Carpe Diem Tattoo; Different Designs With Strong Symbolism

Carpe Diem Tattoo; Different Designs With Strong Symbolism

- in Tattoo Meanings
Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem tattoos were trendy in the 70s. However, their popularity grew thanks to Robin Williams immensely. He used the word as a Quote in the 1989 film Dead Poets Society. After this moment, Carpe Diem became a pop culture motivational word. 

The origin of Carpe diem is Latin and roughly translates to “seize the day .”This means that we should always live our lives in the present and seize every opportunity. People who search for a motivational tattoo often decide to get tattooed with the word ‘Carpe Diem. You can use

Carpe Diem
Image by Faby Green

other elements were designed after flowers, ships, feathers to personalize this tattoo. Different placements, fonts, and sizes will also help you further personalize the art. 

Carpe Diem: Meaning 

Carpe diem is actually more of a philosophy than a quote. Owners of these tattoos believe in making the best of the day or living in the moment. The most used translation is “seize the day, “however, the original wording is literal for “pluck the day .”This is an invitation to be the best you can be in the “now.” 

This tattoo design acts as a persistent confirmation that the wearer has the potential to be better. People who suffer from major anxiety could significantly benefit from the carpe diem illustration aspect. It will also prove helpful for the explorer looking to edge the envelope of accomplishment. 

Popular Designs 

Carpe Diem is one of those quotes that artists can combine with all kinds of symbols in a tattoo. If you want to add liveliness and emphasize the sentimentality of the carpe diem tattoo, consider some of these examples. 


Flowers are symbols that artists can combine with most of the text tattoos. Since the original use of the phrase refers to plucking flowers, this makes them an appropriate element to add to your tattoo. 

They are the symbol of vitality and life and are a perfect reminder of the significance of being in the moment. You are also free to use dead or faded flowers to underscore a more negative meaning for the image. 


Butterflies are insects viewed as gorgeous, frail, and free. That is why they serve well as a reminder of life’s fleeting cheerfulness. The blend of the carpe diem quote with a butterfly illustration can easily be adapted to many different styles, from traditional to watercolor. 

For instance, you can draw the butterfly outline and combine it with the font of your choice. Moreover, you can also modernize it with the placing of the quote around, below, or above the design.


Clocks are a brilliant way to highlight the meaning of the text. This combination means that time may run out if you’re not careful to be in the moment and enjoy what you have. The artist may print the text on the clock’s face to stress this idea. A top or bottom placement would also fit perfectly. 


Another way to emphasize the ‘time’s running out’ theme is to combine the carpe diem quote with an hourglass. Even though they’re a classic tattoo symbol, there are many different ways to use them. Make the hourglass more complex or simple by tweaking the style and color. 

Use different types for the lettering and glass if you want to differentiate the desire to live in this moment against the limitation of time. That being said, an hourglass is symbolically different from a clock. The glass is more fixed and brings out a finality or limitation, whereas a clock is cyclical, starting every 12 hours anew. 


As a symbol, the compass indicates a future that’s open, almost a crossroads. Every direction is available, so which one is the right one for you to take? 

Combining the compass with the carpe diem quote in a tattoo design would be great for free spirits who don’t let other people’s opinions affect them. Grab the moment and follow your heart to be content because tomorrow is always uncertain. 

Ships or Helms 

The steering wheel follows the same line of thought as a compass but with even more willpower. Sometimes, you need to nudge yourself that you can steer the ship of your life wherever you need to. 

This tattoo reminds you to trust yourself and follow your life course. Adding a ship or other nautical sceneries to your tattoo highlights a message of independence and liberty. 


They have an element of freedom to them as they fly with the wind. Their appearance is really effective with the quote added. The feather is subtle and light, and the design is common for women, combined with a fine, delicate font. Feathers reinforce the theme of flexibility, which means that you’re ready to embrace whatever will help you enjoy life more. 

Ancient Scrolls or Books 

Sometimes the quote is integrated with an old scroll or book. It emphasizes the fact that the phrase is full of antique knowledge and universal truth. This style will look especially good with more traditional or realistic themes. It’s also ideal for writers, seeing as text and paper are their tools of the trade. 

Musical Symbols, Paintbrushes, or Other Artistic Elements 

When all of these elements are combined with the quote, they can symbolize the need to express yourself. If you’re the innovative type, this should work. Pick components that match the existing ink. This way, the carpe diem tattoo will unite seamlessly with your other illustrations. 

Skulls and Skeletons  

Images associated with death remind us of the unavoidable end we all must meet and are a powerful reminder to make the best of life. These designs fit perfectly with darker colors, traditional fonts, colorful Mexican-style work, or a combination of all of these. 

Carpe Diem Tattoo Fonts

Even when the options for adding other elements are endless, the carpe diem tattoo doesn’t necessarily need anything else. The universal charm and recognition of the quote guarantee it will work independently. 

If you prefer simple tattoos, you can show your personality with font choice. If you love minimalistic tattoos, a simple one can already make your tattoo stand out. Big and bold letters will also have an effect. If you’re more original, the choice of a rare font will make the tattoo truly yours and personal. 

Old English 

One of the most traditional fonts for tattoos with quotes is probably the old or biblical letters of all kinds. They can go well in big or small sizes, horizontally and vertically, and as parts of bigger tattoo designs. 


Different cursive styles fit in the category of most common fonts for this kind of work. They’re subtle and flexible to different personalities and many other elements. Still, they work best with more subtle designs and objects, such as birds, butterflies, and feathers. 

Typewriter Font 

This font is a little more uncommon and will work very well if you’re looking for something that stands out. It goes well with birds or butterflies or more traditionally masculine elements such as dragons and Vikings. 


Different variations of graffiti designs allow you to use your imagination with colors. With the correct pattern and shading, you can add depth, vivacity, and emphasis to the illustration. 

Block Letters 

All simple and plain block letters can be impactful and twist the traditional quote. It’s not common for everybody, but if you’re all about standing out, you should enjoy this design. 


Using handwriting is another pleasant touch to make the tattoo even more significant. Your own handwriting or that of a loved one, who you want to pay honor, can further personalize the tattoo. 

Black Background with White Letters 

If you wish your tattoo design to stand out, you can choose a black sleeve with the non-colored letters standing out. It’s a very effective symbol of hope during difficult times, embodied by how the text breaks through the dark background. 

Common Colors and Styles 

Like with most text tattoos, the most common color for this tattoo is black. If you wish for something a little different, add more color to the text or objects. 

Flowers, birds, and butterflies allow you to set your imagination free in matters of color blends. Skulls, roses, and nautical themes are adaptable as they can adjust to different styles, from Mexican to hyper-realistic. Choose a nature theme if you want more color for your carpe diem tattoo. 

Common Placements 

The most common placements for this kind of tattoo are the upper arms and the back. If you want to try out something slightly different, write it vertically.

Parts of the body where the skin stretches a lot can make your tattoo incomprehensible after some time. It’s ideal to keep that in mind while deciding on the location. The choice of location also depends on the font you choose. More gentle fonts adapt well to smaller body parts, while old, biblical styles may need more space to look good. 

With all being said, the carpe diem tattoo is the perfect choice for your next tattoo design, whether on its own or combined with other symbols. The most important thing is to decide what you want and where you want to place it. 

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *