100 Awesome Compass Tattoo Designs

When coming to select tattoo ideas, not only do people consider their fashion styles but also the symbolic meanings of motifs. As the member of steampunk or biomechanical tattoo family, compass tattoo is appealing for its variety of designs and unique position in the history.

It is crucial for the mariners to grasp the direction in the course of their navigation. They could determine the position by the sighting of landmarks or celestial bodies. But it never became reliable until the introduction of compass in the past age.

What does compass tattoo symbolize?

Quill pen and compass tattoo

A compass is a navigational instrument to determine the direction of magnetic north. Divided by function, there observed three types of compass in the ink art design.

  • Pocket compass – a small compass to give cardinal direction for personal use
  • Nautical compass – used for marine navigation with complementation of map.
  • Compass Rose – or wind rose, a device used by meteorologists to give wind conditions, direction and speed, over a period of time at a specific location.

Due to its original meaning, compass tattoo is traditionally regarded as maritime tattoo for sailors. But nowadays, it could stand for more meanings. Compass with map could signify transition of locations in personal life. Regardless of pocket compass or wind rose, it can be used as guidance to the right direction.

What body part to get a compass tattoo

When it comes to tattoo placement, multiple factors need to be our considerations. For example, tattoo style, size and complex of the design and the degree to bear the pain.

Despite single device, most of compass tattoo does not look like small tattoos if considering area to accommodate complementary details and shading. Most of them are inked on the forearms or upper arms. Some creative designs appear on the foot or back.

If you choose a small tattoo in watercolor style, it’s flexible in terms of placement. When done well, it can be cute and lovely on wrist, back or forearm.

Awesome Compass tattoo ideas

A compass ink can be rendered in various styles, such as retro, vintage, grayscale, etc. No matter how eye-catching the design is, it’s important to understand true meanings it represents. Here in this post, please enjoy the collection of 100 awesome designs by different tattoo artists. Let us know which one inspires you most in the comment.

Wherever ya will go

Wherever ya will go

The epic body art depicts the symbols of love including not just compass but red rose and arrow entangled with ribbon. When a rose was shot by arrow, it means the heart has been captured by the beloved one. When the love is guided by errorless compass, who else has doubt on the oath of true love?

Black and grey ink with compass and daisy flowers on forearm

Black and grey ink with compass and daisy flowers on forearm

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Compass inspired body art with ink splashes on forearm

Compass inspired body art with ink splashes on forearm

This piece is created with the geometric shapes that form a compass rose. The ink splashes add aesthetic appear as well as the look of map.

Compass sleeve ink art for tribute to parents

Sleeve tattoo to tribute to parents

The black and grey tattoo draws a bell tower, a quill pen on the map with two locations, Spain and Argentina. The giant picture across time and space reminds people of certain historic event that might have happened between the two countries. But the actual intention is to pay tribute to the parents of the wearer as one is from Spain and another is from Argentina.

Black and grey forearm tattoo

Black and grey forearm tattoo

The realism 3D ink depicts rose and compass on a map knotted with rope on forearm. The map shows heritage, rose represents birthplace and the compass represents the transition from England to Australia.

Gray wash tattoo on forearm

Gray wash tattoo on forearm

The idea for this tattoo is similar to the above one. On the top, there are words written on the ribbon, which appears to express love and passage of time. The iron rope adds accent of bond as well as strength and masculine style.

3D tattoo with combination of compass, rose and candle on forearm

3D tattoo with combination of compass, rose and candle

This realistic forearm ink art is created with a lighting candle and a red rose that is centered around a retro compass. Lighting a candle signifies the wishes of the wearer. The words on the map seems to reveal the meaning of the piece.

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Realistic compass ink on the map in grey shade on forearm

If you expect your tattoo lasts longer, black color piece is the best to keep it from fading. Whether you opt for tribal style or 3D realistic like this piece, you can’t go wrong.

Amazing compass back tattoo for girl

Stylized compass and anchor watercolor ink for women

Stylized compass and anchor watercolor ink for women

Be the one to guide me but never hold my dream

Guided dreamcacher and feather tattoo on thigh for women

Guided dreamcacher and feather tattoo on thigh for women

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Vintage compass among colorful leaves and flowers

Vintage compass among colorful leaves and flowers

Globe map and nautical compass

Globe map and nautical compass

Black and grey small tattoo with compass and map on forearm

Black and grey small tattoo with compass and map on forearm

Nautical compass and world map

Nautical compass and world map

We are not touched with forest

We are not touched with forest

Elegant wind rose tattoo design on forearm for girls

Elegant wind rose tattoo design on forearm for girls

This design is unique in that the compass is not depicted as usual device. Instead,
The artist simplifies it to the geometric pattern that enlists the stylish symmetrical drawing.

Antique nautical compass and anchor ink on the leg for girls

Antique nautical compass and anchor ink on the leg for girls

This gorgeous piece has turned the metallic mechanism to nature friendly artifact. The pink and pastel colors perfectly interpret the inner world of the wearer. Despite the life secured by the compass and anchor, she never hides the longing for flying as a bird.

Incredible carving tattoo with world map and nautical compass on forearm

Incredible carving tattoo with world map and nautical compass on forearm

Usually realism creates impression of real and people are impressed with the incredible skill. But the carving effect along the edge brings striking feeling with the tattoo. I am wondering what unforgettable experience makes scarification.

