21 Amazing Compass Tattoo Designs To Try In 2024

Whether spiritually inclined or a wandering soul, compass tattoos are a great choice.

Reviewed by Rian Othus, Tattoo Artist Rian Othus Rian OthusTattoo Artist youtube_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (Mass Communication) Nisha Baghadia MA (Mass Communication) Experience: 3 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , MA (Mass Communication & Journalism) Joyce Joyson MA (Mass Communication & Journalism)

Compass tattoo designs are gaining massive popularity among travel enthusiasts, and anyone who loves exploring new destinations and topography can’t resist trying this design. They are meaningful and can be drawn in both minimalistic and intricate ways, often incorporating coordinates or other cartography elements. If you are travel savvy and love moving around, this tattoo speaks your personality for you.

A compass tattoo is not just for wandering souls; it carries a deeper spiritual meaning. The needle and magnet, essential components of the compass, can also symbolize surveying and mapping, highlighting the importance of careful planning and itinerary. Earlier, the compass was not just used as a navigation instrument, but it was believed to connect people to their spirituality and provide orientation. Hence, a good leader can wear this tattoo with pride.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The first use of a compass dates back to the Han Dynasty in China (20 BC – 20 AD). It is celebrated as one of the Four Great Inventions of China, along with printing, papermaking, and gunpowder.

If you have a sense of adventure and enjoy exploring new horizons, here are some compass designs you can draw inspiration from. Keep scrolling to check them all out!

Beautiful Compass Tattoo Designs With Meanings

1. Anchor Compass

Anchor compass tattoo design
Image: Instagram @richardlnagy

The anchor is a common symbol of the Christian faith and represents holy guidance. In general, the anchor is a symbol of stability and control.

2. Nordic Compass

Image: Instagram @frank_tommolini

The Nordic compass is commonly associated with extremist beliefs. It looks quite similar to a Celtic compass. A Celtic compass expresses one’s pride in their ancestry.

3. Heart Compass

Image: Instagram @bryink

This tattoo design portrays one’s willingness to let their heart guide their actions in life.

4. Map Compass

Image: Instagram @gedesony

For the adventurous souls out there, this design symbolizes a passion for discovery, expedition, and travel. This design embodies the spirit of wanderlust and a desire to chart a new course in life.

5. Nautical Compass

Image: Instagram

A nautical compass tattoo means peace and harmony. It is quite popular among sailors and maritime enthusiasts or people who desire to explore the globe.

6. Rose Compass

Image: Instagram @ayse.yetgin.96

The compass rose tattoo denotes a passion for romance and a search for true love.

7. Star Compass

Image: Instagram @jathemountainlion

A star compass tattoo, based on the North Star, represents those who seek guidance. It is often associated with wayfinding and route planning.

Jamie, a blogger, recalls her personal experience of getting inked on her Thailand trip. She explains the entire process of finalizing the design, last-minute additions, the inking process, and more in greater detail and quite ecstatically! After hours of drawing and filling the star compass design, she rejoices and adds, “I’m very happy with how the design came out and what it symbolizes to me. Like Dolph, I enjoy the layers of meaning within it (i).”

8. Vintage Compass

Image: Instagram

The vintage compass tattoo is best suited for those who have a passion for History. If you’ve spent time in the navy, it also symbolizes protection, exploration, and pathfinding.

protip_icon Fun Fact
The earliest compass systems were made of a central body of water surrounded by spherical shapes to indicate celestial positions.

From tiny direction arrows to a deep-shaded, realistic-looking design, compass tattoos come in various styles. Below is our list of trendy compass tattoo designs to fill you with ideas and leave you inspired.

1. Feet Compass Tattoo

Feet compass tattoo design
Image: Instagram

Get inked on your feet with this traditional compass tattoo that is paired with an anchor. A tattoo on the foot symbolizes direction and being grounded. This a favorite among travelers who don’t know where they will end up as they journey on. This trendy design is simple yet attractive. A little shade work on the monochrome design gives it a quirky edge.

2. Chest Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @nico_584032

This one’s a beautiful design that can be etched above your upper abdomen. The monotone tattoo is a perfect fit under the chest cavity. The mandala design circling the compass is a flawless example of intricate geometric design. It symbolizes the desire to find someone who understands you.

