Choose a few symbols. Once you have the style, the theme, and the message in mind, you should pick out some symbols to add meaning to the overall design. For example, if you love the ocean and wanted to get a tribal style tattoo that represented heartbreak, you might think about incorporating symbols such as hearts, wilting roses, a shipwrecked boat, a broken anchor, waves crashing into a heart-shaped rock, etc.
It's true that some timeless designs can be mistaken as cliché, even though I personally wouldn't consider them to be basic. Roses, doves, and literary text tattoos are pretty common, but no two designs ever have to look exactly the same. Your ideas combined with your tattoo artist's vision will usually result in a unique piece of art, even if you're not the only one with an anchor etched onto your skin. Besides, a tattoo's meaning varies from one person to another. That alone will guarantee your tat to be an original.
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