Huds & Guis

Star Trek – UI Design

I can’t really say I’m a Star Trek fan (I prefer Star Wars myself), but I was pleasantly surprised by this movie, which also happened to feature some nice interface designs. Most of them appear as either screen displays in the ships or touchscreen devices, with the exception of one short clip featuring Eric Bana behind a hologram.

There were two things that really caught my eye. One was that I really liked the design of the interfaces in the villain’s ship. I liked all the interesting shapes they used and the predominantly green colour scheme, all of which helped differentiate them from the good guys.

The other thing I noticed was this ‘folded rectangle’ shape they used in some of the good guys’ displays, which is like a rectangle with the top left corner cut off (similar to the shape of a sim card). I remember a time when this was all the rage. It’s funny how quickly this shape became associated with all things futuristic and hi-tech. But now I think we’re moving away from that and the ‘folded rectangle’ is quickly becoming dated.

There’s a lot separately clips here showing a nice range of UI designs. Enjoy!

Check out the Star Trek clip

5 Responses to “Star Trek – UI Design”

  1. trench says:

    I’m a Trek fan and one that (surprisingly) enjoyed the film. That said, these UI designs are absolutely horrible as far as Trek designs go. There’s nothing uniquely identifiable about them. At least the old Star Trek UI’s, especially from the TNG++ timeline, were stylistically unique to the series. You could spot them a mile away. The same cannot be said of the UI’s Abrams’ Star Trek. They look like many various games I’d play on a console or a PC. They aren’t branded. You could easily duplicate them, use them in a website, app, or video game, and nobody from CBS or Viacom would even notice. You’d completely fly under the radar. Hell, the guys that designed them probably wouldn’t even realize you’d ripped their work.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying they aren’t cool. It looks like a video game I’d totally play. But it looks like 5 or 6 that I’ve already played. It’s the typical, run-of-the-mill UI/HUD right now in film, games, and TV.

    Whereas the Star Trek: TNG++ timeline UI wholly unique and identifiable, which is why people are still getting sued for trying to use it: http://www.nothingbuttablets.com/2811

    • Jon says:

      Thanks trench, it’s really good to hear what star trek fans think of the movie.

      From an outsider’s perspective, I thought perhaps they had designed the villains’ UI to be more exotic and the goodguys’ UI to be more familiar to help viewers identify with the humans and opposed to the aliens.

      I do tend to agree with you in that the villains’ UI design is in a more interesting territory. I wonder how the movie may have changed had they stayed truer to the star trek design style you mentioned.

  2. iwege says:

    this is so cool~! thanks~

  3. Niels says:

    Trench has a totally true point there, have nothing to add.. (except that those apps make me want to have an ipad xD)

  4. I also agree with Trench. Additionally, well over a year later, I’d like to add that the UI’s used in Abram’s Star Trek are a hot mess of a combination of stylistic via over organic (on the Bad Guy side) and waaaaay too visual on Starfleet’s side. I get that they’re effects and should be pretty (sort of) to look at. But a graphic layout over a ship that you need to see is hardly friendly. What was the other one? “[IMPACT]” over like a million percent of the interface? I’d like to navigate away from an impact. Unfortunately I couldn’t on the Enterprise because I wasn’t able to see the ship in front of me.

    It’s OK though. We suffer from a mass Over Intuitiveness now anyways. For example, you can’t tell me that iTunes 11 is easier to use than 10. Enough with the little learning curves, you know?

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