Thursday, August 20, 2009

Topps - You Have Destroyed My Faith In The Future

Dear Topps,

After seeing the previews for Topps Triple Threads baseball, Topps Triple Threads football, and now Topps Unique Baseball, I must say that my faith in your design team is completely gone. It saddens me to think that the priorties for the products focus more on filling the card fronts with needless numbers of swatches than getting the design to a point where it looks favorable. On top of all of this, not one of your products other than Bowman has hard signed signatures, including the ones that cost more than $150 a box.

I understand that you want the cards to look like they are worthy of the price tag you put on the box, but when each card has a large foil sticker with borders built into the design, I automatically wonder why you couldn’t just use a clear sticker on a white or clear background with no border. Why do you always have to remind us that you use stickers, especially considering that every other company has found out how to use the labels effectively without compromising the design. Also, I know that Topps is one of the two companies that has the means to obtain hard signed cards, but a lazy temperment has taken over where innovation used to reside.

When I first saw the new product, weirdly named "Unique," the first thought that popped into my head was how un-unique the preview cards looked. It was almost as if someone had taken a stock powerpoint slide background, spliced in some tiny player pictures and called it a day. Yes, the swatches were cut from the most sought after parts of the jersey, but it wont make a difference when the cards look the way they do. One shining beacon of the boredom contained in this product is the Chipper Jones. True, the preview mockup shows a nice patch, but who could even care when you fall asleep mid gaze? Were you trying to avoid all essence of a well planned card? Are you even trying any more?

Triple Threads is not that much of an improvement over Unique's shortfalls, as the product still focuses more on the amount of included swatches than the design. As long as the list of priorities promotes spelled out words over content and design, I will continue to duck this and future products whenever I can. The fact of the matter is that just because you can stuff all those windows onto a card, doesn’t mean you actually need to try. The "less is more" concept has been abandoned with all of your High End products, as it has become more about showcasing the excess rather than working wonders with simplicity. Then, when you also factor that the Triple Threads brand has not changed in over four years, the stale stench coming from the design begins to stink even more.

Topps, the competition you will face in coming years will be even greater now that Major League Baseball has devoted its logos solely to your products. To continue to produce cards that do not look as if they were actually cared about will damage any rapport you have with the people who drive your business. The sooner you adapt to work on better design rather than how many panels you can attach to a card, things will improve. Until then, I feel as though your lack of planning has ripped any confidence I have in your products' prospects of being worthwhile to any collector. Thank you for destroying any hope I have for the future of the baseball card industry.

Disgustfully Yours,

(Thanks To Mario For The Exclusive Image)


  1. Regarding hard signed signatures: both Allen & Ginter and Heritage had hard signed cards, so Topps does do it but more so at the low to mid-range price point as opposed to high end.

  2. As the Ripmaster would say, "Wooooooooow!". That card looks like dookie.

  3. "When I first saw the new product, weirdly named "Unique," the first thought that popped into my head was how un-unique the preview cards looked."

    My thoughts exactly.

  4. Not defending sticker autographs but the recently released Topps Chrome Baseball also had on-card autographs, as were all but one of the 2008 Stadium Club Baseball rookies.

  5. This is like Topps Sterling Lite.

    Or maybe they will change Sterling to Unique Chrome.

  6. Considering how Upper Deck's baseball "design team" and quality control people have mailed it in for the last two years, I'm not sure why you're losing faith in Topps.

    Just about EVERYTHING UD has put out for baseball is lacking in innovation.