Outline is a website for discovering tattoos and artists, whether in your local area or elsewhere in the world. Find inspiration and ideas for your next tattoo, or find the artist who will be designing it.
Created and maintained alongside my buddy Oz Hüner, I’ve led on design and front-end, with Oz working on all things back-end.
We figured we’d love to use a platform built around the brilliant, constantly updating content of Instagram, but properly curated, leaving only the best work… all of which is searchable with proper style categorisation, locations, and artist profiles.
Instagram really has developed into the portfolio platform of the modern tattoo artist. It’s the best platform out there for sharing work and building an audience.
Where Instagram fails is within discovery (both for people looking for a new tattoo, and artists themselves). It’s not built specifically for tattoos and artists , so will naturally have limitations in this area. You can hack a basic style search together using hashtags, but results are mixed. Location search is almost impossible, along with keyword/subject browsing.
All of this is what Outline improves and fixes.
If you create an account, you can also easily save your favourite tattoos, ideal for collating examples for your next tattoo artist.
We’ve got plans to add plenty more to Outline, whether it’s more discovery services or tools for artists. Right now however, we’re just looking to focus on growing our pool of content and making small but significant tweaks to the search tool. Literally every single artist has been curated by hand. While we will look to improve the quality of automated tools we have running on all our tattoos, ultimately our quality will always come through human curated content, which will constantly be added to.
While we always envisaged a close integration of Instagram within the product, the original conceptual work was the classic mistake of thinking too big (aka unfocused), basically including a small social network, and general reliance on critical mass. While artists would be able to import from Instagram, all content would be managed by artists and fans, instead of curation from "management".
Eventually we will look at providing more tools and power to artists and Outline accounts, but for now the focus is building the best online tattoo directory.
Essentially a mini social network. I also figured "collections" would be cool — photography focused posts filled with multiple shots and descriptive captions. But nobody got time for that.