Starfleet Decals - A Chronology of Starship Hull Markings
- Article and Diagrams by Stephen L.
This article is intended to show the progression of Starfleet symbols and hull registry markings throughout Starfleet's history, from it's inception to the timeframe of Star Trek: Nemesis.
The chronology will be divided by era, where significant changes in hull markings of Starfleet vessels have occurred. It will also be noted where changes in typeface have occurred. Note that the diagrams below aren't necessarily scaled with one another; the size was determined by the clarity of the diagram. All of the markings are vector drawings from Adobe Illustrator.
|"Enterprise" Era (2139-2160)|
first Starfleet starships displayed a hull typeface known as Machine
Extended. The registry number and the vessel name were among the
only identity markings on the vessels. The vessels did not display
the red striping that would become prominent on every other
Starfleet ship to come. The auxiliary vessels assigned to the ships
displayed a red stripe along their hulls. There was no common
Starfleet emblem on the ships at the time.
|Early Federation Era (2161-2244)|
the formation of the United Federation of Planets, Starfleet hull
markings were changed. The typeface was changed to Microgramma Bold
Extended. There was still no common Starfleet emblem for the ships,
such as the Daedalus Class markings shown here, but red striping was
prominent on the secondary hull and warp nacelles. Note that only
the term 'United Federation' was used rather than the UFP's
|"Original Series" Era (2245-2270)|
some point, by the time the first Constitution Class vessels were
built, the typeface on Starfleet ships reverted back to Machine
Extended. In addition to the now commonplace red striping, a
standard Starfleet symbol was introduced to starships and auxiliary
vessels. The symbol was a bent arrow shape, yellow-gold in color.
There was no reference to 'United Federation of Planets' on vessel
|Movie Era (2271-2339)|
2270s marked a time of extensive technological upgrades to
Starfleet. The outstanding success of the starship Enterprise led
Starfleet to utilize the Enterprise's symbol as the new symbol of
Starfleet Command. It was stylized with a circular disk; the shape
of starship saucer sections. A new typeface was developed to adorn
the new breed of vessels being produced and refit: Starfleet Bold
Extended. It was characterized as a variation on the Microgramma
font with an offset red outline. A modified Microgramma typeface was
used for other hull markings. The difference was the number '1'. A
shortened serif replaced the larger, regular one. The nacelle
markings were either right- or left-justified, rather than centered.
The Starfleet arrowhead was an orange color on the first vessels of
the 2280s, slight modifications to the hull markings of Starfleet
vessels could be seen. The main vessel name and registry were still
rendered in Starfleet Bold Extended, but some changes were made to
other vessel markings. On Miranda Class ships, the unmodified
Microgramma font was used for nacelle registries. Also, the nacelle
registry and UFP title were centered. The Starfleet emblem became a
pale gray color rather than the orange shade of the Constitution
Class There were only a few classes of ship that inverted the
aspect of the Starfleet emblem.
changes were again evident when the Excelsior Class Development
Program reached the trial-run stage. The saucer name and registry
remained Starfleet Bold Extended. The red striped pennants on the
side of the secondary hull had a small inner stripe, making it more
ornate than previous classes of vessels. The Starfleet arrowhead was
changed to a gray color and slightly tilted upward from horizontal.
The experimental markings of the Excelsior bore centered nacelle
registries with the UFP title on them. When the Excelsior's trial
runs were complete and she was a commissioned vessel, several yard
changes had taken place and some of the markings were adapted. The
nacelle registries now displayed the vessel name centered under the
|"Next Generation" Era (2340-2368)|
the mid 24th century, Starfleet was still using Starfleet Bold
Extended as the primary typeface for starship markings. The letter
'D' was altered to have serifs. There was a long hyphen from the
regular font that separated the prefix from the registry, and in the
specific case of the USS Enterprise, a shortened hyphen was used
between the registry and suffix. The Starfleet emblem was changed to
have an ellipse instead of the circular disk used previously. The
ellipse reflected the primary hull shape of vessels designed in this
era. The first known use of the elliptical symbol was for the Galaxy
Class Development Project logo, begun in 2340. As ship hulls were designed more contoured than before, pylon
registry markings, still using the modified Microgramma font, were
slanted left or right to accentuate the sweeping contours of the
Starfleet vessels eventually changed the Starfleet striping from a
diverging striped pennant to a parallel style. In the case of the
Danube Class Runabouts in particular, the ship's name was placed
within the stripe. Both the name and registry were rendered in
Microgramma Bold Extended, more common with smaller vessels.
|"DS9/Voyager" Era (2369-2379)|
the late decades of the century, the Starfleet pennant was altered
once more. This update accompanied a change in Starfleet uniform and
communicator design. A touch of nostalgia seems to have set in. The
same Starfleet arrowhead, begun with vessels in the 2270s remained,
but the disk was discarded and the emblem was colored yellow, an
homage to the yellow-gold Starfleet arrow shape of the previous
century. The red stripe remained two parallel lines. With some
vessels, the only typeface used on the starship exterior was
Microgramma Bold Extended.
this time, some vessels did retain the use of the red-outlined
Starfleet Bold Extended font for the ship's registry. Registries
sometimes were now within the red striping in the Microgramma font.
With most late century classes of starship, the vessel's name was
rendered in Microgramma.
exception to the starship markings of the period, the prototype for
the Prometheus Class displayed a Starfleet symbol quite unlike its contemporaries.
The symbol was a very stylized Starfleet arrowhead, entirely red,
with parallel red stripes. The ship name was rendered in
Microgramma, but the registry did not use Starfleet Bold
Extended. It was the Microgramma typeface with the familiar red
outline applied to the former registry font. It is unclear if other vessels
commissioned after this one will follow this scheme, or if the USS
Prometheus is unique.
Early Federation Era:
Amarillo USAF (Left) Machine Ext. (Right)
Original Microgramma "1" (Left) Modified Microgramma "1" (Right)
Original Starfleet Bold Ex. "D" (Left) Modified Starfleet Bold Ex. "D" (Right)
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