Before starting to think about a tattoo design, it is important to consider the five essential elements of a tattoo, namely: placement, size, color, and style.
Where you decide to place the tattoo is very important because it will affect all other aspects of the tattoo. Certain parts of your body allow the tattoo design to flow and appear more aesthetically pleasing than others, and it is often the most "desired" body parts that are the most difficult or uncomfortable to inscribe. In general, tattoos that are done on skin closer to the bone are more painful than tattoos done on skin that lies above other body tissues. Additionally, it is important to note that some skin is more likely to stretch or distort throughout your lifetime. Try to place tattoos on areas that will have minimal wear and tear.
There is a multitude of different proportions depending upon the amount of detail that you want and what part of your body the tattoo is being done on. For people looking to get their first tattoo, a smaller size is suggested because of the variable level of commitment that most first-timers have. Having a less significant tattoo means that people who regret their decision can "take it back" and go through the tattoo removal process, which is much easier and less painful with modest designs.
Tattoos can have between one and a hundred different colors within the design. It is up to the individual to decide what they want to create and the tattoo's level of artistic quality. More colors will obviously be more expensive than less colors, but the variability can off more uniqe and detailed designs. There is virtually no limitation to the colors you can create. The standard color used in most tattoos is black though those designs may appear less ornate. If you are considering multiple tattoos using only black creates a uniform color scheme.
Even greater variation of design comes from the style of the tattoo. Different tattoo artists have their own styles but if you design the tattoo yourself it can be more reflective of the personal meaning behind the tattoo. Think about what you want your tattoo to represent and how that may be done using a unique style. Also, remember that even if a design doesn't convey a the same meaning to everyone, it is more important that the tattoo conveys the right meaning to you. After all, it will be a permanent part of you physically, if not spiritually.