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STAR TREK DAY - The Starfleet Symbol

Happy STAR TREK DAY everybody!

I've been thinking alot today about all the things I love in STAR TREK. The adventures, stories, the characters, settings & ships, and of course - the costumes. 

And worn on nearly every Starfleet Uniform we see is my favorite shape in this world - The Starfleet Symbol.

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A stylized delta - it’s derived from a combination of the vector component of the original NASA "Meatball" logo & the 1961 USAF Space Command insignia. 

The Starfleet Starship Duty Insignia worn in STAR TREK: The Original Series was created by costume designer William Ware Theiss & production designer Matt Jefferies with input from producer Bob Justman & series creator Gene Roddenberry. 

The delta, sometimes referred to as "The Flying A" by the show's producers and “The Arrowhead” by Bill Theiss - has evolved into a beloved symbol that today represents the entire STAR TREK Universe.

Originally, the delta conveyed information about the wearer’s duties aboard ship using a series of division symbols. 

When paired with a distinctive, elongated “star” the insignia represents someone assigned to the Command division aboard ship. 

When it displays the “planet” symbol, it represents the Sciences division.  

A stylized “e” stands for Engineering (later Operations), a red “Swiss Cross” is worn by starship personnel assigned to the Nursing Corps, while a block letter “C” stood for “Cadet” and was only seen in “The Cage.” 

I've worn the Starfleet Insignia in one form or another almost every day of my life since the age of four.

And in 2007 I had it tattooed on my left arm (it can truly be said that I wear my heart on my sleeve). I doodle it during long meetings, I see it in cloud formations, and I had one in my pocket the time I broke the sound barrier. I took a look around my house this morning and tried to count all the Starfleet deltas I found. I lost count.

In all the versions of that shape seen in the over fifty four years of the franchise, I have a clear favorite. 

I still love the one designed by John Eaves for GENERATIONS, and the one Rick Sternbach & Michael Okuda helped Bill Theiss with for TNG. I love the design that Robert Fletcher & Mike Minor came up with for STAR TREK II: The Wrath of Khan. And I love the version made by Mario Moreira and his prop team for DISCOVERY, and on and on.  

But, all of those designs are based upon the original. 

Worn week after week for seventy nine episodes, the Original Starfleet Insignia Patch is hands down my favorite version of the symbol. 

There's something so appealing about its shape, and satisfying in it's tactile form. It is a symbol I enjoy looking at, and something I enjoy wearing even more.

So yeah, I wear Starfleet deltas, alot. 

That symbol projects hope and the determination that our future will be better than our now. It also invites comment, conversation, and comradely. It conveys a little bit about myself to those who recognize it. 

I suppose it says "I like Star Trek'', and asks "Do you like Star Trek Too?" Friendships have started over the shared recognition of that shape, and that's really what STAR TREK is all about isn't it? To seek out new friends? That's one way to interpret Captain Kirk's invocation, and a great symbol to have on STAR TREK DAY!


John Cooley 
John Cooley is a writer based in Las Vegas, and a product developer for ANOVOS.  

John Cooley September 08, 2020 0 tags (show)