Triangle Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning
Few designs are as versatile as triangle tattoos. Virtually any image, logo or phrase can be worked into a triangle, and they’re super customizable in terms of detail and color. The three corners and sides can symbolize different things, from the Holy Trinity to family or the passing of time.
It’s not hard to see why triangles are popular in the inking world. We’ll cover some of the most popular designs and colors for these tattoos, as well as where to place them to get the best effect.
We’ll also give you some creative ideas to help make your three-cornered tat unique and attention-grabbing.
Popular Triangle Tattoo Designs
Some designs lend themselves really well to a triangle shape. Here are some popular ones to check out:
Standalone and Variations
A single triangle can be representative of many different things. They have specific meaning in Druidry and alchemy, where they make up part of each symbol for the four elements.
It can make an eye-catching frame for the main subject of a tattoo. As an example, one might have a landscape view of a mountain range within a triangle.
These three-sided polygons also make great frames for tribal tattoos. Simply get a thick outline and fill it with whatever tribal pattern you wish for a striking effect.
Other designs use more than one of the shapes to create their picture.
The Celtic version of this shape is also called the Celtic Knot. It consists of a single strand, interlinking in several ways to form a triangular knotted shape.
Also known as the Spiral of Life or Trinity Knot, it’s not uncommon for couples to get matching tats before being wed as a symbol of the bond between the two and God.
In old times, the Celts believed it to represent the three worlds—mortal, celestial and the “other” world. For those looking for a tattoo with spiritual significance who believe in ethereal worlds and the immortality of souls, this could be a great option.
The Norse/Viking Valknut is another often seen design. It’s made up of three interlocking triangles and is also called the “Heart of the slain.”
It has a few accepted meanings behind it, the most common being that if warriors wore it on their person and died in battle, they would be taken to Valhalla.
A Viking valknut may be a suitable tat for those with a strong bond to Norse culture and history, and a belief in an afterlife or reincarnation.
To show power and strength, get one in solid black. For something more artsy and to represent acceptance and the process of life and death, add some flowers and color to one part of the triangle, while keeping a section black and having one part patterned.
Star of David
The star of David is a Jewish symbol made up of two simple triangular shapes overlapping each other.
Although there’s no mention of this emblem in the Jewish holy texts, it has come to symbolize the Heavenly Father’s shield of protection over David and his descendent, the Messiah.
Liberal Jews who accept body art might choose to get one of these inked onto themselves as a symbol of Yahweh’s everlasting protection over His children.
Words, Lyrics or Phrases
Just about any phrase or quote can be inked in a triangular shape for more effect.
For example, Pink Floyd fans might get a song lyric from their favorite song in the shape of a triangle for reference to the well-known prism cover design of Dark Side of the Moon.
Even if your favorite band doesn’t have a link to the shape, it makes a striking effect for lyrics.
Shapes can create some hypnotic effects which look amazing in tattoo form.
The Penrose triangle is an optical illusion that makes for a popular tattoo. If you like tattoos that stand out and can be the subject of a conversation, a Penrose may be for you.
Triangles can be doubled, tripled, looped and overlaid nearly endlessly to create intricate geometric line art.
For those in engineering careers or similar, something like this might catch your attention and be a worthy representation of an element of your career.
The All-Seeing Eye
“God is watching us”, is what this symbol conveys. It’s generally considered to be a Christian emblem.
People who aren’t Christian but have lost someone close to them may get something similar to represent their loved one watching over them, wherever they are.
Triangular shapes can be used to represent anything that contains three elements. Some well-known concepts include:
- The Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
- Family (parents and a child)
- Marriage (couple and God)
- Body, mind and soul
- Past, present and future
- Birth, life and death
- Creation, preservation and destruction
- Waxing moon, waning moon and full moon
Tats representing one of these can be almost endlessly customized, as they’re usually quite personal. You may choose to get a Holy Trinity tattoo with another relevant element, like a cross.
A family or marriage triangle may be accompanied by the names of the people it’s symbolizing. Members of families may choose to get matching triangle tattoos to show that bond.
Popular Colors to Use
Triangles can be tattooed in any color. They can be a simple outline, filled with solid ink, or shaded for an artistic effect.
Black is striking and eye-catching, especially when used with simple designs such as this shape.
A black outline or solid black triangle can stand out in a powerful way.
There’s no right or wrong color for a shape tattoo. It depends on personal preference, other elements within the tattoo (e.g., if there are leaves, you may want to go for green), and if you want it to match existing tattoos you have.
Some common colors for triangular type artworks and their variations include:
- Red: To show power and passion
- Blue: Which represents truth and the ocean
- Green: The color of nature and the earth
- Purple: The royal color
Common Body Placement
The beauty of these shapes is that they can go absolutely anywhere. It may depend on which way you want the shape to be—with the point upwards or downwards.
Popular places on the body for triangle tattoos include:
For large triangular-shaped pieces, the back is perfect. It’s big enough to have a significantly sized shape there, point-up or point-down.
If you want a tri-cornered frame filled in with another picture that includes a lot of detail, the back is an excellent area as it allows space for highly detailed artworks.
Chest and Ribs
Elaborate pieces in triangular shapes would work really well on the chest. The shape of the chest lends itself to an upside-down triangle, and a shortened one would even work well for women.
An example of a chest-piece for a girl might be a wreath of elaborate and highly detailed flowers and leaves, starting at the collarbone and covering most of the upper chest area.
Arm or Hand
Small triangles look awesome on the hand. The back of the hand is a nice little canvas for moderately sized tats, and the fingers and wrists work really great for simple shapes.
Forearms are also smooth areas for more detailed work. A quote or song lyric shape tattoo would look good here.
A triangle on the calf is eye-catching, whichever way it’s facing. Ankles work really nicely for small, simple tats, as does the top of the foot just above the toes.
You can be as creative as you’d like. Get a tiny triangle behind your ear or on the back of your neck. Go for one on the back of your upper arm or just above the waistline if you’re feeling brave. Anything goes!