The Emblem of Starfleet Command

by Jörg Hillebrand, Bernd Schneider and Brad Wilder

Classic Command EmblemDiscovery & Picard Command EmblemsAddendum: Starfleet Logo on Tube-Shaped BagAddendum: Precursors of the Command Emblem


The Starfleet Command seal consists of a dark blue circle with a silver Starfleet arrowhead in the center. The Command star is cut out from the arrowhead, so we can see two bright dots through this "hole". Many more dots (stars) surround the arrowhead. The text on the upper edge of the circle reads "Starfleet Command", on the lower edge it is "United Federation of Planets". Two large dots separate these two blocks of text. A yellow "swoosh", probably representing a flight path (or comet tail), runs from the left behind the arrowhead in a curve to the front and ends at the right dot between the two text blocks. This feature is similar to the NASA logo. An outer and an inner red ring border the text area, which itself is black.

The Starfleet Command emblem never appeared on TNG and was created by Michael Okuda as late as for the fourth season of DS9. It is prominent in several DS9 and Voyager episodes.

In the Star Trek Sticker Book, on the cover of which the logo of Starfleet Command is shown at a large size, Mike Okuda writes:

"The Starfleet Command seal was first seen 'Homefront' (DS9) and later in 'In the Flesh' (VGR), although the agency itself, of course, dates back to the original Star Trek series. The symbol was intended to be somewhat reminiscent of the NASA emblem."

Even after a thorough review we could not find the logo either in "Homefront" or in "Paradise Lost".

Mike Okuda: "I don't recall where it appeared in 'Homefront'."

The actual first appearance seems to be a bit later in the fourth season of DS9, in "Rules of Engagement". In this and many other episodes we can see the logo on a yellow flag. It turns out, however, that there are two variants of this yellow flag. In later episodes, a gray flag with a differently colored logo should be added. Finally, we can see the emblem as a standalone seal in several episodes.

Variations of the Starfleet Command logo would later be created for Enterprise and for Discovery/Strange New Worlds and Picard.


Classic Command Emblem

DS9: Rules of Engagement

In this episode we can see the logo for the first time, in the center of a yellow flag. Next to this flag we can also see the blue Federation flag. The arrowhead in the center of the flag is silver, and the logo corresponds exactly to the description above.

DS9: Behind the Lines

After a long time we see the logo again in this episode, for the first time on the back of a PADD. The PADD contains an "Intelligence report" on a Dominion sensor array in the Argolis Cluster discovered by Starfleet Intelligence. As the information is classified, the words "For Eyes Only" are written on the front of the PADD, across a Starfleet logo. On the back of the same PADD we can see the Starfleet Command logo. It looks exactly as described above and as depicted on the cover of the Star Trek Sticker Book. The arrowhead has a gray gradient that is intended to mimic the metallic effect of silver.

It is important to note that in "Behind the Lines", Admiral Ross appears with Starfleet's new admiral uniform for the first time. However, in this episode it still lacks the belt buckle with the Starfleet Command logo surrounded by olive leaves. Here, Admiral Ross's uniform has a simple, rectangular belt buckle.

In the same episode we also see the yellow flag of Starfleet Command for the second time, both in Admiral Ross's office and in Sisko's office on Starbase 375. In all other episodes featuring Starbase scenes, as well as in all subsequent DS9 episodes, the yellow flag will never resurface, however.

DS9: Favor the Bold

This episode is the first to show the belt buckle of the new Admiral's uniform. Both Admiral Coburn's and Admiral Ross's uniforms clearly have this belt buckle. As mentioned above, it is an interesting mix of the Starfleet and the Federation logo, as the Starfleet Command logo is surrounded by the olive leaves of the Federation logo. This belt buckle would appear in several more episodes.

At least one of the belt buckles was listed for auction by It's a Wrap! in 2007.

