Unlike most vampire-themed tattoos, Jacob’s Twilight tattoo evokes Native American mythology. The tattoo was designed by tattoo artist Lesza Snowdon and based on a story of the Quileute tribe. The image was used on merchandise without paying royalties to the Quileute people. As a result, many criticized the tattoo design as cultural appropriation. In addition, Quileute tribespeople noted that the design was based on a Haida tribal art style, confusing two distinct cultures.
The tattoo became popular in the early Twilight films, and it continued to cause controversy in the later films. Continuity errors pertaining to Jacob’s tattoo plagued the film series. In New Moon, the tattoo is on the top of his shoulder; in Eclipse, it extends down his arm.