Whether you own a tattoo studio or work for one, you will deal with a lot of tattoo release forms each year. These legally required documents have to be signed before anyone gets a professional tattoo in the US, and failing to issue them could cost you your job or license. Drafting legally binding documents may seem more daunting than getting inked at first, but creating a high-quality tattoo release form is simple when you download our professional Tattoo Release Form Template. It is easy to use and customize and can help you draft a custom document for your clients in no time. Read on, and we’ll explain everything you need to know, plus offer some helpful tips and tricks along the way.
What Is a Tattoo Release Form?
A tattoo release form is a standard document legally required before getting a tattoo. This form asks for basic information like your identity and a few important health questions. It also includes other vital information like what tattoo you are getting, where it will be on your body, and often who your artist is. Because the legal requirements vary slightly from state to state, some documents are more extensive than others, but they all have the same effect: obtaining legal permission and consent to give the subject a tattoo.
Fun Fact: Did you know roughly 30% of American adults have tattoos? Women get slightly more tattoos than men at about 31% versus men’s 27%. If you’re wondering how the math for that works, it’s because there are more women than men.
Why Is a Tattoo Release Form Important?
A tattoo release form is important because of the legal requirement, but there’s more to it than that. These documents record an agreement to alter someone’s skin in a decorative and permanent manner. Additionally, they contain crucial information that helps the artist do their job. Here are all the reasons you need a Tattoo Release Form:
- They are legally required in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. You cannot have a tattoo without signing this form.
- They tell the artist what tattoo to draw and where it will sit on the body, significantly impacting how they compose the initial drawing.
- These forms ask relevant health questions. While this might not seem like a big deal, it can tell the artist things they need to know, especially in rare cases when an existing health condition indicates a need to refuse service.
- The tattoo release form is a legal record that tattoo shops have to keep in order to remain in business.
- They protect the artist, studio, and subjects’ rights.
- They ensure the subject is aware of the risks they assume when they agree to receive a tattoo, which includes the critical fact that the artist cannot guarantee the outcome. For example, people move unexpectedly, and everyone heals differently.
Important Note: Minors cannot legally get tattoos anywhere in the USA. Even emancipated minors and those with parental permission are barred from this practice.
Essential Elements of a Tattoo Release Form
The essential elements of a Tattoo Release Form help establish and record informed consent. It releases the tattoo artist and studio from liability when filled out completely and honestly. Here is what you need to have in a Tattoo Release Form:
- Document Title: Clearly identify the form as a Tattoo Release Form at the top. Doing this helps with recordkeeping and shows the reader what they are signing.
- Studio Name and Contact Information: Provide the name and contact details of the tattoo studio for identification and easy communication.
- Client Name and Information: It is vital to record the client’s full name, contact information, date of birth for age verification, and other vital details.
- Tattoo Design Description: Here, you should describe the tattoo design and style, including any specific details, symbols, or references involved.
- Placement on Body: Including the intended placement of the tattoo on the client’s body helps identify the work for reference if necessary.
- Size and Color(s): Provide sections to note the tattoo’s desired size and color(s), ensuring accurate replication of the client’s preferences.
- Relevant Health Information Questions: In this section, you must include a series of questions about the client’s relevant health history, allergies, medications, or any medical conditions that may impact the tattooing process for their safety.
- Release and Acknowledgments: Add a statement where the client acknowledges and accepts the risks of getting a tattoo, confirming their understanding and acceptance of those risks.
- Client Signature and Date Line: Provide a space for the client to sign the form, indicating their consent and agreement to the terms.
- Tattoo Artist/Studio Representative Signature and Date Line: This is an area for the tattoo artist or a studio representative to sign and date the form.
- Reminder: At the bottom, include a reminder for the client to retain a copy of the signed Tattoo Release Form for their records.
Pro Tip: Consider adding aftercare instructions and recommendations for what to do before you get tattooed on your document. Doing this will help your clients prevent infection and other common issues.
How to Write a Tattoo Release Form
Writing a tattoo release form is more than just having a good template and putting in your information. Here are some tips and tricks for making your document better:
- Customize your template to fit your studio’s aesthetic. A more visually dynamic form will impress customers.
- Get familiar with local laws or consult an attorney to ensure your document is legally compliant.
- Keep up with changes in your industry and relevant health-related information so you can adapt your tattoo release form over time.
- Always reread and edit your form before printing copies. Proper spelling, grammar, and information are crucial.
- Keep your tone professional throughout the document.
- Review and revise your release form at least once a year or anytime industry standards change.
Helpful: It’s important to balance legal protection and client comprehension. Keeping people engaged in the paperwork is tricky. To combat this, some studios and artists incorporate creative and visually appealing graphic elements into the form to help people focus and retain vital information better. Another option is to add interactive elements like dropdown menus on digital forms if you schedule appointments online.
A properly written, legally compliant tattoo release form does help protect artists. It contains all the necessary information for clients to make an informed, risk-aware decision and give their consent to the tattoo process. Moreover, these documents are a record that can be used as evidence in case there is a dispute later.
People who are underage or lack the legal capacity to provide informed consent cannot sign a Tattoo Release Form. This typically includes minors below the legal age requirement for tattooing and individuals who may have impaired judgment due to mental incapacity or intoxication. Tattoo release forms are only valid when signed by consenting, sober adults who do not have health conditions that would otherwise prevent safe tattooing, such as keloids or anemia.
Having a tattoo release form for your studio isn’t optional; it’s a legal necessity. These essential documents record the agreement between the client and artist or studio to show that all parties were properly informed and consented to engage in this unique and permanent self-decorative process. The specific requirements vary throughout the US and the world, but all tattoo release forms seek to establish informed consent. Using our professionally designed Tattoo Release Form Template can help you make an outstanding and legally effective document for your clients to sign so you can operate with peace of mind and focus on the art.