VOY: In the Flesh

Although it is just a fake scenario created by Species 8472, "In the Flesh" has the first appearance of the emblem on Voyager. We can see it behind the bar in the Quantum Café. In terms of color, there are slight differences. The arrowhead is white or light gray. The red rings seem to be missing or are very thin. The area between the rings is no longer black, but light gray. The text inside the rings is no longer white, but black. The comet tail retains its yellow color.

In addition, Boothby's office has several windows with the logo. These windows were reused in later episodes in Admiral Paris's and Admiral Janeway's offices. For these later appearances, however, frosted instead of clear glass was used. In the variant of the logo on glass, the arrowhead, the area between the two rings and the small stars in the background are all silver. The command star and the text are therefore transparent, or later white. The yellow tail, however, is still colored.

Star Trek Insurrection

In this movie we see Admiral Dougherty wearing the admiral's uniform and the decorated belt buckle described above.

DS9: The Changing Face of Evil

Here we can see the logo in a flower bed on the grounds of Starfleet Headquarters. The logo looks like it was described in the introductory text, the two red rings are clearly visible.

DS9: The Dogs of War

One last time we see the logo on the back of a PADD in "The Dogs of War". This is probably the same PADD as in "Behind the Lines". The PADD is used when Admiral Ross transfers the command of the USS São Paulo to Captain Sisko. This is a formal Starfleet document, hence probably the Starfleet Command sticker on the back of the PADD.

VOY: One Small Step

In this Voyager episode, the gray version of the Starfleet Command flag shows up for the first time, on the torpedo coffin of Lt. John Kelly at the end of the episode. It is interesting that this new flag was created for the episode, since in previous scenes in which a Starfleet officer was buried in a photon torpedo, the Federation flag was always used. It is also unclear why the existing yellow Starfleet Command flag was not used. Maybe the yellow variant was considered too cheerful for a memorial service, which is why the new, gray flag was made.

The gray flag has two red rings. The text between the rings is white. The area between the two rings, which is black on the yellow flag and on the standalone seal, is gray, like the rest of the flag. Also, the area inside the inner circle, which is dark blue on the yellow flag and the seal, is gray here. This circle is missing the white stars as on all other variations. The arrowhead is silver (it appears to be dark gray in the episode), the Command star is black. Inside the star there are still two white dots that are supposed to represent stars, which is probably an oversight. The comet tail is still yellow, as usual.

Mike Okuda: "Regarding the grey flag for 'One Small Step,' it was likely made because DS9 and VGR had separate set dressing departments, and sometimes it is more convenient to have duplicate props than it is to coordinate with another production that might need it for something else. Or it might simply be that our set decorator, the late Jim Mees, wanted a grey flag, instead of the yellow flag that we used in DS9. On the other hand, I seem to recall that Jim had me make a yellow flag (with a different graphic) for Starfleet Command in Enterprise. I also recall that Jim wanted the United Earth flag in Enterprise to be grey."

The flag was later auctioned by It's a Wrap!. The photo of the prop clearly shows the silver color of the arrowhead and the black command star.

VOY: Pathfinder

In "Pathfinder", the Starfleet Command emblem appears in several variants and in different places. For the first time, it can be seen in plain gray/white on the façade of the Starfleet Communications Research Center building. All components of the logo, including the stars in the inner circle, are present. This shot was often reused in later episodes that take place on Earth.

Several admirals, including Admiral Paris, can be seen with the decorated belt buckle.

In Admiral Paris's office the gray and the yellow variant of the Starfleet Command flag appear together for the first time. The gray flag is the same that was introduced a few episodes earlier, in "One Small Step".

If we look at the yellow flag, we realize that it is not the same prop as in the two DS9 episodes. A new yellow flag must have been created. On this new version of the yellow flag, the entire background of the inner circle is black, and not dark blue as on the other yellow flag. Also missing are the stars around the arrowhead (just as on the gray version). However, the two dots inside the Command star are present (just as on the gray version). The two red rings are also present, the text is white, the arrowhead is silver and the tail is yellow.

