The Emblems of the Federation Founding Members
The United Federation of Planets (UFP) was purportedly founded in 2161 by four planetary civilizations: Earth, Vulcan , Andor(ia) and Tellar. In the TNG era, we customarily see the symbols of the UFP or of Starfleet. The individual emblems of the founding members or of other member planets (150 according to Picard in "Star Trek: First Contact") appear only occasionally.
The idea of a United Earth logo dates back to the first Star Trek pilot episode "The Cage", but it reappeared only infrequently. The more prominent Vulcan IDIC, on the other hand, only gradually earned the status of a symbol to represent the whole Vulcan civilization. Aside from fan designs, an official Andorian emblem was created as late for Star Trek Enterprise, whereas it took until Discovery for the Tellarites to finally get their own emblem.
Our article investigates the evolution of the canon emblems of the four founding member planets of the UFP and identifies all notable variations, as well as related symbols.
United Earth - USS Enterprise
In the very first Star Trek pilot episode, "The Cage", set in 2254, we can see an emblem on the jumpsuits worn by several low-ranking crew members and by Doctor Boyce and Transporter Chief Pitcairn. An Earth map, which depicts just the Western Hemisphere with North and South America, is surrounded by two golden olive branches unlike any of the earlier or later in-universe versions. The symbol is supplemented with the ship's name "USS Enterprise". It looks like everything is just printed or even painted on the uniform fabric. We can also see the symbol on an old-fashioned clipboard that Pike uses a couple of times in the episode.
The same North and South America logo as in "The Cage" is visible on a paper cup in sickbay in TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", which will also appear in several regular TOS episodes but probably without the logo. The layout is the same as in the first pilot, only the colors are different. Earth's continents and the lettering are now blue, while the olive branches are golden or orange. Most likely the cups were made for "The Cage" but did not make it into the episode. The clipboard with the logo from "The Cage" also returns, during the crew briefing and on Delta Vega.
The geocentric logo does not appear in further TOS episodes, owing to the fact that the Federation is supposed to be an interplanetary organization. However, the design will be picked up for a UESPA patch in Star Trek Enterprise (see below).
United Earth - Khitomer Conference
In the meeting hall during the Khitomer Conference in "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country" there are five spectator sections for different groups of delegates. On the far left we can see the delegation of the Earth. All delegates wear civilian clothing with a green sash. The script for the film states:
CAMERA PANS TO REVEAL POD # 3 with the KLINGON DELEGATION (BROWN?), Lead by their AMBASSADOR and POD # 4 EARTH (GREEN) DELEGATION emerging and taking their places ... the Klingon and UFP PRESIDENTS, complete with ADVISORS, RETINUIES, ENTOURAGES and ATTENDANTS. FLAGS everywhere ...
The second audience area from the left is Klingon, all with red sashes. The middle rank is occupied by the Vulcan delegation (and with the Romulan ambassador, probably as Sarek's guest), who wear yellow sashes. The fourth section from the left is for various alien Federation members, all wearing blue sashes. In the fifth area, finally, there are Starfleet officers and other alien Federation delegates. Again, these wear blue sashes.
Behind the delegates there are large emblems of each delegation on the doors and walls. On the far left, behind the human delegation, we can see a logo on the wooden wall, which is supposed to represent United Earth. Next to it is the Klingon logo, the Vulcan logo (IDIC) and the Federation logo. In addition, we can see several flags with the various logos mentioned above, including two different flags of United Earth.
The big United Earth logo in the background consists of a green circle with a white planet and a sun rising behind it. The planet includes a coordinate grid. The outer edge of the circle and the continents are brown. These do not correspond to actual continents on earth. However, the fact that the logo is behind the human delegation and that the script identifies it as such is clear evidence that this is the United Earth logo in 2293.
In addition to the big logo, there is a flag which was auctioned off a few years ago, so we could have a better look at it on this occasion. In the area next to the flagpole, there is a white triangle in which the aforementioned logo is placed. Here the planet is blue and the continents and coordinate lines are white. The rising sun is yellow and is in front of a light blue sky. The frame of the circular logo is as blue as the oceans of the planet. The rest of the flag is divided into an upper red and lower blue half. Overall, this looks much like the flag of the Philippines, only with the upper and lower half switched. (The war flag of the Philippines actually has red on the top.) In the movie we only see this flag once in an outside shot of Khitomer. It waves at the bottom of the picture in the distance, behind a railing. In the making-of video, however, we can recognize that this flag, just like the other ones in the outdoor shot, also reappear inside the building.
Besides the "Philippines" flag, we can see a banner with the logo inside the conference room, which is more prominent in the film. This banner has a yellow horizontal stripe at the top. Below is a large light green area and then a large dark green area. In the middle of the banner we can see a yellow stripe with narrow black stripes. The logo, which looks the same as on the previously described flag, is centered on this middle vertical stripe at the top of the large green field.
The "planet and sun" logo was only seen in "Star Trek VI" and never reappeared after that.
Fake "President of Earth" emblem
More on a side note, when Voyager's Doctor poses as the "President of Earth" in the Captain Proton program in VOY: "Bride of Chaotica!", he wears a badge with a stylized depiction of Earth and the letters "President of Earth". Its olive branches were directly derived from the Federation emblem.
United Earth or UESPA - Friendship One
A United Earth Space Probe Agency (UESPA) logo can be seen on the hull of the space probe Friendship One (launched in 2067) in VOY: "Friendship One". The logo consists of a horizontal arrowhead, which is blue in contrast to the later red or yellow incarnations on Starfleet vessels. Inside the arrowhead we can make out a stylized Earth map with all continents in white and blue oceans. It is enclosed by two white olive branches, just like today's UN emblem and the later Federation emblem.
Actually, as the probe passes by on the screen, while the lettering is the right way, we are shown a mirror image of the emblem, with Asia being left of Africa. (What looks like West Africa is actually Eurasia!) In the same episode, we can also see the logo on a screen aboard USS Voyager where all continents are as they should be. A variation of the UESPA logo in gray can be seen on the hull of Friendship One, on the hull extension below the colorful version. This one too is mirror-inverted. The UESPA was mentioned in TOS and then silently vanished in favor of Starfleet as the Federation's only organization for space exploration. In Voyager, UESPA is retroactively defined as some sort of precursor to Starfleet.
UESPA - 602 Club
A new UESPA emblem appears in the form of a patch (besides the separate patch of Earth Starfleet) in the 602 Club in ENT: "First Flight" in the 2140s. It is blue, with North and South America and lettering in black, similar to the one of the two TOS pilot episodes. It will be the only appearance of this patch, which is obviously designed as a visual and textual link to TOS.
A new UESPA symbol that can be seen on a floor in Starfleet Command in ENT: "Demons" does not include an Earth map any longer but is essentially an Earth Starfleet logo, whose text and colors were modified, and the stars in the upper border were removed. The lettering "Starfleet Command - United Earth Space Probe Agency" indicates that Starfleet and the UESPA may be the same organization at that time.
United Earth - ENT season 4
The United Earth emblem of Star Trek Enterprise does not appear until the fourth season of the show (set in 2154). It includes one olive branch that closely resembles the doubled version on the later Federation seal. The inside shows a map of Earth, in a somewhat strange projection which compresses all continents in one round hemisphere. The olive branch and the continents are colored golden, as opposed to the white of the present-day UN emblem, whereas the oceans are blue. The emblem is visible outside and inside the embassy building in ENT: "The Forge". It is also shown on a lectern in ENT: "Home" and on an ID card in ENT: "Demons" (which was not recognizable in the episode though).
In ENT: "The Forge", we can see white flag-like sheets with the seal in the center covering the coffins of the victims of the embassy bombing on Vulcan. Another variant of the flag of United Earth that appears in ENT: "Demons" is made of a gray cloth. On both color variations, there are two horizontal lines of golden leaves, obviously repeating the basic pattern of the olive branch.
United Earth Diplomatic Corps
The embassy personnel in ENT: "The Forge" can be seen wearing shoulder patches. It consists of the United Earth emblem with an additional text "United Earth Diplomatic Corps" in the place of the later second olive branch.
The racist organization "Terra Prime" makes use of the same depiction of Earth (here in green on black) as United Earth in its logo, however, inside a blue triangle and without an olive branch (ENT: "Demons" and "Terra Prime").
United Earth - Discovery
The symbols of the four founding member planets appear in DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?", including the one of Earth. We can see the Earth emblem on a transparent display in front of the building in Paris and on a flag inside the conference room (both times it's the first on the left). At the first glance, the emblem looks like in the fourth season of Star Trek Enterprise, but there are some changes. Not all continents are compressed into a circle, but we mainly see the Western Hemisphere (a bit like in TOS), with just a small portion of Africa and most of Europe. Antarctica is not visible. The single olive branch, on the other hand, is much like in Enterprise. Overall, it looks like this emblem was designed as an intermediate step between Enterprise and TOS.
Vulcan IDIC symbol
The Vulcan symbol, the IDIC ("Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations"), was created as late as for TOS: "Is There in Truth No Beauty?", as a badge and a pendant worn by Spock. A couple of months before the episode aired, the pendant was already advertised for sale by Lincoln Enterprises in the Inside Star Trek newsletter.
The IDIC symbol does not appear in any later episode of TOS or TAS. In "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" the logo is nowhere to be seen either, neither during the scenes on Vulcan, nor on the hull of the Vulcan warp shuttle. At this time, it seems IDIC symbolizes the logical principle, rather than the planet.
In "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" and "Star Trek: The Search for Spock" we can see the IDIC in the form of a metallic wall decoration in Spock's quarters on the USS Enterprise.
Although the beginning of "Star Trek: The Voyage Hone" takes place on Vulcan, no IDIC can be seen here either. We can see the symbol again several years later in "Unification II", here on the cover of a Vulcan book. The IDIC also appears on the hull of the starship T'Pau. It is clearly visible on the only known photo of the model in its original configuration, and faintly in the footage since the HD version of TNG is available.
Soon after this TNG episode, "Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country" was released. In this film we can see the IDIC symbol as a large wall decoration, as well as a Vulcan flag and a Vulcan banner at Camp Khitomer. A good photo of the flag is available since an auction a couple of years ago.
Chronologically, the symbol is seen the next time in the DS9 episode "Vortex". Here it adorns the back wall of the bridge of the Vulcan science ship T'Vran.
In TNG: "Gambit II", we can see the Stone of Gol. According to the sketch by Rick Sternbach, this artifact includes, when fully assembled, the IDIC symbol. Here the IDIC is the "symbol of peace" mentioned in the episode, which is located between the symbols for war and death (both personified by Vulcan gods). In the episode only the lower part of the stone is clearly visible, we can't recognize the IDIC.
In the DS9 episode "The Maquis I" we can see a label with the IDIC symbol for the first time. It is visible on a bottle of Vulcan port wine. The same yellowish label later appears (somewhat enlarged) on a cargo container in DS9: "Hard Time". In the same episode, another Vulcan label can be seen on a cargo container, which shows up again in "Who Mourns for Morn?".
The Voyager episode "Meld" shows a large wall decoration with Vulcan writing in Tuvok's office. The central portion of this wall decoration is inspired by the IDIC. In many later Voyager episodes, namely "Death Wish", "Investigations", "Fair Trade", "Hunters" and "Retrospect", Tuvok's office still features this wall decoration.
In DS9: "For the Cause" we can see the docking hatch of a Vulcan freighter with a large IDIC symbol.
