Discovery Font

pIqaD Discovery.jpg
Discovery pIqaD

DSC01 opening.jpg
Opening scene from ep. 1 with the phrase ghoSlI' chaH


pIqaD Netflix Ad.jpg
Netflix Ad

DSC105 RaiderScreen1.jpg
Raider control panel from ep.5
For the new series of Star Trek: Discovery a new font to display Klingon characters based on the KLI's pIqaD was created. This font was designed in 2016 by Andy Tsang, with guidance and suggestions on legibility from DSC Klingon translator Robyn Stewart. The font was not released at once, but was used in several promotional activities, completing the alphabet bit by bit. The font was first used as a Klingon subtitle of the first phrase spoken in the pilot and it also appeared on a computer screen in episode 5 of DSC, so it is canon at least from the Star Trek canon point of view.

Creation history

written by Robyn Stewart (1)
The designer of the pIqaD fonts used in Star Trek: Discovery and [the font used in] its publicity materials is Andy Tsang. He okayed me naming him.

I was introduced to him after he had designed ... I'll just say "more than one" pIqaD font, based on a lot of research he had done looking at existing pIqaD. I reviewed his work, indicating what letters were too similar or too odd to be easily recognizable, and he made some tweaks. I had to admit that we don't know what the defining characteristics of the fonts are to native speakers. Perhaps we're depending on serifs that might not be present in other fonts. One of my e-mails mentioned of a particular iteration, "The Say looks enough like a ghay that if a student had designed the font, I would tell them it was too confusing, but you guys ARE Star Trek so you get to do some things that fans don't, including declaring that Klingons don't find that confusing at all."

It was one of my first assignments, may even have been my very first one, so I hadn't yet assimilated the fact that I too am now Star Trek. I'm also not a font professional, and given that I'm fond of Comic Sans, may not be trustworthy with respect to what is a suitable font. I might be more assertive doing the same task today, but you had better believe that Andy is respectful of what he is building on. At one point he mused that someday *his* fonts might be on those fan pages that he had studied, clearly aspiring to that height. I smiled to myself, and less than a week later was able to send him a link to Lieven's Wiki [i.e. this Klingon Language Wiki] showing the partial font teased out of the publicity material. The request for me to do the qul yIchu' publicity translation came before we had finalized the fonts, so it's possible that it was a non-final version of that font, never to be seen again.

I also told Andy that fans had already found and translated Kahless' last message on the nebeylI' plinth, and he said, "Wow that's insane!" I hope your enthusiasm for these details leads to more almost-hidden Klingon detail on sets and props.

First appearance

On 12 December 2016, CBS announced three actors for Klingon roles.(2) They did so using a klingon phrase. (3) The phrase is written in pIqaD using the new Klingon font. The phrase reads: ghetwI' luwIvlu'ta'. qul yIchu' The provided correct translation says "The actors have been chosen. Light the Fire." STDiscovery Klingon.png

Grammatical detail

It is interesting to see the use of the word ghetwI' for "actor". It surely is the correct choice, but we have seen Okrand use the word DawI' as well. The latter had been used in the Hamlet translation, long before the word ghetwI' was revealed. See ➞ actor for details.

On first sight, it may seem that a better way so say "make a fire" would be using the verb chenmoH, as we know from the replacement proverb DopDaq qul yIchenmoH QobDI' ghu' - "Set fire on the side when there is danger." The word chu' is usually used only for devices. In the official announcement(4), this seems to be chosen on purpose, as the word "Fire" is written in upper case and the page mentions "We'll let you discover what that really means." Later previews of the show made clear they are referring to the torchbearer lighting the ceremonial fire with his already-lit torch. He or she is not *creating* a fire, but using an existing flame to *activate* a larger fire.


In the discussion about this phrase in the Facebook group "Learn Klingon", Lawrence M. Schoen mentioned that the KLI had been contacted and sent in their phrases "on Wednesday" (i.e. 07 Dec 2016). Schoen provided them sentences using the noun DawI', but they were not used. In a private message, Marc Okrand confirmed that he was not involved in the translation of the phrase.(5) After it had been revealed that Robyn Stewart is doing the job as Klingon translator, she has confirmed that she had also done this phrase (6).

