It’s amazing how something as simple as a semicolon mark inked on the body can communicate certain intense emotions better than words. Project semicolon was a social media movement that started in 2013. By 2015, these tattoos were everywhere.
The semicolon mark was regarded as a symbol of hope and courage in the darkest of times. People proudly donned this symbol to show solidarity for their close ones battling mental health issues like depression, anxiety, suicidal tendency, and self-harm.
Project semicolon movement helped to open a much-needed dialogue about health and suicide prevention.
Interested to know more about semicolon tattoos’ meaning and perhaps have one inked? You have come to just the right place.
The History Behind Semicolon Tattoo
As stated previously, project semicolon started off as a social media movement with an aim to raise mental health awareness. The movement was started by Amy Bleuel who started this movement to honor the memory of her father who died by suicide in 2003.
Project Semicolon encouraged people to draw a semicolon on their wrist, take a photo, and upload it on social media. In a cruel twist of irony, Amy also died by suicide in 2017 but the trend of semicolon tattoos lived on to honor her legacy.
Today, people from all over the globe, including celebrities like Selena Gomez, are tattooing this symbol as a badge of pride for surviving and defeating their inner demons. Clay’s semicolon tattoo in the first episode of the second season of 13 Reasons Why was a subtle nod to Project Semicolon.
What Do Semicolon Tattoos Mean?
What’s so special about semicolon, though? Grammatically, the semicolon punctuation (;) is used for joining two independent clauses or closely related complete sentences. Semicolon, in essence, is a symbol of continuity. It implies the fight is not over, even though it seems like the end of the world.
The author uses; where the sentence could have simply been ended with a period but the author chose not to. The main idea behind Project Semicolon was that the sentence is our life and we are the authors.
And that’s the story of how the semicolon mark became a well-recognized symbol of hope and inspiration for those plagued by self-harm thoughts, depression, and trauma. It is a reminder of how far they have come and how much they have overcome to reach where they are today.
Best Semicolon Tattoo Ideas in 2022
With choices aplenty to choose from, it can take ages before you come up with a design that sings to you. So, to make your job a tad easier, I present to you 35 most creative semicolon tattoo designs the world has ever witnessed. Let’s dive in:
Butterfly Semicolon Tattoos
Butterflies are universally regarded as a symbol of transition, freedom, resilience, and hope. In Christianity, these winged insects are a symbol of resurrection. In some cultures, they also represent joy and prosperity.
There are a plethora of meanings associated with butterfly and it’s all up to how the wearer interprets it. Butterfly tattoos are particularly popular among women for their vivid colors and delicate nature.
The image of a butterfly combined with a semicolon is chosen by many suicide attempt survivors as a mark of victory and resilience in the face of emotional distress and hardships. The wrist and neck are by far the most popular placement areas for such tattoos.
If you are not big on colors and want to keep it rather simple, a small butterfly in black ink would be a great choice. Blackwork not only looks stunning on winged insect tattoos but also leaves a lot of room for adding details.
Unique Semicolon Tattoos
Combine the semicolon symbolism with other popular tattoo designs like mandala art or nature motifs to create your own unique design. If you are into abstract designs, there are endless ways to customize the designs to replicate your thoughts on your skin surface.
There are no rules to play by here. You can choose any object or theme that resonates with you to whip up your unique semicolon tattoo.
Semicolon Heart Tattoo
The heart symbol represents something or someone the wearer is very passionate about. It’s a symbol of a gamut of intense human emotions. It can honor a happy memory or be a reminder of someone you lost, depending on the color of the heart.
A small black heart with a semicolon may allude to a dark and twisty state of mind. Alternatively, a heart-shaped outline with flying birds and galaxy colors represents affirmation and hope for someone dealing with PTSD, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
A large-scale blackout anatomical heart tattoo with faded shading may appeal to those looking to juxtapose biological realism with abstract emotions. You can also add positive quotes like “keep on going” to reinforce the message you want to convey through your tattoo.
Semicolon Tattoo on Wrist
The wrist is the most commonly chosen location for self-harm. Hence, engraving the semicolon symbol on the wrist holds powerful meaning for individuals who are plagued by suicidal thoughts or lost someone to suicide.
The tattoo acts as a reminder to keep going, no matter how hard it gets. Since 2015, thousands of individuals got this symbol inked on their wrist or forearm to show support and solidarity to suicide attempt survivors.
Tribal Semicolon Tattoos
Semicolon tattoos offer plenty of visual room for adding details and juxtaposing different motifs. You can play with tattoo size, ink applications, placement, and themes to come up with a design that manifests your thoughts on your skin.
