I Love Stickers!

I loved stickers as a kid.  I used to collect them.


And Star Trek was FULL of em!

One thing you needed to get around on a starship was labels, and the Star Trek films bathed in them.  One thing I was very fond of (still am) was a sticker book by Lee Cole with designs and labels directly from the set designs of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  What I loved most about it was that it showed you how things looked in-universe rather than just giving you tons of images of our heros and space ships.  I mean, I had McDonald’s Happy Meals to do that. 😉

Some of the best stickers in the whole book were the colorful cargo container labels that, with symbols and manifest codes, appeared to list information about contents, origin, destination, and special instructions…


Original Design by Lee Cole- Reproduction by Basill

all on a nicely proportioned,  2 x 3 (ish), stylized rectangle.


When I decided to build the cargo bays of the movie Enterprise.  I had already fashioned the work bees and the cargo pods, but I hadn’t placed any labels on them.  I went back to my sticker book and some nice online sources and used them to fashion some really cool labels that would offer consistency as well as a bit of variety.

My scanner is not the best and I had to unnaturally enlarge images to get the scale I wanted.  I  also had to find fonts that looked reasonably close to the originals, but I was eventually able to recreate all of the important elements of a label’s design and work from there.

I found it remarkably easy to create awesome  source images for use as surface maps once I had established a template.  With that template and a nice catalog of graphic symbols I had everything necessary to create large crisp images.  All I had to do was change some text, alter some color values, switch symbols, and I had an entirely new and distinct label.  And boy I went to town!

I used the original symbols envisioned by Lee Cole for the first film, a few I found in fan publications, or just cool symbols in general dipped from the well of Google.  I also made up a few originals myself.  Regardless of source however, everything was drawn up from scratch in my image editor.

Here are most of those labels reduced to about 15% of their original size.labels-1ab2

In the labels’ upper right corners, I shuffled around the position of the “hold locator”  so the container would appear to have a designated slot placement.

I tried to use the colors with cargo they might be better suited to (Medical supplies and temperature sensitives in blue hues) (Hazardous/radioactive materials in reds and orange) (Consumables/perishables and carbon-unit necessities in greens)  (Mechanical and equipment resupply in yellows and browns)  Nothing was sacred, but I thought it might help in the overall categorization process.  Trek is known for its color oriented methodology.

The foodstuffs symbol (second row, center- “avocado” ) came from one of David John Schmidt’s fan books; either one of  his Starfleet Academy Training Command- Line/Staff Officer Requirements titles or his revamped version Starfleet Dynamics. I thought it fit the overall style perfectly.

There are a few little in-jokes sprinkled amongst them.  I made one symbol (the single grey label) reminiscent of the M5 computer from The Original Series and used the designation m52.  Probably should have used a decimal after the 5 though.  (M5 may have killed hundreds of Starfleet officers in a training exercise, but it’s still better than Vista I’ll bet.  Maybe M5.2 will correct those nasty habits 😉 )

I found a few on Google as part of an open competition for a “Nano Hazard Design”.  Not certain what the actual impetus of the challenge was and the competition was long since over, but all the entries were still being displayed.  Some of those were really cool, though I don’t know entirely who designed them.

I also like the standardized “trident” symbol for Universal Serial Bus  (USB) connectors so much that I used a version on one of the labels and designated it U58.


~ by starstation on February 19, 2009.

3 Responses to “I Love Stickers!”

  1. Greta work on reproducing the cargo labels. I am in the process of detailing a 1:350 scale model kit of the Refit-Enterprise, and I am making custom decals and scratchbulding the cargo pods. Is there any chance I could get my hands on the vector versions of these labels?

    • Sorry. I started most of these on Photoshop over a decade ago, before migrating over to Pixelmator on my Mac mini a few years later. I’m not sure an ounce of what I ever made was saved in any “vector” format. Everything in my layers was raster fill, since I never maintained live type after I’d created it.

      • Thanks for the reply (and sorry about the typos in my previous comment). I hadn’t heard back from you so I went ahead and recreated them in Illustrator using live type. I have the first 4 drawn up, and will do the others later this month.

        If for whatever reason you ever need these again in vector-based form, or want other custom ones done, I will gladly share my files with you when I’m finish the rest of them.

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