Compass Tattoos For Women: 25 Designs You Can’t Miss Out On!

Whether you’re a wandering soul, a working woman, or a spiritually-inclined person, compass tattoos are a great choice for you!

Written by Gayatri Sarin

On Jan 23, 2024 – 13 minutes read

Compass tattoos for women 25 designs

A compass tattoo is one of the very meaningful tattoos designs a woman can get. It can represent passion, direction, and protection. Moreover, the design is versatile. You can choose an intricate compass with every element drawn to perfection, or pick a minimalist design made with simple shapes and lines. 

The compass design is a universal symbol of direction in life and can be symbolic of the choices one makes. For a woman who is travel savvy and loves moving around, it emanates her personality. But, a compass tattoo isn’t for wandering souls alone. It has spiritual significance too. 

In the past, compasses were used for navigation, but it was also believed to connect people to their spirituality. Thus, a good spiritual leader can wear a compass tattoo with pride. 

A Quick Look At The History Of Compass Tattoos For Women

The compass design originated as a common ink choice for sailors and fishermen, as they considered the designs as bringers of good luck and protection during their travels. It was also believed that the design would always guide them home. 

History Of Compass Tattoos For Women

The compass hasn’t lost its charm and remains one of the most popular designs among tattoo enthusiasts. Today, the people with compass tattoos are not sailors, but the design’s meaning is still of value to them. 

The Symbolism Of Compass Tattoos

A compass is a navigation tool that helps in pointing toward a direction. It was impossible for travelers back in the day to explore the world without losing their way without a compass. Consequently, compass tattoos are viewed as a symbol of direction, protection, safe journey, independence, and guidance. While it may not have a practical function, it acts as a permanent guiding light for the wearers. Here, let’s see what compass tattoos symbolize.

Compass as a symbol of guidance

In a compass tattoo, the needle always points to the north. Throughout history, the north was symbolic of progress and advancement. Thus, the tattoo provides a sense of comfort and safety as it guides you to your destination. It is a symbol of guidance reminding you to find your path and reach where you need to.

Compass as a symbol of exploration and travel

The compass was a vital instrument for navigation. It enabled travelers to make sense of unknown paths and new challenges and find their way to their destination. As a result, it is a trending design among travel enthusiasts and those who love exploring new destinations. 

Compass is a symbol of finding one’s way

Wearing the compass is a sign of confidence and independence, as it ensures that no matter what, you will always find your way. 

Cultural Significance of Compass Tattoos

The meaning of compass tattoos varies in different cultures. 

  • Native American tribes provide meanings for each direction of the compass. The west symbolizes conclusions, north wisdom, east spirit, and south purity. The meanings of the direction can differ between tribes. 
  • In Christianity, the compass tattoo is a symbol of solidity in your beliefs and having direction in your faith. 
  • Celtic traditions attach meanings to all four directions. North represents earth, south fire, east air, and west water. 

Types of Compass Tattoos

There are different types of compass tattoos that you can get inked. Compass tattoos for a woman can have different meanings. You can classify them based on gender, style, placement, design, colors, and more. 

Compass Tattoo On Forearm

Compass tattoos are ideal for women with unstoppable spirits. Some designs are for wanderers constantly searching for their next adventure. They point toward your future or destiny. 

Simple Compass Tattoos: Although the design is simple, it does not reduce the symbolic meaning. Instead, a simple compass tattoo reflects the wearer’s minimalist aesthetics.

Couple Compass Tattoos: A couple tattoo with a compass and your partner’s name is a special way to express your love for that someone special. It is an incredible way to symbolize how your path in life revolves around your spouse. 

Compass Tattoo on Forearm: Forearm compass tattoos are a great way to flaunt your personality and passion for travel and exploration. The placement of a tattoo on your forearm is convenient as it allows you to conceal the tattoo easily for the workday(1). 

Compass Tattoo on Hand: In the past, hand tattoos were associated with prisoners and gangsters, but they are now a popular choice for people from all walks of life. The back of your hand is a great place for a meaningful tattoo since it is visible to you without a mirror. A compass tattoo on the hand is a constant reminder for you to stay on your path and not get lost on the way.

25 Design Ideas For Compass Tattoos For Women – Don’t Miss Them!

There are a million and one ways to customize compass tattoos, from colors to different simplifications. Here are some design ideas to draw inspiration from.   

1. Basic Compass Design

Do you think less is more? This tattoo consists of the two foremost elements of a compass – separating lines and directions. Close to line tattoos, there is no additional artwork, making it the perfect choice for a minimalist or a utilitarian. 

2. Anchor Compass Design

Anchor is a traditional symbol of safety, home, and hope. The combination of an anchor and a compass is one of the classic nautical tattoo designs. 

3. Celtic Compass Design

Celtic Compass Design

Celtic tattoos represent strength and vitality. They also express one’s pride in their ancestry. The tattoo may also be a symbol of protection and Celtic heritage. 

