125 Directional Compass Tattoo Ideas with Meanings

Compass tattoos have been popular for a long time and are very common among sailors, anglers, and all those obsessed with the sea life. Men commonly wear compass tattoos because of the masculine appeal of these designs.

However, this doesn’t stop women from wearing it, as getting a compass tattoo symbolizes your love for travel as well. So if you’re a travel freak who wants to explore every corner of the world, you should consider getting a compass tattoo.

There are a variety of compass tattoo ideas out there, and each design has a unique appearance. It can get a bit difficult to choose the perfect design out of so many compass tattoo ideas. Hence to help you out, we have gathered some of the coolest compass tattoo ideas you shouldn’t miss. You will also find the symbolic meanings associated with each design below.

The Meaning behind Compass Tattoos

Compass tattoos have a variety of symbolic meanings; like many other designs, the wearers see compass tattoos from different perspectives. Hence there is no standard meaning associated with compass tattoos. The main meaning behind the compass tattoo is finding the right direction.

In the early days, voyagers would use compasses to reach their specific destination. Hence, many people get a compass tattoo to remind themselves to go in the right direction that leads to their original roots. It also reminds you not to let time change you. This is one of the reasons why sailors and anglers get this tattoo as is it helps them recall their journey on the sea and signifies their love for sea life.

This tattoo also represents a person’s love for traveling. If you love traveling or are a travel blogger, this is the ideal tattoo for you. This tattoo also showcases your outgoing personality and how you like to explore different things and meet people, even if it’s exploring your hometown. It gives out an adventurous vibe and radiates positivity.

People also get compass tattoos to showcase the time they have spent near the sea, especially if their hometown is near the beach or if they have worked their whole life on the sea. Many Navy officials also get compass tattoos; hence people also get this tattoo to pay tribute to a person whom they have lost while serving the Navy.

There are different types of compasses, and each carries a different meaning. For instance, if you get a Nautical compass, it means you are all about spreading peace and harmony. If you get a star compass, it represents how you’re looking for some guidance in your life. So, you can choose any tattoo that portrays a meaning close to your heart. Even if it does not symbolize any significant meaning, you can get one for its appearance.Compass Tattoos

Types of Compass Tattoos

You will love the amazing variety of compass tattoos. This gives you the chance to choose the right designs for yourself. However, with so many compass tattoo designs, choosing the best design can get tricky. We have mentioned a few of the main types of Compass tattoos below. This will give you an idea of what to expect in a compass tattoo and make your selection process much easier.

  • Nautical Star
  • Watercolor Compass Tattoo
  • Arrow Compass Tattoo
  • Travelling Compass
  • Standard Compass Tattoo
  • Celtic Compass Tattoo
  • Rose Compass Tattoo
  • Gyro Compass Tattoo
  • Skull Compass
  • Anchor Compass
  • Geometric Compass Tattoo

Compass Tattoos

Best Placements for Compass Tattoos

Choosing the right placement for your compass tattoo or any tattoo for that matter can sometimes be more difficult than choosing the design as you want the tattoo to look good on you. The best thing about compass tattoos is that you can get it tatted anywhere you want on your body. The designs are quite versatile and come in different sizes.

The most common body area to get your compass tattoo inked is your arm. Your arm allows you to flaunt your compass tattoo and suits almost every compass design. If you want to try out a unique place for your compass tattoo, you can get the design inked on your chest, stomach, back, or thigh. These areas would suit bigger compass tattoo designs. For minimal tattoos, you can go for the hand, legs, or even feet.

No matter where you get your compass tattoo tatted on, it will look exotic, leaving you with some amazing body art. All you have to do is make sure you get it in a place that would make you feel comfortable and not regret later. Not to mention, removing a tattoo is not always the best option.

Compass Tattoo Ideas

Watercolor Compass Tattoo

Watercolor Compass Tattoo

If you want to breathe life into your compass tattoo, you can try out this interesting watercolor compass tattoo. It consists of a black and white inked compass with the directions labeled in the right order; North, South, East, and West.

The watercolor technique appears in the background; the artist uses different colors to add depth to the tattoo like blue, yellow, and orange. You can always experiment with different colors that would go together.

There are a lot of other elements present in the tattoo that make it more appealing. This is the perfect example of a big compass tattoo that you can pull off on your chest or back.

2.      Anchor Compass Tattoo

This anchor compass tattoo is another unique tattoo that leaves you with some excellent body art. It includes a dotted compass with the directions, and in the middle is a big anchor tatted in grey and black and a rope running across. This tattoo has a beautiful meaning as the anchor in this tattoo symbolizes Christian faith while the compass symbolizes guidance.