In VOY: "Flashback" there are Vulcan "building bricks" (called Keethera). Some of these blocks have the IDIC. In "Riddles" such a block is visible again.
One of the most noteworthy appearances of the symbol is in DS9: "Take Me Out to the Holosuite". Here, the Vulcan crew of the USS T'Kumbra with their baseball team, the Logicians, play against the crew of DS9. The Vulcan jerseys display the IDIC. A red pennant with the IDIC was also created for the episode. In the aired episode, however, we only see one corner of the pennant, but it is clearly the characteristic IDIC, as ultimately evidenced by the picture of the prop in the auction catalogue.
In VOY: "Riddles", we can see a red Vulcan banner with the IDIC symbol in sickbay.
Finally, in VOY: "Endgame", we can see some notes of Tuvok, which in addition to Vulcan characters also include the IDIC.
In Enterprise, the IDIC symbol appears in several episodes. For the first time, it shows up in ENT: "The Andorian Incident" in the Vulcan monastery on P'Jem. Here, we can spot it above a large archway in the entrance area of the monastery. Also on tokens, on the stone of J'Kah and on the forehead of a wall relief there are stylized versions of the logo.
In ENT: "Breaking the Ice" (and once again in "The Seventh") the logo appears in the upper left corner of T'Pol's screen when she receives encoded messages.
On the child's drawing of T'Pol in "Breaking the Ice" the IDIC is part of the Vulcan's uniform.
The Vulcan wall decoration from Tuvok's office appears without changes in "Fusion", on the Vulcan ship Vahklas. We can also see the Vulcan wall decoration with the IDIC symbol in "Stigma", but now in at least two versions. There is now at least one variant of the wall decoration, which also acts as a candleholder. In addition, there is a frosted glass with the IDIC in the episode.
In ENT: "Future Tense", the IDIC symbol can be seen as a part of the temporal data in Daniels's quarters.
Most notably on Enterprise, the IDIC can be seen several times in the Vulcan-centered 3-parter in the fourth season of Enterprise. In "The Forge", we can see the logo in the form of a medallion containing a holoprojector. The same medallion later shows up in "Terra Prime".
Surak's "katric ark" from the same episode "The Forge" also features a stylized IDIC in the chest area. In the following two episodes, "Awakening" and "Kir'Shara", the wall decoration, which originally came from Tuvok's office, can be seen again in several versions. Even a mural depicting the sun rising behind Mount Seleya seems to imitate the IDIC (or vice versa, the IDIC might be inspired by a sunrise in the mountains).
In J.J. Abrams's "Star Trek (2009)", the IDIC also appears in several places. An IDIC is hinted at on the floor of a "skill dome" at the Vulcan Learning Center. Also, in the Katric Ark there are several IDIC symbols as part of the cave wall decoration or on statues. Last but not least, the cockpit of the Vulcan Jellyfish starship quite clearly evokes the IDIC symbol with the arrangement of the triangular pilot's chair and the round cockpit window.
In Discovery, an IDIC can be seen in several episodes. In "The Vulcan Hello" and "Battle at the Binary Stars", the skill domes of the Vulcan Learning Center reappear. Again, the arrangement of the floor imitates the IDIC. In Burnham's quarters on the USS Shenzhou there is a Vulcan diploma or a certificate of the Vulcan Science Academy with an IDIC symbol. In the flashback in DIS: "Lethe", Burnham wears an IDIC badge after graduating from the Vulcan Science Academy.
We can also see the IDIC placed on the Kir'Shara-like artifcat in Spock's cave in DIS: "Light and Shadows".
In DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?", the emblems of all four founding members of the Federation are on display in front of the UFP Headquarters in Paris. The IDIC symbol is the second on the right. Later in the episode, we can also see the four respective flags. It is easy to see that the brown flag with the orange symbol has to be the Vulcan IDIC flag.