The picture of the flag from the It's a Wrap! auction clearly shows the differences between this flag and the one that appeared on DS9.

Why was a new yellow flag created? Maybe the old one had disappeared after the end of DS9 a few months earlier. This could be another reason why the gray flag was created for "One Small Step". In all subsequent Voyager episodes featuring the Starfleet Command logo, both flags should always be visible.

In Admiral Paris's office we can also see the windows with the Starfleet Command logo, which were probably reused from "In the Flesh". As already mentioned, instead of the previous transparent ones the panes are frosted now. The logo is unchanged compared to "In the Flesh".

Finally, the logo is visible on a glass door at the entrance to the Pathfinder lab. The design matches the logo on the glass in Boothby's office in "In the Flesh", but is not colored. All the areas that were silver or yellow in this logo are tinted glass while the rest of the logo (and the door) is translucent.

VOY: Life Line

This episode briefly shows the gray and yellow Starfleet Command flags in Admiral Hayes's office.

VOY: Inside Man

"Inside Man" is another episode to feature all variations of the logo from "Pathfinder". This includes the logo outside the Communications Research Center building, the one on the windows in Admiral Paris's office, the two flags, the belt buckle and the glass door to the Project Pathfinder Laboratory. The laboratory space looks completely different and the logo on the glass pane is barely recognizable, but it is the same glass door as still in "Pathfinder".

VOY: Author, Author

We can see the logo on the outside of the Communications Research Center building and on the glass front door to the Pathfinder lab. Only the flags do not appear in this episode.

VOY: Friendship One

The gray and the yellow Starfleet Command flags show up in Admiral Hendricks's office.

VOY: Endgame

In the scenes that are set in the year 2404, the logo can be spotted several times. The first time is in a new take of the Starfleet Communication Research Center. Also, the already known shot of the building appears. Admiral Janeway's office displays both flags and the familiar frosted glass version. The glass door of the Pathfinder Project Laboratory also displays the logo. In the final scenes, which take place in the Pathfinder laboratory in the year 2378, the logo can be seen on the belt buckles of several admirals.

The window panes with the emblems were later auctioned off by It's a Wrap!.

Star Trek Prodigy

We can see the Starfleet Command seal in several places outside and inside Relay Station CR-721 in PRO: "Asylum", set in 2384, as well as during the launch of the USS Dauntless, set some time earlier. It is an exact reproduction of the original version that was first visible in DS9: "Rules of Engagement". The only difference is that the banner emblem does not appear on yellow but on blue ground. It is noteworthy that, back in the Alpha Quadrant, Starfleet would introduce a new emblem at latest in that same year, as visible in PIC: "The End is the Beginning".

A monochrome seal appears appears on CR-721 and on a wall display on the Dauntless in PRO: "Mindwalk".

Also in PRO: "Asylum", a simplified Command emblem with just one ring and without lettering appears on a transparent display. This symbol can be seen more clearly on a display on the Protostar in PRO: "Ghost in the Machine".

PRO: "Supernova II" shows that the classic Starfleet Command emblem is still in use at Starfleet Headquarters in 2384. We can the full emblem on a wall, as well as a simplified version with only the arrowhead and the swoosh as a floor decoration.


Discoverse & Picard Command Emblems

Star Trek Discovery

The basic shape of the Starfleet Command logo is omnipresent in Star Trek Discovery. The arrowhead with the trajectory appears in many places where we would expect to see just the arrowhead, or perhaps an individual ship logo, in other series. The logo comes in various variants, colored and monochrome, fully fledged and stylized, with and without lettering. It is a good assumption that only the logos with the explicit according lettering actually represent Starfleet Command, unlike generic Starfleet or USS Discovery versions. This specific Command emblem shows up on screens, as well as in printed form on pieces of equipment.