A lot of mental health tattoos are intertwined with intricate tribal motifs to create a visually striking tattoo. Tribal tattoo symbols are historically associated with eternity, passion, power, and protection from the evil eye.
Tribal semicolon tattoos are cheaper to get as the designs are mostly straightforward geometrical shapes inked in black. However, they can be as extensive and complex as you want them to be with the addition of overlapping geometric shapes, colors, quotes/phrases from scriptures, etc.
Cat Semicolon Tattoo
A lot of individuals get cat semicolon tattoos to honor the memory of a deceased pet. But there’s more to feline silhouette tattoos than what meets the eye. Cats were worshipped as goddesses in ancient Egypt.
They represented strength, good luck, and intelligence. Cats are considered to be very spiritual animals in many cultures. That’s why many people who are seeking inner peace get a tattoo of a cat face or paw on the top of their hand, wrist, or forearms.
There’s a popular notion that cats have nine lives which shows resilience. The semicolon symbolism only reinforces this idea.
Semicolon Watercolor Tattoos
Watercolor tattoos are arguably one of the most complex forms of ink art. Only a tattoo artist who mastered techniques like fade-out, bleeding, blurring to create a watercolor painting effect on the skin. More often than not, watercolor tattoos don’t use outlineS.
Even if they do, the tattooist intentionally draws a sloppy outline and lets the pigments extend outside the lines to create a color dripping effect. The watercolor effect on semicolon tattoos gives it a delicate, whimsical, personalized touch.
If you are a hardcore art fan, I highly recommend that you explore the idea of using the watercolor effect to highlight the semicolon design.
Small Semicolon Tattoos
Express solidarity for those affected by mental health issues or memorialize your own story of bouncing back from a dark phase with these delicate and dainty semicolon tattoos. These simple and straightforward semicolon tattoos are less time-consuming to create, making them a viable choice for first-timers.
For a little twist, you can ask your tattoo artist to merge a musical note with the semicolon mark (as shown in the picture) with your choice of pigment.
Rose Semicolon Tattoo
Roses, along with the heart-shaped outline, have been the most widely inked tattoos through the ages. A red rose is a marker of burning passion and love, a pink rose represents innocence and purity, while a black rose is a universally recognized symbol of loss and mourning.
By combining the semicolon symbol with an elaborate rose image, you can create a breathtaking masterpiece to engrave your skin. If you are into artistic, hyper detailed tattoos, you should definitely check out these designs.
Rose tattoos are highly customizable. So if you are a hardcore minimalist and want a more sober, workplace-appropriate tattoo, think rose silhouette with a small semicolon inked on your forearm.
Semicolon Tattoo behind the Ear
One of the best placement areas to flaunt a small and delicate semicolon tattoo is behind the ear. Behind-the-ear tattoos are discreet. You can easily hide them behind your hair, making them a fantastic choice for beginners.
The popularity of behind-the-ear semicolon tattoos with elements like butterflies, flowers, birds, and stars have grown progressively over the years, especially among women.
Since the space behind your ear is so limited, I’d suggest keeping the tattoo as simple as possible so that it shines easily when you style your hair.
Semicolon Dragonfly Tattoo
Dragonflies are a beautiful creation of nature. These calm and beautiful insects are often associated with good luck, inner peace, and harmony in Chinese culture. Therefore, tattooing an icon of a dragonfly with a semicolon exudes positivity.
It often signifies that the wearer has finally found peace and happiness after a long, exhausting battle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Some would also interpret the dragonfly image as a symbol of self-realization.
It acts as a simple reminder to hold onto faith and hope amidst difficult times.
Semicolon Tattoo on Finger
Let the playful side of personality shine with an aesthetic finger tattoo. The limited space and easy visibility make fingers the perfect little canvas to emphasize a semicolon tattoo.
However, mind you that getting a finger tattoo can be immensely painful due to the lack of enough fat and muscle around this area. That said, for some people, the pain is a part of the appeal.
You can keep it neat and simple by etching just a small semicolon on one finger or take it up a notch by pairing it with a heart symbol or your lucky number on another finger.
Semicolon Flower Tattoo
Flower tattoos mark new beginnings and renewal of faith. A large-scale, highly detailed image of any flower of your choice can be used for strengthening the message behind a semicolon tattoo.
Flowers are also a symbol of love and bonding, making it a great option for individuals who want to get a tattoo as a gesture of solidarity for a loved one affected by addiction, trauma, or/and other mental health issues.
Semicolon Heartbeat Tattoo
The EKG lines are a signifier of endurance and resilience. It encourages the wearer to keep moving forward and never succumb to the challenges life keeps throwing at them.
Conversely, the heartbeat symbol can also mark the end of life and is often worn by individuals mourning the loss of someone very close to their hearts.
