50+ Compass Tattoo Designs That Evoke Your Adventurous Spirit

By Jason Hamilton / June 3, 2018
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for over a millennia, humanity has only relied on their instincts when traveling to unexplored lands. They have discovered unclaimed territories for thousands of years out of sheer wit and skills. Many lives are lost because they went astray and died of hunger or other horrific slow deaths. When the compass was introduced a few centuries ago, explorers, sailors, and merchants rejoiced on the fact that their lives will have hope with the introduced instrument of travel. So it comes as no surprise that a lot of them honored it with a tattoo and thus the tattoo community, alongside its tattoo artists and enthusiasts created compass tattoo designs.

In this article, we will be giving you a rich and wonderful collection of images of compass tattoo ideas that you will most definitely love. These compass tattoos will absolutely scream of adventure and exploration when you see them! We will also be sharing with you a rich background in compass tattoo designs such as the history of the tattoo, the meaning behind the tattoo design, and the various designs you can do with it. So just sit back and relax as we will be presenting you this information in a jiffy.

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What Is A Compass?

Basically speaking, a compass is an instrument used for navigation and orientation that shows direction relative to the geographic cardinal directions (If you do not know them, its just North, South, East, West).

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History Of The Compass

The first compasses in ancient Han dynasty China were made of lodestone, a naturally magnetized ore of iron. The compass was later used for navigation during the Song Dynasty of the 11th century. Later compasses were made of iron needles, magnetized by striking them with a lodestone. Dry compasses began to appear around 1300 in Medieval Europe and the Islamic world. This was supplanted in the early 20th century by the liquid-filled magnetic compass.

How Did Compass Tattoo Start?

The compass is often associated with sea travel. Because of this, a lot of seamen and sailors choose to have this tattoo design on their skin. It is often believed that the Spaniards were the first to ink compass tattoos. As time goes by, seamen and sailors began to believe that compass tattoos would protect them during a journey at sea. Sea travel was perilous during those days because sea travel would mean weeks or even months in the open sea. So seamen and sailors chose the compass as their good luck charm which makes total sense. It was the compass that saved their lives and prevented them from getting lost and never return home.

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What Does A Compass Tattoo Mean?

A compass tattoo could mean a lot of things for a lot of people especially in with the tattoo artists and tattoo enthusiasts of the body art industry. Here are some of the definitions that a few of the people in the community gave us:

Guidance

This has got to be the most common meaning of a compass tattoo. Since sailors of the old days believed that a compass would guide them through rough waters, this meaning got stuck with the majority of people who has a compass tattoo.

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Protection And Safety

This meaning was also derived from the old days alongside the meaning above since sailors during those days get a compass tattoo as a reminder for them to come back home safe and sound.

Freedom And Wanderlust

the compass tattoo is a sign of free-spirited natures and wanderers who can’t stand routine and are always in search of new destinations and adventures. Seeing the design, it basically screams of adventurous souls when you look at it.

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Friendship and Unity

Because the compass is a shaped as a circle, the compass is often associated as a symbol of infinity, harmony, and everlasting relationships.

Loyalty

the compass tattoo is a wonderful design to express your faithfulness to the second half.

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Good Luck And Positive Energy

Followers of the Feng Shui practice believe that the compass can attract fortune, good luck, and prosperity.

These are just a few definitions our friends in the tattoo community gave us. We are pretty darn sure that there will still be a lot of definitions out there for a lot of people so why not share it with us if you know something that we have not mentioned on this list?

Various Compass Tattoo Designs

For centuries, the compass tattoo has dominated men at sea. They have been and still are the main consumer base of this specific tattoo design. A lot of the designs from the old days have now propped out of nowhere as a testament to humanity’s creativity and skill to reinvent a once a basic tattoo design.

Here are some of the compass tattoo designs we have gathered on the internet:

Neo-traditional Compass Tattoo

This specific tattoo design breath a new life to the once dated compass tattoo. the neotraditional compass tattoo had just been introduced in the body art industry quite recently and it took the tattoo community by storm. Overwhelming praises filled the community for a while when it was introduced. Now that the tattoo community calmed down, the attention to this design is not that big but it is still sizable.

Here are some neo-traditional compass tattoo designs we saw that will definitely leave you in awe:

1. A colored neo traditional compass tattoo on the thigh.

2. A colorful back neo traditional compass tattoo with two roses.

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3. A neo traditional compass tattoo on the sleeve with a rose.

4. A colorful neo traditional compass tattoo with blue and red flowers.

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5. A colorful and vibrant neo traditional compass tattoo with red flowers.

6. A neo traditional compass tattoo on the arm with a rose and a set of coordinates.

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7. A colorful and vibrant neo traditional compass tattoo on the arm.

Three Dimensional Compass Tattoo

This tattoo design is considered to be the middle-aged one of the bunch. The design of this tattoo has almost the same look and aura of that of a traditional compass tattoo but instead of the traditional compass, it instead uses a three-dimensional shaped compass.

