Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Collecting Commandments And Absolute Damnation

The first Absolute Football case break has been posted on blowout, and I think this may be the first year where I wont even buy a single or pack even. To borrow from Mario, the set pretty much breaks all of my commandments of card design, especially in the content of the set. Ill go over a few of them here in the context of the pictures posted by the user.

Thou Shalt Not Use Rainbow Foil Board

I talked earlier on how awful the use of rainbow foil and mirror board has become. Absolute is ENTIRELY printed on it. Every card. Every single fucking card. The cards look ridiculous in a bad way, almost making the practice of "collecting a rainbow" a new thing entirely. The condition of the cards out of the packs are obviously going to be the same as last year, something that everyone thought was a huge drawback to this set.

Thou Shalt Not Obscure The Player On The Card

There is no worse practice in cards than when a player is hidden by needless additions to a card. In this set, there are MANY examples of players being more than 50% disrupted by a swatch window. I really couldn’t care less about having a ginormous swatch on a card, as design will always be more important. When that mammoth swatch covers up the player, I would rather run my hand through a wood chipper than pay my money to get one of them. In 2005, DLP managed to put together a great set in the tools of the trade giant swatch set, and NONE of the swatches were intrusive on the actual subject's picture.

Thou Shalt Not Use Event Used Football Swatches

Its one thing to use a swatch of a football from the rookie premiere that was tossed around for two throws before going in a bucket (10 per player!), but to force it into the design of the card when its not needed, deserves even more lightning from the heavens in smitten anger. Donini is weirdly obsessed with including these swatches of football into as many products as it can, despite the fact that they have less connection to the player than a jersey worn around for 30 seconds. Its really unfortunate.

Thou Shalt Not Break Line Borders With Swatch Windows

If you are going to put die cuts and oddly shaped swatch windows into a product, you have to fit it seemlessly into the design. That means creating the borders to fit the placement, not just plopping them willy nilly whereever you want. Take a look at the line borders of the cards featuring swatches, and not just the edges of the cards. Each line could be considered a border, and when you have swatches that break those lines, it looks amateurish and poorly conceived. A line should never be broken by a swatch window, unless it makes sense in the context of the design. This set is ripe with cards that break every last word of this commandment.

Thou Shalt Not Overuse Parallels In ANY Product

Although Tracy Hack-ler thinks that Donruss never uses many parallels in their products, they are known industry wide for the practice of paralleling their cards to hell. Absolute is a testament to that fact, with the set featuring humongous numbers of needless parallels of each card. Like many Donruss products, each card has a series of parallels of the non-hit base card, a jersey parallel, a patch parallel, an auto parallel, and an auto jersey parallel, and an auto patch parallel. That means there could be in upwards of ten parallels for every subset in the product (this is the DLP standard). Tools of the trade takes it to a whole new level, with a good percentage of the cards featuring more than 20 parallels, including a parallel series without a swatch. That is just absurd in every way.

Thou Shalt Not Lie About All Star Game Jerseys

If you remember, Topps has used their flagship product and Triple Threads in baseball to showcase all star game swatches, when really they are just jerseys used in a topps event with the players. All star game jerseys are extremely hard to come by, as many players want to keep them as a memento of the game, therefore making them sought after items by jersey collectors. This year, Absolute has an entire fucking subset of tools of the trade dedicated to the "jerseys," when really they seem to be not even close to being game worn. The cards also say "event worn" leading us to believe these were just slipped on and off at the pro bowl just like the rookies at the premiere.

(This one breaks more than one commandment!)

Thou Shalt Use Bright Backgrounds With Sticker Autos

Since Panini RARELY uses on card autos, Absolute is 100% sticker autos. The problem is that many of the stickers are slapped onto cards that feature blocks of dark colors. The rookie premiere materials cards are a focus of this set, and many of the team colors are featured in some way in weirdly designed line blasts. These awful looking blocks of color created by the line blasts cross the places where the stickers go. Because teams like the Vikings and others use darker colors, those rookies autos are interrupted. At least it still looks better than Topps using bordered boxes for theirs.

Its really too bad that Absolute has made it to a point of parody, as it used to be a favorite set of mine. I bought one solitary single last year, was disappointed and gave up on the set altogether. This year im not even going to waste my time. What a waste.


  1. I love the set. Happy with Panini on it.


  2. Make sure you guys go to the link. The filthiest cards were ignored by the article... Awesome patches. The pro bowl patch of Polamalu and Cutler some of the best in the buisness. The carson palmer is incredible. Gellman you let me down after reading your article and going over to the link I see you left some nasty ass cards out of it. Every set has a cpuple fo bad design subs. This set is 90% approved in my book.. Wonder if it was UD what you would say ;)
    Your tag of Beckett's Little Miss says a ton..No bigger little miss of Beckett then UD..


  3. Wheels, I know its not personal with you, but this last comment was crap. I dont like the set for the reasons I explained, and even those "nasty " cards you talk about look truly gross to me. Im glad you like the set, that is your opinion, though. It has nothing to do with who makes the set, it has everything to do with the crap design elements they use, and continue to use for every set for that matter.

    As for the ones I left out, I hate those pro-bowl cards, they dont even work in any single way for me. The windows are weird, the design is weird, and the foil board ties it up with a gross little bow. I wont touch any of this, but feel free to go and buy as much as you want, Im not going to say you shouldnt if this floats your boat.

  4. I have to agree with your comandments here. Absolute is an over designed and out of contol set full of way to many junk swatches and balls etc...

  5. Gellman, you're going a bit astray with your criticism here. There are some really nice pieces in the product..

    The Warroom Moreno looks pretty nice, there isn't of the foil on that one which displeases you so much..same with that Fred Taylor and the Willie Parker, to boot. The last two are game-worn, might I add..

    The Palmer and Fitz absolute patches look great, not to mention that they're game-worn as well.

    I think Panini meant "event-worn" in this case because they actually wore them AT the Pro-bowl, but didn't use them for the game. The Ronnie Brown TottT has a event-game-used jersey, I'm guessing he used that in the pro bowl.

    Now, I usually never buy this stuff; but there are some saving graces out of it.

  6. There are some cards from this set that make me wonder...what the hell did they do with the rookie RPM'S? They have the letter cutouts in the reverse order as to what they should be...it looks alright..but those cards look ugly..the RPM'S!!

  7. I think Panini meant "event-worn" in this case because they actually wore them AT the Pro-bowl, but didn't use them for the game. The Ronnie Brown TottT has a event-game-used jersey, I'm guessing he used that in the pro bowl.

    They can say that because they actually inserted a game jersey (non-pro bowl) with the event worn pro-bowl jersey.