Semicolon Infinity Tattoo
Infinity symbol is a popular theme for memorial tattoos because, in many cultures, it signifies reincarnation. In mathematics, the infinity symbol represents limitlessness, which makes it a go-to theme for romantic couples who want to get matching tattoos to declare their undying love and commitment for each other.
Attaching the semicolon symbolism deepens the meaning and enhances the overall aesthetic of a classic infinity tattoo. Semicolon infinity tattoos are supremely versatile. They can be very easily personalized with a favorite quote, name, or an important date.
Lotus Flower Semicolon Tattoo
Here’s another nature-inspired, highly customizable semicolon tattoo. Lotus has a number of meanings attached to them across different cultures. It is a marker of spiritual awakening, growth, and rising above challenges. The delicate flower also showcases the pure nature and charming personality of the tattoo bearer.
Lotus semicolon tattoos are supremely versatile. They can be as small or large as you want them to be. They can be a blackout tattoo or enlivened with the brightest colors on the spectrum to suit your mood. A skilled tattoo artist can work up really unique and visually striking designs around this theme.
Semicolon Yin Yang Tattoo
Yin yang is one of the most well-recognized symbols around the globe. If you are someone who believes in the philosophy behind yin yang, i.e opposite forces need to coexist in harmony in order to maintain balance in the universe, it could be a great theme to work around for your next tattoo.
The inclusion of the semicolon symbolism adds another layer of depth and intensity to the core principle of yin yang. It encourages the wearer to accept and embrace their inner darkness because, without darkness, there’s no light.
The classic black and white yin yang tattoo are often merged with spiritual motifs such as mandala art and tribal religious symbols to enhance the aesthetic appeal and pay homage to one’s cultural roots or ancestors.
Semicolon Tattoo on Ankle
The ankle is one of the best spots to get inked if you want to keep your tattoo a secret. Flaunt it when you want it and amp up the hotness quotient with an ankle bracelet. Trust me, you won’t know you needed this fashion tip in your life until you give it a try yourself.
Ankle semicolon tattoos can be personalized with a wide variety of size options, motifs, and quotes. This crescent moon-semicolon ankle tattoo is one of my absolute favorites of all time. It has such a tangible aura of calmness and serenity to it.
Semicolon Tattoo with Cross
The ancient symbol of self-sacrifice is a great way to embrace and celebrate Christian beliefs. Even many non-Christians proudly flaunt this symbol of hope and devotion to mark their spiritual awakening. The cross symbol with a semicolon is a go-to theme for RIP tattoos as well.
It’s often combined with heartbeat lines, the name of the deceased, and flowers as a sign of respect. It offers plenty of flexibility in terms of placement.
Semicolon Tattoos with Birds
Out of all the tattoo themes discussed so far, this one is probably the easiest to interpret. Birds are a symbol of liberation, they tell us to break free of the shackles of whatever is holding us down and follow our dreams. Flying birds are also associated with peace and harmony.
Semicolon bird tattoos hold immense significance for individuals who have found inner peace and motivation to follow their dreams after facing a series of challenges and rejections. If you love artistic tattoos, transform this concept into an extraordinary piece of art with the watercolor effect, as shown in the picture above.
Semicolon Tattoo with Wings
Angel wings are another common theme for remembrance tattoos dedicated to a dear one who died by suicide. These tattoos combine the tenets of Project semicolon with spirituality and Christian beliefs.
Even non-believers can embrace this tattoo trend by personalizing them with their choice of motifs. I found this Harry Potter’s golden snitch-inspired tattoo a really interesting, clever, and quirky take on this theme.
Anchor Semicolon Tattoo
The classic sailor’s tattoo stands for strength and stability. The inclusion of semicolon symbolism takes the symbolism to the next level. When these two sublime symbols come together, they create a sign of strength and hope against all odds.
It motivates the wearer to keep pushing through the storm. You can add your own spin to the tattoo with elements like a small red heart or the color splatter effect for a dramatic touch.
Arrow Semicolon Tattoo
Since the dawn of mankind, arrows have been used as weapons for hunting and self-defense. There are a plethora of philosophical ideas attached to narrow. It all basically boils down to three things – fight, protect, and survive.
Arrow semicolon-themed tattoos subtly capture the constant inner battle suicide and depression survivors go through. The symbolism instills a sense of protection to the tattoo-bearer.
Many individuals get this design inked simply for tIts minimalist aesthetic appeal.
Sunflower Semicolon Tattoo
This one’s by far the most cheerful tattoo design on this list. A sunflower stands for everything nice and positive in the world. Sunflower image is a go-to theme for romantic tattoos as it’s a quintessential symbol of everlasting love, loyalty, and happiness.
