In Star Trek Nemesis, the LCARS panels on the Enterprise-E use a much more blue-ish color scheme than before, as well as skeuomorphic 3D buttons instead of flat 2D buttons.

LCARS in Nemesis LCARS 3D Buttons

Is there an in-universe explanation for these design changes, and if not, what could be possible explanations for this? Is blue more relaxing?

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    I imagine it's Starfleet designers who feel like they need to change everything once in a while, just like the real-world Star Trek designers do. Or the periodic redesigns of Stack Exchange, etc.
    – Molag Bal
    Mar 30, 2017 at 23:01
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    Because they had a much higher budget and because the existing LCARS Okudagrams look crap on high quality movie film.
    – Valorum
    Mar 30, 2017 at 23:02
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    There's no in-universe explanation for any user interface, ever, frankly. The user interfaces have never been part of the story. They're just there 'cos people need buttons to push. Apr 3, 2017 at 21:17

2 Answers 2


For in-universe explanations, it probably has a similar logic to the DS9/First Contact uniform change, that it's just more "militaristic" looking and reflects a shift in mindset. Same goes for updated tricorder and phaser models.

In some ways you could argue that the blue is slightly less distracting, and the reduction of diverse colors gives specialized colors (like red) a greater meaning. This is an actual design principle, but a stretch in this context.

While information is definitely lacking, I strongly suspect the change had to do with both complementing the aggressive color-grading of the film as well as looking better on the new LCD screens that replaced the CRT props.

Despite the many benefits of LCDs, "black" pretty much always appears as more of a dim gray when compared to a CRT monitor, and this side effect is really evident throughout the film on all of the animated displays. Had they kept the original colors, I think they would appear noticeably distorted, making a flat-out redesign all the more necessary.

As far as the 3D buttons are concerned, it could be argued that it's simply less distracting to have that type of "embedded" appearance. I'm also guessing the major software design shift with Mac OS X and its fancy 3D-looking UI provided inspiration for it.

  • Hello and welcome to SFF! This is a nice first answer though all answers are always better when they include sources. Don't forget to take the tour!
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 9, 2018 at 9:48
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    On top of what @TheLethalCarrot the question was asking for specific in universe reasons, while you may have given one, the majority of your answer is based on out-of-universe reasoning.
    – Edlothiad
    May 9, 2018 at 10:16

In universe ,software updates. Such as the utilization of upgrades to graphics and interfaces. Blue and green are more visible colors in dark environments. Also color changes could be indicators of specific ship necessities. This is indicated when in "Nemesis" the blue panels transition to Red during Red alert.

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