Here are some of the 3d compass tattoos we saw on the web that might interest you:

1. A really intricate three dimensional compass tattoo with a sundial and a map as a background.

2. A shoulder tattoo of a three dimensional compass with a chain.

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3. A three dimensional compass tattoo on the leg with a map and rope.

4. A three dimensional compass tattoo on the sleeve with a clock.

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5. A three dimensional compass tattoo on the sleeve with two roses.

6. An upper back tattoo of a three dimensional compass with a drawing compass and a map.

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7. A three dimensional compass tattoo with maps and roses.

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8. A three dimensional compass tattoo on the arm with a map as the background.

Watercolor Compass Tattoo

Watercolor compass tattoo designs are the newest compass tattoo idea of the bunch. Since watercolor tattoos were just introduced a few years ago, this design is considered young and trendy at this point in time. This specific tattoo design incorporates a compass with various watercolor tattoo design elements to give out that signature vibrant artsy vibe.

 

Here are some of the watercolor compass tattoo designs that might spark your interest:

1. A colorful and vibrant watercolor tattoo of a compass and feathers.

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2. A vibrant shoulder watercolor tattoo of a compass.

3. A colorful upper back watercolor tattoo of a compass with purple, pink and blue ink.

4. A blue watercolor tattoo of a compass on the arm.

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5. A purple and blue watercolor compass tattoo with names of the continents in various fonts as an additional detail.

6. A colorful and watercolor compass tattoo on the arm with rainbow colors.

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7. An orange watercolor compass tattoo with a highly detailed compass.

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8. A colorful watercolor compass tattoo with vibrant colors and an anchor.

Artsy Compass Tattoo

Artsy compass tattoo has been around for quite some time now and this tattoo was the first one to entice the interest of the female tattoo market. With this great use of decorative lines, cogs, arrows, and other artsy design elements.

Here are some of the artsy compass tattoo designs we saw:

1. An artsy compass tattoo on the back.

2. An artsy arm tattoo of a compass with a cog and an arrow.

3. An arm tattoo of an artistically designed compass.

4. An artsy compass tattoo on the arm of a compass and an anchor.

5. An ankle tattoo of a a compass and an anchor on one ankle and the other has the world map as a tattoo.

6. A small ankle tattoo of a compass.

7. An artsy compass tattoo on the abdomen.

Compass Tattoo And Men:

Men were the original consumer base of the compass tattoo. Since in the old world, only strong men can be a part of a ship’s crew, the only ones who get the courage to ink a compass tattoo on their skin were muscular men at their prime. Today, however, it is still much the same with the majority of men from the navy still getting a compass tattoo but it has also branched out to other branches of the military such as the army, marines, and air force.

Here are some compass tattoos on men that might interest you:

1. A sleeve tattoo of an arrow and a compass.

2. A chest tattoo of a compass with Viking detailing.

3. A colorful and vibrant watercolor compass tattoo on the chest.

4. A neo traditional compass tattoo inked on the upper middle portion of the back.

5. A highly detailed compass tattoo on the arm with ropes, roses and a map as additional design detail.

6. A simple compass tattoo om the arm.

7. A three dimensional compass tattoo on the arm with a map and map grids as the background.

8. A compass tattoo on the upper middle portion of the back with Viking details.

9. An artsy compass tattoo on the arm with the world map as a background.

10. A three dimensional compass tattoo on the arm with a map as the backdrop.

Compass Tattoo and Women:

Since the dawn of the 1980s, slowly women are also joining the compass tattoo consumer base with the introduction of more feminine and soft tattoo designs in the market. Although they still have not the numbers to rival that of men in this specific tattoo design, they still play a huge role in developing compass tattoo to fit in the modern era. Artsy compass tattoos and watercolor compass tattoos were introduced to the tattoo community and the body art industry to specifically cater for women originally.

Here are some compass tattoo designs on women that might interest you:

1. A beautifully crafted compass tattoo with vibrant colors for the watercolor design element.

2. A simple side tattoo of a compass.

3. A super detailed compass tattoo on the palm of the hand.

4. A colorful watercolor chest tattoo of a compass with the watercolor design element as the seven continents.

5. A back tattoo of a detailed compass and a feather.

6. A colorful upper back tattoo of a compass with colored leaves surrounding it.

7. A medium size back tattoo of a compass with the usual artsy vibe.

8. A simple yet beautiful arm tattoo of a compass.

9. A beautiful artsy compass tattoo with a feather-like tail attached on the south cardinal direction.

10. A very artsy compass tattoo with an eye, arrow, and a tree for each cardinal direction.

Compass Tattoo Body Placement

Since this tattoo design can be resized to be big or small, compass tattoos are considered as a versatile design. You can have it in the size you want and place on the body part you want it to be inked. If you are looking for something common, however, most compass tattoo designs are inked on the visible parts of the body such as the sleeves, arms, thighs, legs, chest, and back areas.

 


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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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