Star Trek 101 serves two functions: succinctly introduce Star Trek newcomers to the basic foundations and elements of the franchise and refresh the memories of longtime Trek fans. We're pulling our entries from the book Star Trek 101: A Practical Guide to Who, What, Where, And Why, written by Terry J. Erdmann & Paula M. Block and published in 2008 by Pocket Books. An invaluable resource, it encompasses Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise, as well as the first 10 Trek feature films.
Today, we share Star Trek 101's file on Star Trek: The Next Generation's Primary Colors:
Remember when wearing a gold shirt meant you were the guy giving the orders, and wearing a red shirt meant you were going to die a horrible death on the planet's surface? That was then, this is now: red signifies the command track and gold means support services (engineering and security). Blue still means the wearer is in the sciences.
The color distinctions are less pronounced than they were in Star Trek: The Original Series. Command red is a muted burgundy, gold is a mustard tone, blue is actually teal. The uniforms are primarily black, the contrasting color changes were instigated by the guys who previously wore red shirts.
Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann are coauthors of numerous books about the entertainment industry, including Star Trek 101; Star Trek Costumes: Fifty Years of Fashion from the Final Frontier; Star Trek: The Original Series 365; and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. They currently are writing the latest in their series of Ferengi novellas, which (so far) includes Lust’s Latinum Lost (and Found); and Rules of Accusation. Their most recent non-Star Trek book is Labyrinth: The Ultimate Visual History.