Scenic Artists Michael and Denise Okuda, best known for their creative designs for the Star Trek franchise and other iconic space adventure productions, will receive the Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) Lifetime Achievement Award from the Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists (STG), at the 26th Annual ADG Awards.
The Awards ceremony, set for Saturday, March 5, 2022, will return to a live event next year at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown in the Wilshire Grand Ballroom.
The award will spotlight the Okudas’ artistic contributions to many of the memorable space-related dramas, their collaborations as creative producers for new visual effects, and their expert status as authors of The Star Trek Encyclopedia, among many other stellar accomplishments. This is the first of four Lifetime Achievement Awards to be announced by the Art Directors Guild.
“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,” said Clint Schultz, STG Council Chair. “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. On behalf of the Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists council, we proudly salute the Lifetime Achievements of Michael and Denise Okuda. They continue to work and inspire all of us within the craft and are the true definition of teamwork.”
Michael Okuda is lead graphic designer on everything Star Trek and has earned screen credit on more Star Trek productions than anyone except creator Gene Roddenberry. A multiple Emmy nominee, he is responsible for everything from designing control panels to inventing alien written languages on the many Star Trek iterations. His involvement in space hasn’t been limited to fiction. He has designed various emblems and logos for NASA and has designs which can be found at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, the Planetary Society and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
His work hasn’t been limited to space movies, as it includes such productions as The West Wing, Sully and Richard Jewell. Michael is a member of the Television Academy, the Art Directors Guild, the Visual Effects Society and is an affiliate member of the Manned Spaceflight Operations Association. With all his accomplishments, he has one ambition yet to be fulfilled—to be the first graphic artist in space.
Denise Okuda was video/computer playback supervisor and graphic artist on seven Star Trek television shows and motion pictures. Other credits include pilots for Threshold, Star Patrol!, The Flash and The Osiris Chronicles. She recently served as a graphics consultant on the Netflix series Space Force.
Among the many other Star Trek-related projects she and husband Michael have worked on are the writing of several editions of The Star Trek Encyclopedia, two editions of The Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future, and On Board the U.S.S. Enterprise. She was even a medical consultant to the Star Trek writing staff.
To honor her creative work, Denise received the Spectrum Award, presented by the Cal State Los Angeles Eagle Con. She is a member of the Art Directors Guild and lives happily in Los Angeles with husband Michael and their two dogs. Michael and Denise currently serve as technical advisors on the AppleTV+ space drama For All Mankind.
The ADG Awards honor excellence in Production Design in theatrical motion pictures, television, commercials, music videos and animated feature films. Producer of this year’s ADG Awards is Art Director Michael Allen Glover, ADG (The Alienist, Solos and the upcoming Station Eleven). Joining the team as stage designer is Emmy®-winning Production Designer Brian J. Stonestreet, ADG (Golden Globes®, Grammy Awards®, Billboard Awards®).
Additional ADG Lifetime Achievement Award honorees from the Production Designers and Art Directors Council (AD), the Set Designers & Model Makers Council (SDMM), and the Illustrators & Matte Artists Council (IMA) will be announced shortly.
A complete list of past honorees can be found on ADG’s website.