Watercolor small tattoo on wrist

Watercolor small tattoo on wrist

If you prefer small design, the compass can be inked on the wirst like watch. For instance, this piece depicts a metallic compass with ink splashes and dot lines that makes it stylish.

Watercolor wind rose tattoo on calf for man

Watercolor wind rose tattoo on calf for man

Wind rose on the background of Mandala pattern

Wind rose on the background of Mandala pattern

Octopus with compass rose

The combination of compass rose and the ocean creature reminds people of the importance of harmonious relationship between mankind and sea lives. The octopus is painted as silhouette, but it’s nothing short of lovely.

V sign gesture and pocket compass on broken paper in black shade

V sign gesture and pocket compass on broken paper in black shade

Compass and Compasses tattoo

Compass and a pair of compasses

This piece integrates nautical compass and compasses that is an instrument for accurate drawing. With this in mind, the realistic tattoo is to signify guidance in the right direction but in secure.

Nautical monocular and compass sleeve ink in greyscale

Nautical monocular and compass sleeve ink in greyscale

Realistic compass tattoo on half sleeve

Realistic compass with map tattoo on sleeve

Watercolor compass sleeve tattoo

Not all that wander are lost

This piece is the best idea for women who love compass theme ink. Instead of large realism piece, watercolor style is often the choice to create faminine tattoo. It seems that the artist would not like to waste his ink. The watercolor splashes were painted like the map.

Watercolor compass back tattoo

Watercolor compass back tattoo

Full sleeve tattoo with nautical compass and map in watercolor style

Full sleeve tattoo with nautical compass and map in watercolor style

Cool wind rose tattoo with name and date in watercolor style on sleeve

Cool wind rose tattoo with name and date in watercolor style on sleeve

Watercolor compass tattoo for women

Watercolor compass tattoo

Sundial Compass Tattoo

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Realistic and wath tattoo on half sleeve

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Compass and hourglass full sleeve tattoo for man

Vintage compass in watercolor background

Vintage compass in watercolor background

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Compass with flower full sleeve tattoo

Boat and anchor centered around marine compass

Boat and anchor centered around marine compass

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Beautiful watercolor compass back tattoo

Black and white compasses ink art on forearm

Black and white compasses ink art on forearm

The amount of quality and shade work in this tattoo is extensive. The forearm piece depicts two metallic compasses as if they were left on war-torn field. The realistic style and extreme details present perfect 3D effect in this tattoo.

Dotwork of compass rose on arm

Dotwork of compass rose on arm

Realistic compass and rose ink on rib

Realistic compass and rose ink on rib

Map with Compass ink on forearm

Map with Compass

Realistic compass on the map of pacific ocean

Realistic compass on the map of pacific ocean

3D compass blackwork on calf for man

3D compass blackwork on calf for man

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Compss and anchor tattoo

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Compass and coin tattoo

Gray wash tattoo with nautical compass, feather and Hummingbird on forearm

Gray wash tattoo with nautical compass, feather and Hummingbird on forearm

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Personalized compass ink with flower and chain on forearm

Personalized compass ink with flower and chain on forearm

Vintage compass and rope strand in black shade

Vintage compass and rope strand in black shade

Watercolor wind rose tattoo on shoulder

Watercolor wind rose tattoo on shoulder

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Compass with skull sleeve tattoo

Greysacle - compass on jigsaw puzzles

Greysacle – compass on jigsaw puzzles

Ideas to integrate steering wheel, compass and map

Ideas to integrate steering wheel, compass and map

black & grey Rose & Compass

Compass sleeve Tattoo

compass tattoo shoulder

Rose compass tattoo

Vintage ink with compass and map

Vintage ink with compass and map

Compass and leaved tattoo by Matt Lentz

Grey Compass with touch of abstract

traditional compass tattoo

compass tattoo

spiral clock compass tattoo

hand compass tattoo

Black and grey ink with map, voyager compass and rose flower on shoulder

Black and grey ink with map, voyager compass and rose flower on shoulder

compass sleeve tattoo

Compass and Roses Tattoo detailed

Rose and compass in old tradition style

koi fish and compass

guns and roses

Compass Tattoo hand

Retro compass ink with bracelet on foot for women

Retro compass ink with bracelet on foot for women

Compass tattoo for a girl

3D Compass tattoo

realistic Compass tattoo

Compass tattoo side

Colored ink with Compass and bracelet by Guen Douglas

Colored ink with Compass and bracelet by Guen Douglas

 Rose and Compass ink done by Sean Ambrose

Rose and Compass ink done by Sean Ambrose

3D Compass Tattoo on shoulder

3D Compass Tattoo on shoulder

Compass Tattoo on foot

Compass Tattoo on shoulder

Retro compass emblem with stars on shoulder

Compass tattoo on foot

Black and grey compass and rose tattoo on shoulder

Black and grey compass and rose tattoo on shoulder

Traditional Compass ink on upper arm

Traditional Compass ink on upper arm

Do confidently on the direction of your dream

Do confidently on the direction of your dream

Tree and compass

Compass Rose Tattoo on Arm

Blackwork with compass and forest on forearm

Blackwork with compass and forest on forearm

compass forearm tattoo

The map in the compass

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