Design for Life
"I want to get a tattoo."
I was 16 and probably shouldn't have been making lifetime decisions quite yet, but loved the permanence and significance a tattoo holds. Lucky for my conservative father and easy-going-but-still-draws-her-lines mother, my perfectionist attitude was with me long before I became a designer so I didn't rush to the nearest parlor. I had no idea what, where, how big, or how visible, but I planned to get one someday.
Over the course of the next 8 years, ideas came and went, but a few requirements survived:
1) It would reflect the importance of family. 2) I would be able to see it. 3) I didn't care if other people saw it. And 4) No color—simple was the way to go.
During my senior year of college, I was a student in Molly Morin's class "Emerging Formats for Digital Arts." The two sides of my conflicted brain had finally found a home—the convergence of art and engineering. We transformed facts that were once words or numbers into an interesting visual representation. Whether we like it or not, instant access to a seemingly unlimited amount of information is more available everyday. When presented through visually interesting and informative designs, pertinent data can be quickly identified and understood in a meaningful way. The approach to art and design I learned in Molly's class would be the one I used to design my tattoo.
By mid 2014, due to its visibility but dual-functionality as a permanent piece of jewelry, I settled on an armband and began to work on different ways to represent my family. I recorded the birth year, month and day of my two siblings, parents, mother's parents, and father's deceased parents.
While I explored many options, below is the process for the final result. Click each image for a closer look.
Tattoo artist Dave Norton of Pino Bros Ink made a few additional tweaks to allow for a successful session and the tattoo's longevity. Since college, I have looked through what has to be hundreds of tattoo artists' portfolios. When I discovered Dave's absurdly straight lines and geometric style, I called the very next day to schedule a consultation. In mid-December of 2014, Dave inked some of the straightest lines I've ever seen and 8 years in the making became a reality. Now living 900 miles away from my family, it's kind of nice having them right there on my arm.