To understand how I came to even write this series, you might want to know how I shelve my Star Trek mass market paperbacks. (If you don't want to know this, and I don't blame you, just jump down to the break.)
In the past I have used various complicated systems (at one point, internal chronology! do not recommend), but now I just break them down by tv show: the original, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise. (To date, there are no MMPBs based on the CBS All Access shows.) Then after that go all the books that tie into no particular series; these could be original-to-prose ongoing series like New Frontier and S.C.E., miniseries that span multiple series like Day of Honor and Gateways, miniseries that don't do that like Dark Passions and Typhon Pact, or standalones not based on one tv show like Articles of the Federation and Excelsior: Forged in Fire.
I shelve all my books in publication order, except that I put all the books in one series together at the point where the first was published. These books are immediately to the left of my desk and so I gaze at them a lot while avoiding work, and as I did so often, I started to realize there was a changing trajectory over time of how Star Trek books have dealt with the logos when there's no one tv show to tie into.
It lead to two more Starfleet Academy series, one for the original (with novels featuring Spock, McCoy, and Kirk) and one for Voyager (featuring Janeway). These maintained the Crillee Italic branding even though that had nothing to do with those tv show.
As I said in my last installment, around the time The Next Generation came out, the logos of Simon & Schuster's Star Trek books finally achieved some level of show-consistency and stability. But things would soon get complicated by the fact that S&S/Pocket started publishing Star Trek novels that didn't tie into any one series. What logo would you use then?
At first, they stuck with the original-series film logo, the logo that was also being used on Deep Space Nine and (soon) Voyager. The first time this happened was with Federation (Nov. 1994), an original series/Next Generation crossover novel. As you can see, this uses the slightly simplified, more generic version of the logo that was more prominent in the 1990s.the Interplay computer game Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Weirdly, the novelization didn't use the game's logo design, but rather used Crillee Italic, tying it (design-wise, anyway) into S&S's middle-grade Starfleet Academy books.
National Front! In the long run of this series, though, the Excalibur would be destroyed and replaced by a new ship of a different class; it always bothered me that the logo never updated to reflect this.
Pocket released another independent novel in Feb. 1998, Susan Wright's The Best and the Brightest. This followed a group of Starfleet Academy cadets across a two-year period. The cover uses the Next Generation logo, but I think this must have been a last-minute change to improve marketability, because the title page actually just calls it "Star Trek: The Best and the Brightest." The logo used is the film one, indicating it's a generic Star Trek product, not tied to any one series. I shelve it by spine logo, though, because that looks nicer.
(An early draft of the cover, which you can see on Memory Alpha, actually used the same Starfleet Academy logo from S&S's middle-grade books, along with the generic film logo. I get why they ultimately wouldn't want to use middle-grade branding for an adult-aimed novel.)
One of my favorite logo choices, however, came with Where Sea Meets Sky (Oct. 1998), an installment in The Captain's Table miniseries. This novel focused on Captain Pike, but instead of using the generic original series logo, it used a very bland one that had previously only been used on the unaired pilot featuring Pike, "The Cage." I don't know what your average book buyer thought of this deep-cut choice, but this book buyer had a big smile on his face when he discovered the book in Barnes & Noble, and even e-mailed editor John Ordover to thank him! (I would have been 13.)
ITC Handel Gothic" was the font the show had always used for credits and episode titles.
There weren't many of them, but the original DS9 logo continued to be used on books set during the run of the show, such as Prophecy and Change (Sept. 2003) and Hollow Men (Apr. 2005).
Seven," apparently). Plus a strong sense of composition (Cliff Nielsen, of course), and on the physical book, the subtle embossing on the second TITAN all combine to create a striking package.
Because of the logo, I opt to shelve these books with my non-series novels, because it looks nice. In fact, the stretch from Stargazer: Three to Articles of the Federation is one of the longest on my shelves of a relatively consistent logo.
When Voyager had its own post-series "relaunch," it didn't change its logo-- but The Next Generation did. Death in Winter (Sept. 2005) began a new approach for TNG novels, following on from Nemesis, and a totally new logo. As you can see, it's a total departure from the original Next Generation logo, a pretty generic serif. It took me a while even with font-matching web sites to figure out what it was, because there are a million like it. Some say it's "Palatino," but the "T" isn't right; I finally matched the "T" to that of "Rotis Serif." (And then found an old post by editor Marco Palmieri where he said what it was.)
When it first debuted, I was in a mental mode where I had to defend all of S&S's editorial choices, so I defended this. Now though... I think it's going for "classy and elegant" and ends up coming out "bland." I mean, you could do worse, but it just doesn't look science fiction-y at all. Which I suspect is kind of the point, but that's a bad point. I get why maybe someone wanted the 1980stastic original to go, but I don't believe this was the best replacement. It wasn't just applied to "TNG relaunch" novels either, as this logo also appeared on the prequel The Buried Age (July 2007) and the mostly-set-during-the-series anthology The Sky's the Limit (Sept. 2007).
With Jan. 2013's Allegiance in Exile, these things would become much less ambiguous, as "The Original Series" was restored to the logo again, and this time it was here to stay. Thanks, I hate it, but at least it was done tastefully this time.
When S.C.E. relaunched as Corps of Engineers in Nov. 2009, I suppose it was just a bit too early for the Rotis revolution. I wonder if it would have used Rotis if it had come along a mite later, but as it was, it kept the movie font for the "Star Trek." For the subtitle, it switched to what I think is a Jeffries Extended font, the typeface used on the hull of Starfleet vessels, which was previously used as a logo on Enterprise and subsequently on Discovery. Note that the name changed because it was felt "S.C.E." was pretty inscrutable. It is, but I'm not sure putting the word "CORPS" biggest screams fun action-adventure. If they really wanted to make the series more accessible, they should have called it Star Trek: Miracle Workers!
a series of tributes by artist Rob Caswell. I like the idea, but I found Caswell's for-fun tributes more successful than the actual published Seekers covers. I think it's because the cover ended up having five different typefaces on it! One for "STAR TREK," one for "SEEKERS" and the author name, one for the giant number, one for the New York Times bit, and one for the title. It just loses all sense of cohesion, and I don't get why some of those couldn't have been the same. (I am pretty sure the Seekers subtitle is Jeffries Extended again.) The original Blish covers and Caswell's original tributes have a simplicity and power this overly busy cover fails to recapture.
Cimiez RomanDemiSerif," which has actually been used as a typeface for titles and author names on a number of Next Generation covers, including The Cold Equations trilogy and The Stuff of Dreams. But what's up with those big lowercase "e"s? And just because the mythical Prometheus gave fire to humanity doesn't justify something as tacky as MAKING YOUR LOGO ON FIRE! (Plus it's totally unsuited to the slow, plodding nature of the trilogy.)
And that, I think, brings us up to date! I'm sure there's some keystone cover of modern Star Trek books I've missed, but I think those are the significant font and design choices of the last two decades of Star Trek fiction. This whole five-part (and probably, eventually, six, though geeze I need a break) series is down to me noticing all the Serpentine on my shelf, so finally I got to talk about that bit!
Most cover art supplied by LibraryThing. Specifically, most of that was due to one dude, CoreyScott, who has uploaded tons of high-quality scans of tie-in book overs to LibraryThing over the years. Thanks also to the commenters on the TrekBBS for their feedback, especially user DarkHorizon who alerted me to the solicitation cover of The Best and the Brightest; I made some updates on 16 Feb. because of it, adding all the various Starfleet Academy novels.