Rank insignia were generally used by cultures that wear uniforms. In humanoids, rank can be displayed by stripes (such as braid) on the sleeves or epaulet, or in the form of pins (like pips and lozenges), embroidered insignia, and patches. These of course differ between civilizations.
Lists of rank insignia
- Cardassian ranks
- Bajoran ranks
- Ferengi ranks
- Klingon ranks
- MACO ranks
- Romulan ranks
- Starfleet ranks
- Terran Empire ranks
- Vulcan ranks
Braid or stripes
"To show your gold braid to everyone. You love it, don't you."
Braid (or stripes) were bands of fabric or metallic material designed to denote rank on a uniform. Officers of Earth's United States Navy wore rank stripes on sleeves and epaulets. That system was similar to insignia used in some eras of Starfleet history. (TOS: "The Man Trap", "The Naked Time"; DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")
The Earth Starfleet of the 22nd century used rank stripes on dress uniforms for officers and on the standard jackets of flag officers. The mirror universe's Terran Starfleet used stripes on the standard uniform epaulets for officers, and both the epaulets and sleeves for flag officers.
In the 2250s, Starfleet used stripes of braid for both officers and non-commissioned officers, on the sleeves of standard uniforms and on the epaulets of dress uniforms. By the 2260s, only officers above ensign wore sleeve rank stripes, and only on standard uniforms. The 2260s dress uniforms denoted rank by braid around the collar, again only for officers. In the 2270s, all officers wore rank stripes, either on the sleeves or epaulet, depending on the uniform.
Chevron and rocker
Chevrons and rockers were stripe insignia that were used in many of Earth's land, air, and naval forces to denote enlisted rank.
Epaulettes were devices worn on the shoulder, quite frequently to denote rank or grade, or perhaps honor.
The lozenge was what was commonly referred to as a diamond. It was found in a deck of playing cards, and in the rank of a first sergeant.
Pips were the small metal pins worn to denote rank, particularly on 23rd and 24th century Starfleet uniforms. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", TNG: "Cause and Effect", "The Pegasus"; DS9: "The Adversary", "The Visitor", "Rules of Engagement"; VOY: "Thirty Days", "Unimatrix Zero")
Stars, in the vernacular of rank insignia, were insignia, often used to denote flag officers. The United States armed forces used groups of these insignia for generals and admirals. A similar approach was used by Starfleet, as flag officer epaulet insignia in the 2270s. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "Paradise Lost")