use red ink for the heart to make it stand out next to the black line of the heartbeat.


The cross is used to turn the heartbeat into a memorial tattoo. Sometimes, a heart is placed at the beginning and a cross at the end of the heartbeat line. This signals the passing of someone important to you.


A great option to remind you of a loved one is by adding their name to the tattoo. You can place the name below or on top of the heartbeat. Another possibility is transitioning from the writing to the heartbeat line or vice versa.

Important Words or Quotes

One option is to begin or end the line with a word or quote that inspires you. You can make the writing clear or almost imperceptible, depending on the type of script you use.

Based on the message you want to convey, you can use words related to love, persistence, gratitude or loyalty. 

Add quotes from your favorite music or poems, or even from the Bible. How about John 4:7? “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

It might be easier to keep the quotes short if you’re looking for a smaller tattoo. Otherwise, you’ll have to find a body part that’s capable of accommodating a longer line.


The heartbeat tattoo is great for including important dates, as well. You can add the birthdates of your children, siblings, or your parents. 

Another possibility is remembering the date someone you love passed or was born. These dates can also represent beloved pets.

Matching Tattoos

If you want to share the tattoo with someone, you can get matching heartbeats to symbolize your connection. You can do this kind of tattoo with a sibling or your romantic partner. What better way to celebrate your love than getting ink together?

You can add other elements to these tattoos, such as names, dates and hearts. Think about what best represents your connection. Is it a person, a place or maybe a hobby? Include that in your tattoo.

Creative Elements

Musical instruments and notes, books or brushes together with a heartbeat symbolize the way creativity gives you life. Pick your favorite art, add the item that best describes it, and place the heartbeat around it or on top. 

If stand-up comedy makes you feel alive, how about designing a microphone and adding the heartbeat line across it? A heartbeat with a pair of headphones; on the other hand, implies music is vital for you.


An element of your favorite team or sport symbolizes your commitment to it. You can use the colors of your team as the background. 

Another option is to place the heartbeat line on top of the sporty item. Maybe it’s a basketball, a player’s jersey or a helmet. Some items, like a bicycle, can also be included as a part of the line, in black. Your options are endless, so set your imagination free. 


A flag with a heartbeat represents the importance your country or state has for you. On top of patriotism, it can also symbolize an important trip or life period you’ve spent in a foreign country. 

If your semester abroad helped you find yourself and saved your life, you can express it in ink. Another wanderlust element that symbolizes your love for travel is a plane. Try including it as a simple black outline in the heartbeat line.

How about adding your favorite city to your ink? You can turn the New York City skyline into a heartbeat line.


Pictures of animals with a heartbeat tattoo don’t just have to be in memory of a beloved pet. They can also represent some important characteristics usually associated with the species. 

Think about the wisdom of an elephant, the courage of a lion or the luck of a rabbit. Is there one characteristic that really feels like it guides you through your life? Maybe you want to remember a loved one whose strength is best represented by an animal figure.

Birds and butterflies, especially, are a good addition to a heartbeat tattoo. They can symbolize your freedom and vitality. As very frail things, they can also be a symbol for someone important who is not around anymore. 

Color Possibilities

The most common option for this tattoo is black, but don’t feel like this has to limit you. Try red or white ink or any other color that represents you. Going with a thick or a thin line can also help you personalize this design. 

With a heartbeat line in all black, you can add color to the elements surrounding it. Adding hints of color can also make your tattoo really pop. Try giving it a colorful background, either abstract or something defined. 

Are you a nature lover who loves to escape to the mountains? Try a landscape in tones of blue and green to symbolize the specific environment that brings you life. You can also use watercolor style splashed all around the heartbeat, to make it more vivacious and express your creative side.

Where to Get Your Ink

Heartbeat tattoos tend to be very subtle and small, but it’s not your only option. You can apply these tattoos to numerous different parts of your body, and in the size you prefer. However, they’ll look best in areas where the skin doesn’t fold much.

Straight lines are also very hard to make, and every imperfection will show. You’ll need to make sure your tattoo artist is qualified for this type of precision-work before booking an appointment.

Hands, Arms, and Shoulders

Among the most common placements are the wrist and the inside of your forearm. If you want to go really small, you can place the heartbeat tattoo on your finger. How about tattooing the side of your hand?

A bigger heartbeat line, or one with more elements, would also look good on your bicep or shoulder. Imagine your beloved pet or your spirit animal on your ink, watching over you.

Chest and Back

This tattoo looks good across the chest, right on top of your heart. You can place it on your ribs on either side or in the middle, or on the back of your neck. The lower back is another popular location for a heartbeat tattoo, as well as the sides of your torso.


A bigger line can be designed to run along your calves or the sides of your thighs. The feet are also a good place for a small heartbeat line that reminds you to always follow your heart.

Best Heartbeat Tattoos