Getting this symbol engraved on the skin is a way to declare that they choose to brush away all the negative thoughts and focus on their growth and happiness, instead.
Warrior Semicolon Tattoos
The warrior semicolon tattoo holds a very special meaning to people who have them. It is a reminder that life is a constant battle and even though giving up seems like the easy thing to do, it’s never an option. The philosophy resonates deeply with souls who are in a constant battle with their minds.
Warrior semicolon tattoos are illustrated with overlapping geometric shapes and analogous symbols like arrows and crescent moon. Faced shading, dotwork, crisp lines are used to enhance the composition.
Faith Semicolon Tattoo
These beautiful illustrations of faith semicolon tattoos are a reminder for us to never lose faith. The wrist is the most common placement area for such tattoos. Playing a little bit with the font is the easiest way to make this design stand out.
Hope Semicolon Tattoo
Fan of simplicity? Check out these cool and deeply meaningful hope semicolon tattoos. Hope tattoos can be worn by both men and women and can be customized with a wide variety of fonts, colors, and symbols like infinity or heart.
Dragon Semicolon Tattoo
Dragons are one of the most iconic mythical creatures of the fantasy world. In Chinese mythology, dragons are depicted as the bringer of good luck and fearlessness. In Celtic mythology, dragons are associated with intelligence and spirituality.
Dragons tattoos, with their elaborate wings, long tail, and towering persona have carved out a huge fanbase for themselves. Minimalist dragon semicolon tattoos leave a lot of visual room for creativity.
You can play around with size, ink applications, outlines, and shading to design a tattoo that resonates with you.
Cancer Semicolon Tattoos
Cancer and HIV ribbon tattoos are regarded as a sign of support and empathy for people who are living with these deadly diseases. These tattoos can be interpreted with different colors and inking techniques to make them stand out.
By adding the semicolon symbol to the design, you can show your love and support To terminally ill patients who are struggling with severe emotional trauma.
Book Semicolon Tattoo
For many individuals, reading is the only way to escape their harsh reality and slip into a world where they are in control of their fate. If you are a bookaholic and looking for a design that honors and celebrates your love for books, you should definitely consider taking inspiration from these book semicolon tattoos for your next skin art adventure.
Hidden Semicolon Tattoo
These unique semicolon tattoos can be both minimalist or elaborate and are placed on spots that can be easily covered up. For example, the nape of the neck, behind the ears, legs, ankles, and back are some of the best places to hide these semicolon tattoos.
Since you don’t have to worry about your boss or parents whining about your little adventure, go ahead and cram as much creativity as you can into the design.
Semicolon Phoenix Tattoo
The classic symbol of rebirth and reincarnation is often paired with a semicolon as a sign of great strength, perseverance, and endurance amidst challenges. It’s a popular choice of tattoo for individuals who have fought addiction, self-harm, or other mental health disorders head-on and have successfully overcome them.
The tattoo likens the tattoo bearer to a spiritual warrior, who, like the majestic mythical creature, who emerged from its own ashes, stronger than ever before.
Owl Semicolon Tattoo
The owl semicolon tattoos are such a big hit because of their simplicity and versatility. A skilled tattoo artist can come up with a host of unique ideas based on this theme. Owls can see in the darkness, hence, the bird is associated with great vision and hope for light amidst darkness.
So, the owl semicolon symbolism means a lot to people who have fallen prey to PTSD, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
Continue Semicolon Tattoo
Semicolon is the signifier of continuity. Adding the word continuity into the design makes the message even more impactful. Instead of drawing the symbol separately, replacing the letter “i” in Continue with a semicolon gives it a unique twist.
Selena Gomez Semicolon Tattoo
The pop icon is the executive producer of 13 reasons Why, a show that deals with issues like suicide and trauma. Selena Gomez along with the show’s lead actors Tommy Dorfman and Alisha Boe got matching semicolon tattoos in an effort to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
On her Instagram story, Selena stated that the tattoo was inspired by Project Semicolon, a movement spearheaded by Amy Bleuel. She further explains that her tattoo signifies the beginning of a new chapter of life, a life that the author could have ended but chose not to.
It takes remarkable grit and courage to resist the urge to give up. Her tattoo, in that sense, is a tribute to suicide attempt survivors and a prayer for those who succumbed to it.
Sometimes all you need is a semicolon tattooed on your wrist to remind you that you are stronger than your traumas. Getting a semicolon tattoo is an incredible gesture of solidarity for your relatives, friends, and peers who are constantly fighting the demons inside their heads.
I hope this article nudged you in the direction you wanted to be headed. I would like to conclude by saying that no matter what design you choose, with a symbol that stands for something so raw and powerful, you can’t really go wrong.