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)
Time Loops in Star Trek. We consider the role of time loops, both within the Star Trek universe and beyond, and explore the darker issues at play when the loops begin to unravel.
The X-Files and Star Trek. In a Halloween special, we explore connections between these two long-running sci-fi franchises.
The Federation’s Field of Dreams. We discuss baseball in Star Trek and why it’s such a good fit for storytelling in Gene Roddenberry’s universe.
Star Trek and Allegory. We look at the relationship between Star Trek and allegory—on screen and off—from the 1960s to present day.
Star Trek and Epic Heroes. We look at Star Trek’s engagement with epic narratives Beowulf and the Epic of Gilgamesh, and how Starfleet heroes compare with their ancient forbears.
Star Trek’s Design Influences. We look at how the franchise’s style has shifted over the course of its half a century, from the sleek, contoured lines of Kirk’s original Enterprise to the rough-and-ready look of the USS Discovery.
Star Trek and Action Movies. “The Cage” was rejected for being too cerebral, but that didn't stop it from delivering thoughtful commentary. We look at how Trek has incorporated action tropes over the years without giving up what makes it unique.
The French Resistance and Star Trek’s Maquis. We look at the legacy of World War II resistance fighters and how the writers of Deep Space Nine transferred our own history to the caves of Bajor.
Shakespeare and Star Trek, Part II. We conclude our two-part episode on Star Trek’s debt to the Bard with a look at the Next Generation era.
Music and Characters. Recorded at London’s Royal Festival Hall, Duncan Barrett is joined by Clara Cook to discuss live performance in Star Trek and the importance of music in a technologically sophisticated future.