Star Trek’s Design Influences.
Matt Jefferies, designer of the original Starship Enterprise, was less than complimentary when he saw its 24th-century incarnation in Star Trek: The Next Generation: “Gene asked me how I liked the show, and I said that he had taken the bridge of my ship and turned it into the lobby of the Hilton.” But throughout its 50-year history, Star Trek’s aesthetic has always moved with the times, assimilating current fashion trends and adapting basic designs to accommodate new ideas and new technologies.
In this episode of Primitive Culture, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Trek.fm Art Director Aaron Harvey, who also hosts our Star Trek: The Animated Series show Saturday Morning Trek, to talk about the design influences that have shaped the look of Star Trek over the course of half a century—from the sleek, contoured stylings of Kirk’s original Enterprise to the rough-and-ready look of the USS Discovery.
Matt Jefferies’s Aeronautical Influences (00:02:45)
Color in TOS (00:17:02)
The Motion Picture’s Sense of Scale (00:23:03)
Nick Meyer’s Gritty Rebranding (00:28:46)
Fan Designers and the USS Discovery (00:36:04)
The Enterprise-D (00:45:45)
Voyager’s Open-Plan Office (00:53:06)
Okudagrams and LCARS (00:54:54)
Deep Space Nine’s Alien Aesthetic (00:59:20)
Designing for Prequels (01:05:15)
Final Thoughts (01:15:04)
Tony Black (Editor) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)
Pandemics in Star Trek. We look at disease outbreaks on Federation worlds and beyond in relation to real-world plagues and pandemics, such as the Black Death to HIV.
Religion in Star Trek. We consider how the franchise’s presentation of faith and religious practice has changed over the course of half a century, and how our own beliefs have impacted our viewing.
Schooling in Star Trek. For Starfleet officers whose families have joined them in space, providing a well-rounded education can be a challenge. We take a look at how education is handled in Gene Roddenberry’s future.
Star Trek’s Fathers: the good, the bad, and the absent. We look at daddy issues throughout the franchise’s fifty-plus-year history.
Hitler’s British Isles and the Dominion takeover of Deep Space 9. We consider the parallels between the opening arc of DS9’s sixth season and the occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II.
Starfleet and the US Space Agency. We look at the developing relationship between real-world exploration and the famous science fiction franchise.
Shrinking Sci-Fi and DS9’s “One Little Ship.” We look at some examples of shrinking in Star Trek, comparing the franchise’s tiny people to those in science fiction cinema, such as The Incredible Shrinking Man and Fantastic Voyage.
Federation Politics in Star Trek. We’re joined by Keith DeCandido, author of Articles of the Federation, for a look at Star Trek’s political structures, the Federation Council, and its three on-screen presidents.
Star Trek and Fan Fiction. We consider Star Trek's role in the cultural phenomenon of fanfic, charting its development from the 'slash' stories of the 1970s through to the vast online archives of the twenty-first century.
Anne Frank and Counterpoint. We look at the influence of The Diary of Anne Frank on Star Trek’s screenwriters, considering how science fiction handles fascist and authoritarian regimes and the role played by ordinary people in resisting oppression.