Publicity appearance

The new Discovery font has been used in three images displaying famous Klingon phrases from The Klingon Way. These phrases are:
  • 6 Sep 2017: meQtaHbogh qachDaq Suv qoH neH "Only a fool fights in a burning house." (TKW, p. 111)
  • 7 Sep 2017: bortaS bIr jablu'DI' reH QaQqu' nay' "Revenge is a dish best served cold." (TKW, p. 133)
  • 9 Sep. 2017: qaStaHvIS wa' ram loS[]SaD Hugh SIjlaH qetbogh loD "Four thousand throats may be cut in one night by a running man." (TKW, p. 127)
    Note: The number loSSaD "4,000" is written without a space here, while the phrase in TKW does have a space.

An advertisement made by Netflix in Germany showed another phrase. The phrase is tlhIngan maHtaH 'e' wIHech "We intend to remain Klingon".

On screen usage

This new font was actually the very first thing that was seen on Star Trek: Discovery, being a subtitle for the words spoken by T'Kuvma: ghoSlI' chaH They are coming. It later returned on the control panel onboard a Klingon Raider in during episode 5. See ➞ pIqaD used in Discovery for details.

Technical details

  • The font is not available for download, nor has it been published by the producers of Star Trek: Discovery.
  • Lieven L. Litaer has created a font file based on the published images. His symbols used for punctuation do not correspond to those designed for DSC, which are using a closed triangle, while this font uses chevrons.
pIqaD Discovery.png

Detailed letter apparition chart for nerds

Glyph date source
a 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
b 6 Sep 2017 TKW phrase meQtaHbogh...
ch 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
D 6 Sep 2017 TKW phrase meQtaHbogh...
e 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
gh 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
H 6 Sep 2017 TKW phrase meQtaHbogh...
I 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
j 7 Sep 2017 TKW phrase bortaS bIr...
l 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
m 6 Sep 2017 TKW phrase meQtaHbogh...
n 6 Sep 2017 TKW phrase meQtaHbogh...
ng xx Sep 2017 Street ad
o 6 Sep 2017 TKW phrase meQtaHbogh...
p 15 Oct 2017 episode 5 Raider screen
q 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
Q 6 Sep 2017 TKW phrase meQtaHbogh...
r 7 Sep 2017 TKW phrase bortaS bIr...
S 6 Sep 2017 TKW phrase meQtaHbogh...
t 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
tlh xx Sep 2017 Street ad
u 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
v 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
w 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
y 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement
' 12 Dec 2016 actors announcement

Additional Fonts

When a Discovery merchandise T-shirt appeared in 2019, it was clear that there must be more versions of pIqaD created for Discovery. In October 2020, an employee of the production site had given away some on screen used Klingon letters and some productions sheets of 2016 that reveal information on the different font types designed for Discovery. Those sheets included the names of the different font types. Note that these letters are not sorted by Klingon alphabetical order, but by order of mapped keys (so ng appears after e).

Klingon Discovery - Helvetica 2

This is the font described above and used in all public announcements. The production sheet has it labeled as "primary options". DiscoveryFontHelvetica2.png

Klingon Discovery - TNG Slim

This font resembles the KLI pIqaD the most. It was used in the announcement posters of STLV 2017 and on the Netflix posters with the same images. On the sheet it is also labeled as "primary options".


Klingon Discovery - Serif Bold

Saying this font has serifs might be too much, but as opposed to the Helvetica font, this one has pointed edges that makes it look like written with a pencil.

Klingon Discovery - Serif Thin

Similar to the above mentioned Serif Bold, this font is written with very thin lines.

Klingon Discovery - Greek

Similar to Helvetica, but with a slight "Ancient Greek" appearance.

Klingon Discovery - Alien Brush

This font looks like hand written with a big brush. It was used on the street signs on the Orion Market in episode 1.15.

Klingon Discovery - Helvetica

Very similar to Helvetica 2.


1 : Message on Facebook on the Facebook page Klingon Language in the next Star Trek  , by Robyn Stewart, on 07 Aug 2017

2 : Qapla' - Discovery Introduces The Klingons,, 12 Dec 2016

3 , 4 : Star Trek: Discovery Reveals Klingon Characters, on, 12 Dec 2016 11:05 a.m.

5 : Email to Lieven L. Litaer of 12 Dec 2016

6 : private message to Lieven L. Litaer of 7 August 2017

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