4. Heart Compass Design

A heart compass tattoo is a popular choice for women due to its meaning. It portrays your willingness to let your heart be the guide for your life’s actions. It indicates that you trust your instincts. 

5. Map Compass Design

A compass and a map are both used for navigation, and their combination in a tattoo is ideal for the adventurous souls out there. It symbolizes a passion for travel and discovery. 

6. Nautical Compass Design

Originating from the sailor roots of the design, a nautical compass tattoo symbolizes hope and faith in finding your way home. You can add elements like rope, anchors, and degrees to enhance the nautical feel.

7. Rose Compass Design

Rose Compass Design

As the name suggests, the design combines the two most popular tattoos – rose and compass. Roses symbolize love, and with a compass, they denote a passion for romance and a quest to find true love. 

8. Star Compass Design

Star Compass Design

A star compass is ideal for minimalist tattoo enthusiasts. It has a disciplined and sophisticated look, featuring long, triangular points with black accents to make a subtle 3D effect. 

9. Vintage Compass Design

Vintage Compass Design

If you have a passion for history, this design is for you. Those with a navy background will be able to associate the design with a symbol of protection.

10. Feet Compass Tattoo

Feet Compass Tattoo

You can pair a compass tattoo with an anchor on your feet. The design looks trendy and attractive yet simple. It represents your connection to the outdoors and your search for direction and purpose. 

11. Chest Compass Tattoo

Chest Compass Tattoo

Opting for a chest tattoo or a sternum tattoo provides a broad, flat canvas, allowing the tattoo artist to create a design with ease. It is one of the ideal compass tattoos for women who want to display a more detailed and extensive compass tattoo. A unique tattoo design idea for the chest is pairing the quote “not all those who wander are lost” with sparrows and a compass. 

12. Butterfly Compass Tattoo

Butterfly Compass Tattoo

A butterfly compass tattoo is a chic angle to the standard compass tattoo. The design encloses a compass in the wings of a majestic butterfly. It symbolizes the spirit of a woman to fly into the skies, following her heart and trusting her instincts. A great position for this tattoo design is the upper back. You can also check for other butterfly tattoo design ideas here.

13. Animal Compass Tattoo

Animal Compass Tattoo

You can pair the design of a compass with an animal like a turtle or lion. For instance, the turtle is a symbol of strength and stability. Enclosing a compass on the turtle’s body is an eye-catching design, also seen as a good luck charm.

14. Abstract Compass Tattoo

Abstract Compass Tattoo

An abstract compass tattoo looks great on the forearm. You can add an inspiration of the Viking’s traditional art form with a hollow sphere in the center to add a magical appeal. 

15. Back Ear Compass Tattoo

 Back Ear Compass Tattoo

Small tattoo designs etched behind the ear are a trendy treat. When it’s a compass, it symbolizes an empowering and liberating spirit. The design also represents the idea of finding one’s true north, or their authentic self, and staying true to their values and beliefs.

16. Lower Back Compass Tattoo

A compass tattoo tastefully filling your lower back defines your personality, your journey through life, and your ability to navigate through the ups and downs. You can customize the design and play with colors, add blue waves, or a watercolor map for a unique touch. 

17. Thigh Compass Tattoo

Thigh Compass Tattoo

Inking a compass on the thigh is an interesting way to flaunt your passion for adventure and travel. The thigh provides more space for the intricacies of the needles, directions, and other images. You can ink the latitudes and longitudes of a place that holds value in your life besides the compass for added charm. 

18. Elbow Compass Tattoo

Elbow Compass Tattoo

An elbow compass tattoo is ideal for people who want body art that stands out. You can get a star compass design as its circular shape with extended points suits the elbow’s structure. Feel free to merge Japanese tattoo styles with your compass.

19. Spiral Compass Design

Spiral Compass Design

This design has a compass with a direction star beneath. Its ideal placement is your arms or calves. You can also include a rope to go around the arm or calf. The spiral compass design is perfect for travelers who want to express their love for adventures. 

20. Geometric Compass Tattoo

You can create a fresh and futuristic look by adding geometric details to a tattoo. Geometric compass tattoos for women are the right choice who want a minimalist tattoo with an exciting and unusual vibe.

21. Dreamcatcher Compass Tattoo


The combination of a dreamcatcher and a compass is unique. The compass is fitted in the web of the dreamcatcher with spokes pointed at directions reflected in Roman numbers. 

22. White Compass Tattoo

White Compass Tattoo

The use of the color white for a compass tattoo makes it trendier. A simple compass design with two radars and a tiny silhouette of a plane is cool and classy. People with dusky skin can use this white tattoo style to flaunt their skin tone.

23. Broken Compass Tattoo

Broken Compass Tattoo

Getting a broken compass inked on your body symbolizes a turning point in your life. It can also serve as a tribute to a loved one who has passed away. 

24. Compass Clock Design

Compass Clock Design

A clock combined with a compass is a meaningful tattoo design. It reflects the passing of time and the fragility of life. Together with a compass, the design symbolizes guidance and life’s journey. Many women pair the design with arrows to showcase the journey of life as well as their perseverance to fulfill their goals.

