To cover or not to cover?

BY Matt Vincenzino

{Digital Strategist / UX & UI Designer}

17 August 2017

Reading Time: 2 minutes

So it’s 8am, Monday morning, and it’s time to start the working week. Time to roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Unless you have tattoos, in that case should you roll those sleeves back down and hide any trace of visible ink?

You could argue that as time has passed on, tattoos are slowly being accepted more in the workplace. But there is still that grey area around whether you should or shouldn’t cover up. The question needs to be asked, do clients really give a damn?

Throughout my time as a designer, I have been exposed to hundreds of client meetings, ranging from sweet little old grandmothers and young testosterone driven teenagers, to the head honchos of multimillion dollar corporations.

During my early stints as a designer, I played it safe and suited up, making sure I looked like a good little Catholic boy and hiding any sign of my tattoos. But as time passed on, I thought to myself, why hide who I really am? Does it really matter to clients if I have ink on me?

With the old-school mentality that ‘only criminals have tattoos’ slowly fading away, I started testing my theory of ‘Do clients really care?’. I started wearing outfits that showed off my body art leading to some interesting results. Most clients didn’t seem to notice or care (I suspect they too had tattoos of their own). Others actually commented positively on them, asking the usual questions, ‘did it hurt?’ and ‘how long did it take?’. There were the occasional clients however, that kept glancing at my tattoos during a meeting. Whether admiring them or resenting them, I will never know.

In one of my more recent projects, I had the pleasure of working with a client who not only was unfazed with my tattoos, but actually insisted that they were a work of art and was very admiring of them.

Like with everything in life, there are going to be exceptions to this but from my experience, I think it’s safe to say that most clients are amazing and judge you on your work, not what you have on your body. I think it’s time for us, as the younger generation, to help further influence society into removing the stigma that has been placed on tattoos in the workforce.

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