The design of tattoos in Kenya


Have you ever imagined getting yourself a classic tattoo? Then you need to look at some of the Kenyan most classic tattoos preferred by a majority of the people. Some of these designs mushroomed in the late early 21st century, and only a few individuals were willing to expedite these marks on their bodies. They are designed in different forms depending on taste and prevalence.

Different designs of tattoos

We can classify tattoos according to how they existed. We have the ‘oldskul’ and the modern tattoos:-

Modern tattoos

Tribal tattoo designs

These types come in different designs. Some of the popular tribal tattoos are the butterflies, the claws, the star tattoo, and some creative abstract art. The butterfly tattoos are preferred by the females since they possess a sensual attraction that attracts the males. The claws, on the other hand, are preferred by the males as they portray dominance. However, some clients generalize them as transgender.

Celtic tattoos

These classes of tattoos are categorized to be sophisticated and classy. They are popular among the youths as they seem to be fashion and trendy. They include the following classes: -butterfly, tree of life and the Celtic cross. Also, the shamrock is likened in this category. They illuminate elegance among ladies due to their spirals and crosses that are classy. The males prefer the Celtic knots that are expedited mostly at the chest and muscles areas.

The Japanese or Chinese tattoos

This category comprises of tattoos from Asia and Chinese. They are classy and sophisticated as well. Most of the designs are structured along the Chinese and the Asian characters. Some symbols like the dragons are also incorporated into the above category. The ladies especially the Swahili prefer this artwork as it illuminates essential elements of beauty.

The ‘oldskul’ tattoos

The ‘oldskul tattoos’ designs were the earliest to be innovated by the designers. Mostly, they were frightening and were done on high-profile individuals such as the queens, gods and to soldiers who led the battalions. Also they had a meaning in different contexts such as in politics, in religion, in social set ups etcetera. Some of the common types that are used even to date include:-

  • Heart tattoos
  • Love tattoos
  • The female breasts tattoos
  • The zodiac
  • The star


Some say that beauty is natural while others believe that it is enhanced by how we treat our bodies. As for the tattoos, they can improve one’s appearance depending on the design you put on your body. We should, therefore, select the designs carefully to avoid conflicting messages sent to the public.

Traditional tatoo of Datoga people
Photo: Private