25. Compass Crown Design

Compass Crown Design

A unique tattoo design is a compass paired with a crown. Crowns are symbolic of royalty and thus represent leadership, power, and authority. The compass crown tattoo is a bold and confident tattoo choice indicating that you are in control of your decisions and take charge of your destiny. You can also incorporate this in a king-queen couple tattoo.

What Makes Compass Tattoos A Popular Choice For Women?

“Not all those who wander are lost,”

The popular line from a J.R.R. Tolkien poem is often seen with a compass or map on posters, T-shirts, etc. because it symbolizes the spirit of travel enthusiasts and their quest to find their path back home or to a new destination. Thus, the compass and map symbolize protection, guidance, and direction. The most prominent meaning of a compass tattoo is related to traveling and direction. However, there is no commonality between what compass tattoos mean for two different people. 

Since compass tattoos have many meanings and ideas associated with them, they have become a popular option for women. Some choose the design to celebrate their journey toward self-discovery, while others use the compass as a symbol of their independence. They are meaningful and can be drawn in both intricate and minimalist ways. 

The freedom to pair compass tattoos with name tattoos, other images and make the design serve as powerful reminders is another reason for its popularity. You can add images like anchors, arrows, clocks, hourglasses, maps, ship wheels, roses, hearts, and more to bring out different meanings. 

How To Prepare For A Compass Tattoo?

The entire process can become more comfortable for you and your artist if you know what to do before your tattoo session. Let’s get started. 

Stay hydrated: Make sure your body is hydrated before you sit down for the procedure. Hydration keeps you healthy and reduces the chances of fluctuation in your blood pressure. Moreover, it prepares your skin for the tattoo session, making it soft and supple.

Sleep well: You wouldn’t want to fall asleep in the chair while your tattoo artist puts effort and detail into your tattoo. So get into bed earlier than your regular routine and get a good night’s sleep before your session.

Eat and bring snacks: You need plenty of energy while getting tattooed. A healthy and balanced meal will give your body the energy and healing power it requires to cope with the impact of the needle. We suggest you carry snacks to eat during your session, especially if you have low blood sugar levels. 

Dress appropriately: Remember to wear a comfortable outfit. Loose clothing will give your tattoo artist easy access to the area of your body you want to get tattooed. 

Tattoo numbing creams are a great way to get the tattoo that you desire without having to go through the pain.

Aftercare: How To Maintain Your Compass Tattoo?

If you don’t want to regret having a new tattoo, you must care for it appropriately. Follow these steps for quicker healing and long-lastingness of your tattoo. 

  • Make sure the artist covers the tattoo in a thin layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage. 
  • Keep the bandage on for 24 hours. Use antimicrobial soap and water to wash the tattoo gently. Do not rub a towel; only pat dry(2).
  • Take some petroleum jelly or antibacterial ointment and apply a layer on the tattoo twice a day. Do not wrap it in a bandage. 
  • Remember to wash the tattoo twice a day with soap and water and pat dry before applying the ointment again. 
  • Keep it moist by applying ointment or moisturizer frequently. 
  • Drink an adequate amount of water to keep your skin moisturized. 
  • Apply sunscreen, SPF 45 or higher, in the summer to keep the colors bright. 
  • Do not wear scratchy fabrics like wool which can damage the art.
  • Avoid excess weight loss or gain, as it can distort or stretch the tattoo. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a compass tattoo for women symbolize?

The compass tattoo is a symbol of direction, protection, and guidance. It is a prominent design in geometric and maritime body art. It can be a symbolic image, the sign of an explorer, or both. 

Where should I put my compass tattoo?

You can get a small compass tattoo on your wrist because you will always be able to see it. A compass also looks great on the foot as it symbolizes travel or behind your ear to represent an endless imagination. 

Is compass for women a good tattoo?

The compass is seen as a lucky tattoo symbol, especially for travelers. Getting the compass inked on your body is an act of faith and conviction that you will find your path when lost. 

What does a simple compass tattoo mean?

A simple compass tattoo for women combines crossed arrows with letters indicating north, south, east, and west. The design can reflect your commitment to staying true to yourself. It can also highlight the quest to find the right path in life and have a determined lifeline. 


Tattoos help demonstrate your interests, character, emotions, personality, and the stories close to your life. Compass tattoos are an excellent way to represent what’s important to you. You may choose a moral compass, a design that encourages you to move forward, or a compass that points back home. Ultimately, the tattoo can provide comfort and motivation when you need it the most. 

  1. Springer Nature Switzerland AG. (2023). Safety of tattoos and permanent make-up: a regulatory view. (Online). Available at
  2. Academia. (2023). Tattoo Placement and Attraction. (Online). Available at

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Gayatri is a writer who specializes in hair care, styling tips, skincare routines and latest health trends. Her expertise comes from professional training, extensive research, and a continuous quest for the latest trends and innovations. I believe that beauty and well-being are interconnected, and I aim to provide readers with holistic advice

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