Wednesday, March 5, 2014

2014 Topps - First Look

I'm trying out a new drawing program and a new idea for a blog post.  Tell me what you think.

One of the things I like about baseball cards is comparing the various design elements and how they work together on a card. Let's look at the design elements on 2014 Topps. All in all, I have only a few complaints. It's one of the cleaner designs in recent years which appeals to me. 

White border - This is the 11th year in a row that Topps has chosen white as the border for the base set. It's time for something new.

Bowman-like element - I'm not sure I like this. I've liked it well enough on Bowman, but is it a good idea to incorporate design elements from other sets into the flagship set?  Also, putting the team name here seems superfluous since there is a team logo.

Silver wave - I like this. I might like it more if it wasn't in silver foil, say in the corresponding team color. The photo has a green border for the A's. What if the wave was yellow?

Silver foil on white - I've long complained about silver foil on black.

Close-cropped photos - A lot of the cards I've gotten have very tight cropping, even the action shots. It makes for some interesting cards.

Team color as highlight - a pretty common practice but used sparingly here. The color is subtle rather than overwhelming.

Logo - Nice logo placement.

Easy to read team name - in some years, Topps made it very difficult to read the player's team name. See 2012 as an example.

All white background - unusual for Topps to have so little color on the back.

Tiny position indicator - they made up for an easy to read team name by using smaller font on the player position, and then putting it in a weird place on the card.

Design element from the front - Common on recent Topps designs. More understated than past years. Generally understated is good.

Clear card number - always a good thing.

Fully licensed - of course. You have to see both logos.

Horizontal orientation - The last vertically oriented card back was 2000 Topps. Another change long overdue.

No photo - third year in a row with no photo of any sort on the back. Topps has included photos on 8 years since 2000. That's 8 of the 15 years, so not so uncommon to not have a photo. Personally I prefer a photo on the back.

Complete career stats - always a hallmark of the Topps flagship set. But are stats even necessary anymore? At one time, baseball cards were probably the best place to get stats but with the Internet, all kinds of stats are easily available. It would be a radical change for Topps. For that matter, you can find lots of photos of your favorite players on-line, so are baseball cards even necessary?  I'm not prepared to go that far.


Ryan G said...

I like the analytical approach. And the graphics are pretty cool.

I agree - white borders are getting old, and the dual logo/team name and Bowman carryover is somewhat lazy. But as you say, the overall design is nice and clean.

And as for the backs, the layout is essentially the same as it's been for... well, ever. That's fine, though. I think the text-only backs with lots of statistical information (including complete career stats) is what set Topps apart from the other companies, and now it sets it apart from the other Topps sets.

Besides, what would you replace it with? A short paragraph like you find on all the other baseball cards? Baseball cards aren't the internet, and collecting photos online (uh, copying images) isn't the same as collecting cardboard.

I know you're playing devil's advocate with that question, but really every hobby has no purpose.

Why building model trains? There are real ones. Why paint? I can see things in photographs. Why collect anything, watch TV, go to the movies, buy $50 A&F t-shirts...

The Baseball Card Snob said...

I don't think you will see any changes to the white borders of the flagship product for a long time.

Topps has carved out a nice niche with all the different colored parallels. What color did you have in mind?

Red? - Target
Blue? - Wal-Mart
Black? - #ed parallel
Gold? - #ed to that year parallel
Purple? - Toys R Us
Green? - just started that this year
Yellow? - see green
Pink? - #ed parallel

You get the idea. The only color I can see is Silver, and I think a totally Silver card screams PARALLEL.