20

Excluding the pilot episode 'The Cage', The Original Series opening credits used a decorative, emboldened and narrowed, high contrast font. Seen below are samples from the episodes Man Trap and Day of the Dove, respectively:

Star Trek:TOS Man Trap wordmark Star Trek:TOS Day of the Dove wordmark

I suspect the wordtype font was purpose-built, but I can't find any specific references to the origin of the font. I can find plenty of references (1, 2, 3) to modern reproductions of these fonts, but again nothing on the original font's genesis.

So: did Matt Jefferies and his team create this font, or was the font available and just licensed and used?

2
  • 1
    also just pointing out that as this was the late 60's and before desktop publishing, it was almost certainly a hand drawn typeface, and probably not even a full typeface, just the letters needed for the words in a given week, and certainly not having various fonts
    – NKCampbell
    Aug 9 '19 at 14:09
  • 4
    @NKCampbell There were font foundries in the 1960's, selling fonts for reproduction in print and film. My question is about whether they bought this font from a foundry and if so which one; if not, who made it and when?
    – bishop
    Aug 9 '19 at 14:31
13

The font was almost certainly purpose-built.

The font you are referring to was called "Final Frontier", later renamed to "Final Frontier Old Style" (as the font for Star Trek: Voyager had also been christened "Final Frontier") and then renamed yet again to "Horizon" more recently for the reboot films.

Given that the title of the font was "Final Frontier", it almost certainly was purpose-built for the show.

Who designed the font originally seems to be a bit of a mystery. It has been associated to type-designer Allen R. Walden, but he seems to have simply made an updated version of it.

It may very well have been Matt Jeffries, but if so, it seems he didn't care enough to take formal credit for it — probably having credit for the original Enterprise design was more important to him!

2
  • Thanks for the info. Was the font called "Final Frontier" in the 1960's? A named font surely would have come from a foundry, so which foundry released it?
    – bishop
    Sep 9 '15 at 17:36
  • It seems to have been called "Final Frontier" from the beginning but all of the evidence is in the form of secondary references. I can find no direct foundry listing.
    – Praxis
    Sep 9 '15 at 18:19
5

According to Daren Dochterman (who worked on Star Trek Voyager as well as the Director's Cut of Star Trek the Motion Picture), the original Star Trek titles were hand drawn by Richard Edlund who worked at the Anderson Company (the company that did the special effects for the original series).

http://disq.us/p/1hmspco

Final Frontier is NOT the font used in the Original Series. It is a font that is based off the logo for the first Star Trek Motion Picture. Therefore, it did not exist prior to 1979, and certainly not in the mid-1960s when the Original Series aired.

There are a wide variety of clones and fonts inspired by the Original Series Star Trek font. But the hand-drawn nature of the logo is apparent upon close examination. Simply compare the two Rs in the Star Trek logo. They are not identical. The left one (in the word STAR) is wider than the right one (in the word TREK). It is also important to notice that the characters used in the episode title cards also varied from the six unique characters in the Star Trek logo. Most specifically the E character's upper left corner is rounded in the the main credits (in the "Star Trek" title and also "William Shatner" & "Leonard Nimoy" credits) but not in the rest of the production credits (or even in the "DeForest Kelley" credit). So while the production crew must have created a font for use in the credits, it didn't exactly match the "Star Trek" logo's characters.

Linotype sells a font named "Horizon" that is clearly inspired by the Original Series logo & credits font, but it has characters that are clearly different. It is one of the few Trek-inspired fonts that has the correct V character, but the B and to some extent K & Y characters do not match exactly. And none of them have the E character with the single rounded corner.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Your first paragraph is a response to the previous answer, not an answer to the question, so you should not lead with that. Your answer seems to be that it is a hand-drawn logo rather than a proper font, so you should emphasize that part.
    – DavidW
    Aug 9 '19 at 1:55

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