Actually, the basic shape was my idea and Sean fleshed it out. I was always a fan of the USS Centaur from DS9 and wanted a ship with that basic look with the addition of an attached secondary hull. I thought the big distinction of the Ares would be this, that it did NOT look like the Enterprise, but you could draw a line from one to the other.
The other big influence was this:
Then we just had to make both ships fit into a pre-TOS timeline. You might disagree about what you think a pre-TOS ship should look like, but it is a tough process, since we have no reference.