Both these meanings combined showcases how Christianity helps you walk in the right direction and that sometimes test your faith that leads you to the right path. The black and grey ink suit this tattoo best and makes it more realistic.

Rose Compass Tattoo

Rose Compass Tattoo

This rose compass tattoo has a nice feminine touch to it and looks amazing once it appears on your body. It includes a colored inked compass featuring a nautical star and around the compass are some red-inked roses with green leaves.

This tattoo is perfect for all those women who like aesthetically pleasing and meaningful designs. It also symbolizes your path and how you strive to walk in the right direction. This is one tattoo that not many would want to miss out on!

Arrow Compass Tattoo

Arrow Compass Tattoo

You can try out this arrow compass tattoo for a classic touch in your tattoo. This tattoo includes a black and white inked arrow that goes through a compass with a nautical star. There is some extra shading done in black, and some swirls around to enhance the overall look.

This tattoo is quite meaningful as it represents starting a new chapter in your life. If you want to show people that you’re starting something big and meaningful in your life, this tattoo is the perfect way to represent that. The appropriate place for this tattoo is your arm; this way, you can see it yourself and also show it off in front of others.

Ship Compass Tattoo

Ship Compass Tattoo


This ship compass tattoo is one of the coolest compass tattoos you will come across. It features a black inked mechanical compass with a big voyage ship inked in black. The background of the tattoo includes a black shaded sea and a dark moon. Your tattoo artist might include a slight red ink shading to make this tattoo more dramatic.

This tattoo is perfect for those who have traveled on the sea or miss traveling. It also symbolizes your love for the sea and how it has influenced your life. You can get a few words inked on this tattoo for an additional touch that will make it more meaningful.

Geometric Compass Tattoo

Geometric Compass Tattoo

If you want to present your compass tattoo in a cool and unique way, you must try out this geometric compass tattoo. It consists of a standard compass inked in black with the appropriate directional markings.

The cool feature in this tattoo is that the compass includes a half nautical star, and the other half consists of the needle. Around the compass are some different geometrical shapes like dotted triangles and circles.

The geometrical shapes and lines give this tattoo a unique and flattering touch. It’s perfect for someone who wants to go all-out with their tattoo. You can simply show off this tattoo on your forearm or leg and lead the way!

Travelling Compass Tattoo

Travelling Compass Tattoo

If you’ve always had a passion for traveling the whole world and exploring every corner, this traveling compass tattoo is the perfect choice for you. It features a classic black and grey compass with the appropriate markings inked in black, which appears on a black inked world map. The artist has used the 3D tattooing technique on the compass to bring out a realistic touch.

If you plan to get this tattoo, you can include whatever map you like if you don’t want the world map tatted in the background. This tattoo symbolizes your love for travel and how it is the only thing that keeps you going and hopeful. It also symbolizes how focused you are in life.

Classic Compass Tattoo

Classic Compass Tattoo

Consider getting this classic compass tattoo if you like to carry a simple tattoo. This includes a simple black inked compass with the directions. These tattoos are mostly small in size and help you achieve a subtle tattoo look.

The best part about this type of tattoo is that you can place it anywhere on your feet, hands, chest, or neck. You don’t have to worry if you want your tattoo to remain a secret.

This tattoo doesn’t only look good, but it also holds a significant meaning. It represents the direction in your life and will always encourage you to stay on the right path, especially in challenging times.


compass tattoos

compass tattoo designs


How long does it take to get a compass tattoo?

Many factors determine the time your compass tattoo will take, such as the design, size, placement, and the experience of your tattoo artist. If you go for a small and simple compass tattoo, it might take you around three hours or maybe less if you can bear the pain. But if you have selected a bigger compass tattoo that includes a complicated design, it will take around 5 hours or maybe more.

Will it be painful getting a compass tattoo on my foot?

When getting a compass tattoo or any other tattoo on your foot, you should expect a lot of pain as that areas consist of more bones and less flesh. Tattoos always hurt the most when carried out on bony areas as the needles tend to sting through your bones, which can sometimes be unbearable.

But if you keep yourself hydrated, have proper breakfast, and go with a positive mindset, you can get through the pain. The discomfort you experience during the tattoo process is all worth it if you want to décor your skin with an amazing tattoo design.

Final Words

With the help of these fabulous compass tattoo ideas, you can now achieve the perfect compass tattoo for yourself. These tattoo ideas suit everyone’s individual needs in a tattoo as it includes different designs, sizes, meanings, and placements. Selecting a tattoo is one of the most memorable moments that you will cherish forever once you’ve got your tattoo. Whether you are looking for the right direction in life or just want to get a beautiful tag on your body, don’t miss out on these tattoo ideas.