Vulcan V'Shar logo
Although Andorians appeared in the first season of Enterprise and play a prominent role, it should not be until the third season until the Andorians received their own logo in ENT: "Proving Ground". This logo would only be seen one more time in Enterprise, in ENT: "Kir'Shara".
In "Proving Ground" we can see the Andorian logo for the first time. It consists of circles and crescents. This logo appears as a large wall version in the upper part of the bridge of Shran's ship. A slightly less colorful variation is used as a communication graphic when Shran communicates with Andor. Both variants of the logo have Andorian characters.
In "Kir'Shara" the Andorian logo appears for the second time, on a Vulcan screen next to numerous Andorian characters.
In the Discovery episode "Will You Take My Hand?" the Andorian emblem appears for the first time in 13 years. It can be seen in front of the Federation building in Paris, together with the logos of the three other Federation founding members. The Andorian emblem is the first one on the right. Later in the episode, the Andorian flag is seen for the first time. The flag is a bit better visible in behind-the-scenes footage.
Other Andorian symbols or script
Besides the emblem, Enterprise shows Andorian sets and props on several occasions. But the distinct Andorian script only exists since "Cease Fire".
In the first season we can see several different Andorian consoles. In "The Andorian Incident", for instance, there is an Andorian scanner console. It has blue buttons and a blue display, but there are no symbols or characters except for a few circles. It is obvious that no Andorian script has been developed at this time.
In "Shadows of P'Jem", another console with a slightly more complex design shows up. Just as in "The Andorian Incident", we can see a blue design with dark diagonal and horizontal lines. Instead of the simple few spheres, there are now more complex, differently sized spherical and ring-shaped symbols, some of which are strung together like pearls on a string. However, the characteristic Andorian script is still missing.
"Cease Fire" features a large, flat console, which shows a map. Here we can see Andorian characters for the first time. This prop was sold in two parts by "It's a Wrap". It is easy to see that the design has little in common with the previous Andorian consoles.
In the same episode, however, we can see the boxy console again that was created for "The Andorian Incident". The lower half of the display with the circle, in which there are dark lines and blue fields, seems to be identical. However, the upper part of the display has been changed. It now seems to depict something like a map (similar to the big screen), with Andorian characters. The console was auctioned by Christie's.
Another console seen in the prolific episode "Cease Fire", but without a display, previously appeared in "The Andorian Incident", but as a Vulcan console.
Also in "Cease Fire", a scanner/PADD appears. In the episode itself, the display is not recognizable, but It's a Wrap has auctioned the prop and we can clearly make out Andorian characters on the photo, plus what looks like an early version of the Andorian logo with circles and crescents. However, it is also possible that this graphic was added to a later re-use.
At the end of "Cease Fire", we are shown a bottle of Andorian ale. While the drink should be seen more frequently in later episodes (and the color changes from brown to blue), this bottle design would only be seen here. The purple bottle too shows Andorian characters, as seen on the flat console in this episode. The letters are much better visible on the replica of the bottle.
In "Shadows of P'Jem", we already saw a bottle of Andorian Ale. This one was brown, completely differently shaped and seemed to have no label.
Various static consoles were created for "Proving Ground". These contain design elements from both previous console designs. So they have circles and rings of different sizes, like the console in "Shadows of P'Jem", as well as Andorian characters, like the consoles in "Cease Fire". New are the rows of crescents and circles that line up. These mimic the Andorian logo, which was newly created for the latter episode. So, one can say that the new console designs both pick up the consoles from the previous two episodes and add new details.
"Proving Ground" also shows numerous characteristic wall stickers, which contain Andorian characters, crescents and balls. There are also two bowl-shaped structures bearing stickers with Andorian spherical symbols (as in "Shadows of P'Jem"), on the left and right next to the captain's chair. There are also animated wall displays, but they are never clearly visible. It seems that these are large, animated Andorian crescents.
"Proving Ground" briefly shows an Andorian PADD, similar to one that was auctioned off.
