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Ink-credibly useful: the genius of practical tattoos


We all want to express ourselves through tattoos, but often the designs we choose are purely decorative with no practical purpose. Wouldn't it be great if you could get a tattoo that not only looked good, but also provided some kind of benefit or served a specific purpose?

Introducing functional tattoos! Thanks to the permanent nature of tattoo ink, these ingenious designs provide practical benefits to people's daily lives. From providing useful information to serving as technological interfaces, these tattoos offer an exciting way to express yourself while carrying something useful on your skin.

What is a functional or practical tattoo?

Functional tattoos are tattoos that provide a real-world benefit or serve a specific purpose.

Examples of very useful tattoo designs

Medical alert tattoos

A medical alert tattoo is one of the most common types of functional tattoos. These tattoos provide important information about the wearer in case of an emergency where they may be unconscious and unable to interact with the health services.

This type of body art ranges from designs that contain the wearer's blood type to highlighting a medical condition they might suffer from.

Ruler tattoos

Ruler tattoos are a great way to ensure you have a measuring tool handy at all times. They’re usually inked onto the forearm and feature markings that resemble a ruler, typically in inches or centimetres. A ruler tattoo can be especially useful for tradespeople or anyone who is regularly losing their measuring tape.


Man with tattoos and measuring tape


It is important to remember though that a ruler tattoo must accurately represent the measurements it displays in order for it to be truly useful! This means that the length and spacing of the lines have to be as true to life as possible.

Other functional measuring tattoos

However, for some professions, rulers are not enough. For example, some chefs or passionate home cooks have been known to get functional tattoos that help them consistently measure out ingredients. A teaspoon or tablespoon tattoo can be used to pour out small amounts of food or spices, eliminating the need for measuring spoons—and saving on the washing up!

QR code tattoos

QR code tattoos are an intriguing fusion of technology and body art. These unique designs feature a two-dimensional QR code that can be scanned using a smartphone or tablet to retrieve information chosen by the wearer.


QR code tattoo


Popular uses of this kind of tattoo are to store contact information, link the wearer to their social media profiles or direct their favourite video or song.

A QR code can be both a practical tattoo design as well as a great conversation starter!

Instant moustache tattoos

A little moustache tattoo provides the wearer with a playful way to sport a stylish moustache without the commitment of growing or maintaining facial hair. Typically situated on the side of the finger, all it takes is raising the finger to the lips to instantly create a moustache effect.


Instant moustache tattoo


While maybe not one of the most useful tattoos on our list, finger moustache tattoos are a perfect way to add a bit of silliness to your style!

Potential drawbacks of practical tattoos

While practical tattoos can be incredibly useful, it is important to consider any potential drawbacks before getting one. Given how easy it is for technology to become outdated or replaced by something better, it may mean that some of the useful features you get from your tattoo are less relevant in a few years’ time.

Additionally, it is important to think carefully about the location of your tattoo. Many functional tattoos require a large placement area and a high level of accuracy in order to be effective. It is usually best to stick to black tattoo ink for these designs so the finer details don't get lost. 

Plus, like all other tattoos, remember to take good care of your functional body art by using a quality tattoo aftercare

Useful tattoos... final thoughts

On the whole, practical tattoo designs represent a fusion of creativity with functionality. These designs go beyond mere aesthetics to serve a purpose and provide tangible benefits.



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  • Sarah Crookes