3. Celestial Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @leandramouton

This beautiful design is a masterpiece in itself – a compass in the middle is surrounded with soft smoke and dotted geometric flowers. The solar system around the compass adds a unique touch to it. It fits the back of the neck and upper back beautifully. This astrological tattoo is popular among those seeking spirituality.

4. Butterfly Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @brockstattoos

Here’s a chic angle to the regular compass tattoo. This design consists of a bold black compass surrounded by a scenic landscape that’s enclosed in the wings of a majestic butterfly. Your upper back is certainly a great location for it.

5. Abstract Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @fifiloutattoo

This compass tattoo on the forearm is an innovative design inspired by the ‘dark academia’ art form and marks eight sub-directions with tridents of different designs. The center of the tattoo is a hollow sphere, which gives it a magical appeal. It symbolizes a tidy, educated, and rigid person.

6. Back Ear Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram

Give yourself a trendy treat with this tattoo etched behind the ear. Its colorful design has a set of thin-lined compass arrows in the middle, accompanied by a fiery blaze of purple and blue hues in the background. Pair this quirky design with a pixie haircut, and you’re all set to rule the world.

7. Lower Back Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @milky_tattoodles

Check out this tattoo design that tastefully fills your lower back. The design plays with colors in the background with blue waves hitting a bold black compass. The flowers on the top left also add a distinct contrast to the design. This tattoo also symbolizes motherhood for those who love to mix nautical and earthy designs.

8. Animal Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @open_mind_tattoo_club

This turtle sketched at the back of a compass is the ideal tattoo for your arm. Symbolically, the turtle signifies strength and stability. Its intricate design is an unquestionable eye-catcher and is also regarded as a mark of good luck. Just like the turtle, the people who sport this tattoo prefer water-based adventures.

9. Thigh Compass Tattoo

Image: Shutterstock

Flaunt your thighs with this fashionable crescent-shaped tattoo, another take on the Nordic compass. This design has four roses encircling a compass. The latitudes and longitudes of the place that means most to you inked beside the compass provide an added charm.

10. Compass Tattoo Behind The Arm

Image: Instagram @mr.jones.tattoo

Designed with ultra-thin strokes, this tattoo represents an uphill scene with pine trees and a ridge below. It symbolizes difficulties that the person has overcome or is yet to overcome. It is topped with a compass that is encircled with sub-divisional strokes. The wolf, signifying strength to face your challenge head-on, above the mountains only adds to its uniqueness. The placement of the tattoo behind your arm signifies the memories you leave behind.

11. Side Body Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @inktalktattoostudio

This beautiful design for your waist represents an adventurous soul. Its semi-colorful style has a distinct design in the middle. Along with the splashed watercolor pattern in the background and its abstract concept, this tattoo will certainly stand out when you flaunt your body in crop tops.

12. Neck Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @graciabanana_

This simple yet attractive compass tattoo design looks perfect just below your neck. This is commonly called the “My Crazy Life” tattoo and represents rebellion. The right lines depict the need for order and control, while the geometric shapes break free. The classic layout of the compass bounded by a circle of tiny drops and traditional waves adds some serenity to the look.

13. Spiral Compass Tattoo Design

Image: Instagram @d_art_tattoo_

This compass tattoo is ideal for your calves or arms. It consists of a compass, a direction star at the bottom, and a rope going around your arm. The background is a cartographer’s map. If you are a traveler, this is the perfect tattoo to express your love for adventures.

14. Dreamcatcher Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram

This unique design combines a dreamcatcher and a compass. Fitted in the web of the dreamcatcher, the compass has its spokes pointed at directions represented in Roman numbers. The dreamcatcher is in a simple shade of black, and surrounding the web is the quote, “Not my will, but your will be done.” The two seagulls at the bottom represent the ability to adapt to different situations in life.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Compasses have been a symbol of direction, limitations, and were a guiding tool in ancient cultures. A compass tattoo can be a meaningful reminder of your purpose and goals in life and motivate you towards accomplishing them.

15. White Compass Tattoo

White compass tattoo design
Image: Instagram @tattooist_sana

The best way to make a tattoo trendier is to get it in white. This simple design of a compass surrounded by two radars and a tiny silhouette of a plane is not only cool but also very classy. If you are blessed with dusky skin, this is a great way to flaunt your skin tone and stand out from the crowd.

