Star Trek turns 50 today – and there's beautifully designed postage stamps to celebrate

Design firm The Heads of State and USPS have created these commemorative Star Trek stamps featuring wonderfully retro illustrations.

Today, Star Trek turns 50 – and to mark the anniversary the US Postal Service has released a boldly-designed set of four commerative stamps based on the franchise.

These stamps have been produced by Philidelpha-based design agency The Heads of State, in a year-long project working with the USPS's in-house agency Studio 1A.

Despite the Star Trek universe featuring four TV shows, 12 movies (including the two recent reboots, with two more on its way) and more novels than you can shake a Tribble at – the stamps keep it old-school, focussing on the original series (TOS to Trek fans).

This was one of the key parts of the brief from the USPS, The Heads of State designer Woody Harrington told Wired. Also, the studio couldn't use the likeness of any particular actor for legal reasons – though no-one's going to be any doubt as to who's being beamed up in the stamp shown here.

The resulting stamps have a rough feel while using simplified versions of the show's icons symbols and shapes – which allows them to be significantly different enough from the show itself to feel fresh, and work at a couple of inches tall without feeling too much like those minimalist movie posters we went nuts for a few years ago.

This stamp combines Star Trek's Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701) with the Starfleet insignia.

In this stamp design, the Starship Enterprise sits within the negative space within a hand in the form of a Vulcan salute, most associated with the character of Spock in the original show.

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There is something rather charming about this childlike drawing of the Starship Enterprise, surrounding a planet perhaps-unexplored-by-the-Federation.