Like the uniform badges, the Starfleet Command emblem of the reboot series shows a "split" arrowhead. Another characteristic feature of the Discovery-style Command emblem are the four stars that perhaps represent the four founding members of the Federation.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

The Starfleet Command seal shows up in many different places in Strange New Worlds. It is monochrome when it appears on monitors and as decoration, whereas it is colored on the official flag. All variations have in common that the signature separation line in the arrowhead from Discovery and even Picard is gone. This is in line with the other appearances of Starfleet arrowheads in Strange New Worlds, notably the Enterprise crew badges that don't have a vertical fold. We also see the seal of the USS Enterprise in the new series, which is similar in design but without the spacecraft trajectory. The Discovery emblem, in contrast, included the trajectory and was largely identical to the Command seal.

A variation of the seal appears in a meeting room on a flag and in the courtroom as a large wall seal in SNW: "Ad Astra per Aspera". The inscription reads "Starfleet Command - Judge Advocate General's Office". The design is similar as the ones previously seen on Strange New Worlds, but there are additional stars, whereas the star ring around the arrowhead was replaced with a wreath.

Star Trek Picard

The Starfleet Command emblem in Star Trek Picard exists at least since 2384, es evidenced by the flashback to that year in PIC: "The End is the Beginning". The design is inspired by the one from Discovery, as indicated by the split arrowhead, although this feature never appeared in the chronology after the reboot series. In some of its appearances the separation line in the arrowhead is barely visible though. On the other hand, the new emblem restores some elements of the classic Command logo, such as many stars instead of just four. Yet, the Command Star inside the arrowhead that was a part of both the classic and of the Discovery version is missing now.

The new Picard-style Starfleet command logo appears anachronistically on two of Picard's awards that date back to the years 2333 and 2351, respectively. Other awards from this era correctly show an arrowhead that was actually in use at the time. Picard's trophies and awards created for "Remembrance" contain several more errors and were never meant to be seen up close anyway. We can spot the problems only on prop photos, not in the episode itself.

We can see the so-lettered Starfleet Command emblem on Star Trek Picard, as well as a logo for the Starfleet Museum and one for the Quantum Archives. They are all identical except for the lettering.

In the second season opener "The Star Gazer", the command emblem appears on the outside of a Starfleet building, as well as in many places on the inside: on the wall, on the desk, on boxes, on flags and twice on a floor. On at least one of the flags, the flight path and the outlines of the emblem are red.


Addendum: Starfleet Logo on Tube-Shaped Bag


In many DS9 episodes we can see an interesting tube-shaped, blue-red document bag with a Starfleet logo. The logo can never be seen up close, but it has a yellow or golden ring. It is not clear if there is text in this ring. Inside the yellow ring is a black area. Centrally located in this area is a silver arrowhead, in the middle of which we can spot the black Command star. The arrowhead partially protrudes into the yellow ring. Further details are not recognizable. Since this logo bears a certain resemblance to the Starfleet Command logo, it is included here. The bag showed up as soon as in the first season DS9 (e.g. in "A Man Alone"), well before the logo was created for the fourth season ("Rules of Engagement").


Addendum: Precursors of the Command Emblem


A uniform patch that is commonly identified as the emblem of Starfleet Command appears in a couple of TOS episodes, usually worn by high-ranking officers involved in command operations and by their assistants.


The Starfleet Command logo is barely visible in "Star Trek (2009)" at the building site of the Enterprise. This logo is aptly based on emblems that appeared in the TOS movies, rather than anticipating the version of the 24th century.


See Also

The Emblems of Earth Starfleet and Earth Starfleet Command - overview of all variations of the two logos

The Emblem of Starfleet Academy - overview of its evolution and of the correctness of the motto

The Evolution of the Starfleet Medical Emblem - exhaustive survey of all variants



Thanks to Star Trek Auction Listings, from where we took photos of auctioned items.


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