Mike And Denise Okuda Being Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award From Art Director’s Guild

Veteran Star Trek scenic artists Michael and Denise Okuda are to be celebrated by their peers for their decades of work on Star Trek and beyond.

Okudas honored

Today the Art Directors Guild announced they are bestowing a Lifetime Achievement Award for both Mike and Denise Okuda. Mike Okuda began his career as a scenic artist in 1986 on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and he worked on pretty much every Star Trek film and television production from that time until Star Trek: Enterprise went off the air in 2005. Over that period he was nominated for an Emmy four times. He returned to the world of Trek to work on the remastering of Star Trek: The Original Series in 2006 and again for the remastering of The Next Generation in 2012.

Denise Okuda’s first connection to Star Trek was as an uncredited extra in 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture (when she was still Denise Tathwell). She and Mike married in 1993, and Denise’s Trek career was soon on a similar trajectory as Mike’s. In addition to their work on Star Trek productions, they have also co-authored a number of Trek reference books, including the Star Trek Encyclopedia, Star Trek Chronology, and Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual.

In a statement, Art Directors Guild Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists Council Chair Clint Schultz said of the Okudas:

The roots of graphic design for Film and TV can be easily traced back to Michael and Denise Okuda and their work on the Star Trek franchise. Through graphic design, the Okudas added a unique visual language to sets, whether it was through props, signage or their graphical user interface for playback (also known as Okudagrams). Additionally, their work on Star Trek led to “real-world” graphic design opportunities and lending their artistic talents to NASA’s various space programs.

The Okudas will be honored by the ADG at the awards ceremony in Los Angeles on March 5, 2022.

Mike and Denise are back for Star Trek: Picard

The Okudas have had active careers outside of Star Trek was well; they’ve worked with NASA and on shows like The West Wing. More recently they have been working on Ron Moore’s For All Mankind, and now they have also found their way back to Star Trek.

Earlier this month Picard showrunner Terry Matalas and production designer David Blass revealed the Okudas were working in the art department on season three.

And as we have previously reported, the third season (currently in production) will feature a new 24th-century Starfleet ship. Just today, Matalas revealed another image from the set of an updated version of a classic set graphic which were a hallmark of Mike Okuda’s work.

Last month he also shared a classic “Okudagram” from Picard, this time from sickbay. It’s not clear if the Okudas made this specific graphic, but given that we now know that they’re working for the show, they probably had some hand in it.

Find more news and analysis from Star Trek: Picard.

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I’ve met Mike and Denise several times during my time on the Paramount lot in the 90s. Mike even got me into the set of First Contact and I spent the afternoon on the bridge set watching filming from inside the doorway of Picard’s ready room. Another fun memory was when I was in their workshop and they were making panels for the original Enterprise bridge set for DS9’s “Trials and Tribbileations” episode. They are both huge fans and it was always fun to geek out with them. They deserve this award and MORE!

Wow, great memories to have Luke! I see why you are such a big fan. :)

Having the Okudas working on Star Trek again feels like a surreal dream to probably a lot of long time Trek fans. They have contributed to much to the universe and it really helps keeping the 24th century as consistent as possible (although honestly I think both LDS and PRO are doing an amazing with that as well). Their award is well deserved!

And I hope the new ship has an ‘F’ at the end of its registry! But yes expect to be disappointed. ;)

It has to be the Enterprise F unless they have the (E) movie set somewhere in a Paramount lot. =)

From your lips to Kahless ears Jay!

And they did say a new ship, so it can’t be the E (unfortunately).

There you go. It has to be the F. Now I wonder the reason they use to move fwd. If the E went down when the Synths attacked Mars.

Must be very expensive to keep these sets in storage. Makes sense they build a new Enterprise. Can’t wait to see the bridge, Kurtzman shows keep going to a whole new level.

Would love to see Captain Worf. But the new writers are totally unpredictable, maybe they come up with something totally unexpected, like (Captain) Kim, Nerys, or Wesley. :P

I mean its not a guarantee it’s another Enterprise (you’re talking to someone who was 100% convinced we would see it with Riker on it at the end of season one…so close ;)) but I hope we do get a new one in season 3. Yes also love to see a Captain Worf commanding it, but I will keep my fanboy thoughts in check for now.

And after Nemesis, they were convinced there would never be any more TNG films, so it was no point to keep it. The Voyager set was being destroyed literally the final day of filming because they knew for a fact the show was done so why keep it? They do keep bits and pieces around for stuff like costumes and props but the sets are probably determined by space and yes money since they naturally take up a lot of room. When Trek was really going in the 90s, the sets took up 3 soundstages alone.

If the Picard comics mean anything to canon to them Worf should have been the Captain of the ENT E once Picard accepted promotion.

This is fantastic. Congrats to them! I remember at age 12 learning of the touch panel approach for the final scene of ST4. Opened my eyes to how that kind of art and planning contributes to a film. Have always enjoyed following the Okudas’ work.

Congratulations to the Okudas’. :P Well deserved! I really like this couple. They have given so much to the franchise. So humble and devoted to the Fans. Gives me so much joy to learn that they are back to work on Picard!

Well deserved!! Congratulations!

As an aside, what happened to Picard’s artifical heart?

Hope Q fix the whole thing! :P

Q already fixed his artificial heart once. It didn’t turn out the way Picard expected.

Doesn’t he have a completely new body after the season 1 finale?

He does. Now he has an artificial everything.

Congratulations! Well deserved!

Congratulations, and well deserved. Honestly I wish these two were in charge of the whole franchise. They ‘get’ it :)

Years ago, I worked with Denise and Mike, and I am so happy for them. They’re not just extremely talented people–they’re also extremely nice people to boot.

They are legends, and genuinely lovely people. This warms my heart.

It’s nice to see that these graphic artists’ names and work are so well known and celebrated across Trek fandom. Very often in the entertainment world, individual artists and designers labor in anonymity, as far as the general public is concerned.

Great to hear!

They are both wonderful people.
Met them at the set tour in Ticonderoga…