170+ Cool Old School Tattoos Ideas (2021) American Traditional Designs With Meaning

Old School Tattoos refer to tattoo designs that use very few color platelets. This includes primary colors like red, blue, and yellow.  Later on, Green, Black, and Purple were added too to it.

Famous tattoo artist Norman Keith Collins (who was popularly known as Sailor Jerry) made the old-school tattoo styles popular. Sailor jerry died in 1973 but his tattoo designs got so popular that even 50 years after his death, people still get inked with those designs.

One beautiful thing about old-school tattoos is that these designs always look adorable. Old school tattoos are timeless. While these tattoo designs are immensely popular among older men but you will find them inked on the younger generation too.

Old School Tattoo Designs Meaning

Old school tattoos can have different meanings and that will depend on the context of the design. However, one common meaning of all old-school tattoos would be that you admire art. Many tattoo artists accept that old-school tattooing is the true art of tattooing as it perfectly balances the use of tattoo needles and the hand pricking method.

There are several old-school tattoo designs that you can try. Some of the most popular are –

Old School Sleeve tattoos – Full sleeve tattoos were made popular during the second world war. It was mainly inked on Sailors who were stationed on remote islands. Sailors would spend a lot of time on art and literature during the tedious time at sea. They would ink their arms with different tattoo designs that would often result due to the loneliness of the sea.

This originated into full sleeve tattoos that became immensely popular among the general public after they saw war heroes inked with them. Since the tattoo artist on the ship had limited options for tattoo ink therefore they mainly used primary colors. This is where the old-school tattoo art developed and popularized.

Old School Flower Tattoos – Flowers are the most common tattoo designs since the ancient ages. However, it was old school take of flower tattoos that gave them entirely new popularity levels.  People love to try old-school rose tattoos and lily tattoos.

Old School Jaguar Tattoos – Wild animal tattoos have always been popular. But when we talk about wild animals, people usually stick to lion, tiger, or elephant tattoos. However, this is not the case for old-school tattoos designs. Sailor jerry made the old-school jaguar tattoo design so popular that people hardly pick any other wild animal in old-school style.

Old School Compass tattoos – Since the origin of Old school tattoos is from the navy, therefore, it was obvious to have old school compass tattoos. Compass is one of the most important devices that helps the sailor to navigates in rough sea.

Old School Clock tattoos – Time was a major factor while surviving at sea. A Clock tattoo implies that the person respects the time and is always living every single second of his/her life to the fullest.

Old School Pin-Up Girl Tattoos – Thanks to Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, and Bette Davis for introducing the pin-up girl era in Hollywood. This resulted in the popular pin-up girl tattoos which are popular even after 8 decades of their introduction in the tattooing community.

Many people like to have pin-up girl tattoos and when they search for design online they always find the tattoos done in old school style. This is because pin-up girl tattoos symbolize the black and white era of Hollywood. Therefore, such designs look more meaningful in old school style.

Old School biker Tattoos – Biker tattoos have gone through a lot of transition. You will now see biker tattoos done in almost all styles possible but none of them will look as graceful as the old-school version.

Traditional Old School Tattoo Designs

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Old School Pin Up Girl tattoos

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American Traditional tattoos

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American Style Tattoos

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Old School Navy tattoos

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Cool Old School Tattoos Ideas

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Classic Tattoos Designs

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American Style Tattoos

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American Classic Tattoos

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Classic Tattoo Designs

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American Traditional Woman Tattoo

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Small Old School Tattoos

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Conclusion

We have included almost all popular old school tattoo designs in our photo gallery. Which one you liked the most? Don’t forget to share these designs on social media.

References: Old School Tattoo Wiki