The Evolution of the Dominion Emblem

by Jörg Hillebrand, Shisma and Bernd Schneider

Early Dominion EmblemVariants of the Dominion EmblemAddendumConclusion


The Dominion emblem was visible in 20 episodes of DS9 altogether. It is noteworthy that it did not yet appear in early key episodes featuring the Dominion, such as DS9: "The Jem'Hadar" or "The Search" in the second and third season, although we may have expected to see a symbol representing the Gamma Quadrant superpower on these occasions. It was introduced as late as at the beginning of the fourth season, showing up in DS9: "Hippocratic Oath" for the very first time. After that it still took until the sixth season for the emblem to reappear frequently, most often on containers, tactical displays or as wall decoration. We have identified three basic variants of the emblem that are described in the following chapter.


Early Dominion Emblem

In its first appearance in "Hippocratic Oath", set in 2372, we can see the Dominion symbol on various small freight containers, in two color variations. The first is a dark symbol on a white rhomb or diamond (more precisely, on a square turned by 45°) as a part of a larger label. The other one is a bright emblem on dark ground, also shaped as a rhomb. The latter symbol possibly already sports the later familiar violet and green colors.

As the Dominion emblem is not yet firmly established in this isolated and almost premature occurrence, the "Hippocratic Oath" variations are not further taken into account. Actually, the emblem will not show up again during the complete fourth and fifth seasons!


Variants of the Dominion Emblem

Variant 1a

On a freight container in DS9: "Rocks and Shoals" (2374) we can see the wide variant of the Dominion emblem for the first time. This will remain the most common pattern during most of the sixth season. The freight containers show up again in "Favor the Bold" and "Sacrifice of Angels", this time on Deep Space 9, which is occupied by the Cardassians and the Dominion.

The emblem on the aforementioned containers is white on a violet rhomb, in other words, a monochrome version. The height-to-width ratio of the white reversed "L" is about 3:1, noticeably wider than on the later variants 2 and 3. The width and the height of the small cross are equal, with the cross and the horizontal line at the left being located above the horizontal centerline of the rhomb. The long side of the "L" sticks out from the rhomb in inverted colors, violet on white.

After a couple of episodes in which the variants 2 and 3 prevailed, variant 1a shows up one last time in "The Siege of AR-558" in the sixth season and the year 2375. Here the violet rhomb appears on a black or dark gray background, and the three elements inside the rhomb are accordingly dark too.

Variant 1b

This is essentially the same as variant 1a. Only the color is different. In variant 2 violet was replaced with the other dominant color of the Dominion, which varies between cyan and green. Similar to variant 1, variant 2 is "transparent". It can be seen as a cyan or green diamond on white as well as on black background, with the "L", the line and the cross appearing in the respective background color.

Variant 1b in cyan on black background can be seen on maps in "Sons and Daughters" and "Behind the Lines". In "Sacrifice of Angels" we can make out a green label on a freight container in the background, if we look closely.

After the introduction of the more colorful variants 2 and 3 later in season 6 the monochrome variant 2 makes one last appearance in season 7 and the year 2375, in DS9: "Tacking into the Wind" on the Cardassian repair station. Here the emblem is a green rhomb on black background.

Variant 2

The premiere of the colorful narrow emblem is in DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight" (2374). Henceforth the emblem variant 2 can be seen most often on tactical displays signifying either the extent of the Dominion territory or positions of Dominion fleets.

The small cross is now violet, while the big "L" and the small line are bright green. The rhomb field in the background is completely missing, as this emblem customarily appears on displays with a dark basic color. The emblem is not as wide as in variants 1a and 1b, its aspect ratio was changed to about 4:1. It looks like the whole emblem was simply squeezed in horizontal direction, since even the cross is thinner now.

Variant 2 appears in the following episodes:

One of the appearances in "The Dogs of War" (2375) is of particular interest, for we can see the Dominion emblem the only time as a communication logo. Whenever a transmission is received from the Dominion/Cardassian alliance on other occasions, the Cardassian emblem appears at the beginning or at the end of the video message. Even in "What You Leave Behind", when the Dominion announces to the Cardassians that they would be all slaughtered, they still show the Cardassian emblem! "The Dogs of War" is the only time that after Weyoun's speech the Dominion emblem is displayed.

Another occurrence of the Dominion emblem, also in "The Dogs of War", is in the streets of Cardassia Prime as a monochrome wall relief, obviously as a means of propaganda. This relief is clearly the same as the narrow variant 2 without the diamond, only without the colors.

Variant 3

Variant 3 appears in DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight" (2374) and in all subsequent episodes with the combined Dominion/Cardassian headquarters set. Here the Dominion emblem adorns the wall in the form of a backlit panel, to the right of the Cardassian emblem.

In this emblem the "L" is not as squeezed as in variant 2, but not quite as wide as in variant 1 either. The aspect ratio of the cross is 1:1 again. The colors are about the same as in variant 2. We may ascribe it to artistic license and to technical limitations that the violet on the backlit panel looks brighter, while the green is overall less brilliant than in variant 2. The green "L" and the small line also have thin yellow borders, which cannot be found on version 2 and which may have been added to give the wall graphic more "depth". Anyway, the most obvious difference aside from the aspect ratio is that there is a rhomb again, this time in the form of a thin green border around the three essential elements of the emblem. The "L" shape sticks out from the rhomb frame a bit like in variant 2, but this time it is not inverted outside. Instead of that the border is extended to accommodate the protruding "L". The cross and the small line are located below the rhomb's centerline. Overall, all three elements inside the rhomb were moved down compared to variant 2.

We can see this variant of the emblem in the following episodes:



Dominion colors and writing

Actually, violet and green were established as Dominion colors long before their logo appeared. We can see violet and green computer interfaces in a couple of third season episodes, such as "The Search", set in 2371. Also, it is interesting to note that the Dominion letters that can be seen on a screen in "The Dogs of War" are shaped in a similar fashion as the Dominion emblem (besides having the same colors). At least the cross-like letter is identical to the one in the emblem. It is absolutely possible that the Dominion emblem itself is nothing but a combination of letters.

Monochrome display symbol

The Dominion emblem is all green when it can be seen in the genetic lab on Noble Isle in PRO: "Masquerade" (its first appearance in canon Trek after more than 20 years). All other symbols on the display are plain green too, so this is not a new variation but just a styling choice. Since this is supposed to illustrate the genetic composition of Dal, the question is what species the political symbol could stand for.

Faulty variant

One apparent variant is depicted in a couple of Paramount-licensed books (e.g. Star Trek Encyclopedia II, in the entry "Dominion", or Star Trek Star Charts) and hence widespread in the WWW. However, while the rearrangement of the diamond relative to the rest may pass as artistic license, it does not show up like this in any episode.



Eventually discounting the color divergence between variant 1a and 1b, as well as the wall relief which complies with variant 2, we can distinguish three canon variants of the Dominion emblem from 2372 to 2375: Variant 1 is a wide monochrome emblem on a rhomb, variant 2 is a very narrow green/violet emblem without a rhomb, whereas the width of variant 3 is somewhere in between, colorful and with a rhomb again.



Cargo labels redrawn by Brad Wilder.


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