16. Shoulder Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @bigbad_kenn

Shoulder tattoos may hurt a lot during the tattooing process, but they look oh-so-cool. Give yourself a treat with this pretty compass design that is adorned with a flower circle. It is perfect for flaunting on a cold-shoulder top.

17. Illuminati Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram

Teaming the concept of the eye with a compass adds a touch of mystery to your tattoo. Its semi-realistic design and spectacular shading effects are amazing.

18. Stylish Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @beanbeu

A compass design right above your ankle will definitely make you stand out in the crowd. This design flaunts a simple round compass in monotone with the world in the background – the perfect match to your quirkiness.

19. Embellished Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @ink.life

This tattoo in an oil finish and hyper-realistic colors portrays a bronze compass and a peach-colored rose. No matter where you get it done on your skin, this will be the focal point of everyone’s attention.

20. Tell A Story With A Compass Tattoo

Image: Instagram @baldytattoo

Make your tattoo speak your stories out loud. If you love traveling and solving puzzles, this is the perfect option for you. This design flaunts a well-shaded vintage compass as a focus, and in the background are pieces of a puzzle waiting to be put back together. It is also said to symbolize autism awareness.

21. Geometric Compass Tattoo

A geometric compass tattoo combines symbolism and accuracy to represent direction and exploration. The compass can be interlaced with complex shapes, minimalist line work, or intersecting lines to create an eye-catching and meaningful design. This combination of navigation and geometry represents goals, trips, and the quest for balance.

This tattoo, whether elaborate or simple, symbolizes one’s life through diverse paths. Its positioning on the chest, neck, back, or forearm adds depth, representing the wearer’s never-ending search for meaning and purpose in a simple yet impactful visual statement. In addition, this tattoo design expresses the wearer’s individualistic outlook on life’s journey.

Infographic: 6 Eye-Catching Compass Tattoo Designs For You To Try

Whether you are someone who loves to travel or a wandering soul always lost in their thoughts, the compass tattoo is perfect for you. It symbolizes surveying and mapping and is believed to connect people to their spirituality. The infographic below highlights the best eye-catching compass tattoo designs and their meanings. Check it out!

6 eyecatching compass tattoo designs for you to try (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Tattoos help express your personality, likes, character, and emotions and tell stories that stay close to your life. Compass tattoo designs help depict your love for traveling and exploring, and the tools of navigation such as sextants, astrolabes, and GPS can add a unique touch to the design. Your love for seeking new places, and finding new ideas about life can be easily represented through these compass tattoos, with each cardinal direction of the North, South, East, and West representing a different aspect of the journey. Besides, these tattoos will also help connect you with the spiritual meaning of life. You can get these tattoos in both minimalistic designs and intricate patterns. The list of ideas for compass tattoos mentioned above may help you choose one that is most suitable for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which way should a compass tattoo face?

Most compass tattoos point toward the north. It is believed that they symbolize guidance. It can also represent a pilgrimage or a journey towards a personal goal, as it offers a sense of direction.

What does a broken compass tattoo mean?

A broken tattoo symbolizes a turning point in a person’s life. It also indicates the change of a path or tribute to a significant one who has passed away.

Where on the body is a compass tattoo commonly placed?

It depends on personal preference. Mostly, compass tattoos are placed on the forearm, chest, wrist, or back.

Are there any specific colors or elements commonly incorporated into compass tattoo designs?

Compass tattoo designs are often paired with stars, anchors, and maps. Colors such as red, black, and blue are commonly used in compass tattoos.

What is the significance of the direction the compass points in a tattoo?

The direction of the compass points in a tattoo can vary based on personal symbolism or significance. It can represent new beginnings, finding one’s path, and settling down.

Key Takeaways

  • Compass tattoos evoke a sense of wanderlust and showcase your desire to explore new horizons.
  • Compass tattoos were believed to help one connect with one’s spirituality and navigate through life’s journey.
  • Some of the most popular compass tattoo designs include the anchor compass, star compass, map compass, and vintage compass.
  • Compass tattoos can be customized by adding elements such as coordinates, quotes, GPS, and other symbols to give a personal touch to them.

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Personal Experience: Source

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