Andorian characters can also be seen in the data about the Xindi weapon that Shran transfers to Archer.
"It's a Wrap" auctioned off an "Andorian banner" from "Proving Ground". However, this banner is almost unrecognizable in the episode, as it is hidden behind a milky plastic cover.
Finally, in "Proving Ground", blue Andorian ale appears in a new bottle for the first time. The new bottle has no Andorian characters, but the "label" on the bottleneck is reminiscent of Andorian displays or the Andorian logo.
In "Zero Hour" we are shown the bridge of Shran's ship again. The design of the consoles and stickers has not changed. The Andorian logo is not visible this time.
In "Kir'Shara", we can see a large animated display on Shran's ship, which has characteristic Andorian shapes, and a new console, on whose back there is a large sticker with buttons. The displays on this new console show both Andorian characters and the series of crescents imitating the logo.
An Andorian PADD can also be seen in "Kir'Shara" The design is identical to the PADD from "Proving Ground", but the display has been changed.
In "Babel One", the bridge of Shran's ship is destroyed. Several well-known Andorian consoles show up again. One display is shown up close. We can recognize all elements of the characteristic Andorian console design. There is, however, a second, new console on the bridge, which seems little Andorian with its hexagonal control panels and unknown characters. We suspect that another alien console has been reused here. Anyway, this is not the front console for two crew members that we still know from "Proving Ground". Andorian consoles are featured for the last time in this episode.
The bottle of Andorian ale in "Babel One" is the same design as in "Proving Ground".
In "United" we see a close view of an Andorian PADD for the first time. The display is the same as on the last appearance in "Kir'Shara". The back of the PADD has Andorian characters.
Many Andorian characters and symbols resembling the wall stickers are also on the screen on the Enterprise bridge as Hoshi gathers information about the Ushaan.
In "The Aenar" the Andorian scanner shows up again, which already appeared in "Cease Fire". It seems to have the same display as at the "It's a Wrap" auction (see above).
In the last few Enterprise episodes, we can only see the already established Andorian PADD ("Demons", "Terra Prime") and Andorian wall stickers in "These Are The Voyages".
The Aenar hospital room in "The Aenar" has several icons on the walls that resemble the Andorian wall stickers. However, these symbols are not flat but three-dimensional. We suppose that since the Aenar are blind, some kind of Braille should be hinted at. The shapes of the wall symbols, however, correspond to the well-known Andorian symbols.
Disregarding the "swan emblem" of 61 Cygni from the Star Fleet Technical Manual because it is never identified as belonging to Tellar, there has never been a Tellarite emblem in classic Star Trek. Even though the Tellarites appeared prominently on Star Trek Enterprise, we could never see anything like an emblem. There is, however, a distinctive Tellarite writing that obviously was the foundation for the logo that finally appeared in Discovery.
Tellarite writing can be seen in ENT: "Bounty" on the ship of the Tellarite bounty hunter. All different characters of Tellarite writing have a diamond-shaped outline, and differ in the indentations. Even the buttons on a console are diamond-shaped (or more precisely, quadratic and turned 45 degrees).
It took until Star Trek Discovery that the Tellarites, the fourth purported founding member of the Federation, should finally be given an emblem. We can see the emblem among the three already known symbols of Earth, Andor and Vulcan in front of the Federation Headquarters in DIS: "Will You Take My Hand?". This diamond-shaped emblem is clearly inspired by the Tellarite script known from Enterprise. Later in the episode, we can also see the four flags, one of which is black or dark gray, with the emblem in white and blue.
The emblem as well as the script reappear in the Short Treks episode "The Escape Artist". Here, Harry Mudd is kidnapped by a Tellarite bounty hunter, and we can see Tellarite symbols in various places. The Tellarite emblem is visible on one of the pipes behind Harry.
Thanks to Star Trek Auction Listings, from where we took several photos of auctioned items.