Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Topps Unique and Companies Mailing It In

Yeah, yeah, I know that I sound like a broken record when it comes to products as of late, and to tell you the truth, im starting to feel like one. With the recent release of Topps Unique onto the scene, I again find myself with facepalms and rolly eyes all around. I feel like there are few good practices being built upon when it comes to designing new products, and again Topps steps right in to disappoint with their last set as a football card manufacturer. You would think they would want to go out with a bang, but instead they just slap a template from a lackluster baseball product onto a new football product that has already had mixed reviews.

My review is anything but mixed, as I cant see anything in Unique that actually lives up to the title of the set. Besides the fact that Topps has AGAIN built the auto stickers into the design to draw your eye, the actual design of the card could be the most boring ever made. See, the thing about Topps is for the past few sets, they have tried to trick collectors into fawning over their cards by giving huge patches and calling it a day. Rather than putting thought into creating a good looking set, they basically resigned their products to "oh well, the patches are huge so they wont care." That’s what pisses me off! The truth behind the curtain is that all the cards look like rejected stock MS Powerpoint slide backgrounds, but they think they can get away with it by giving you oversized patches. The sad thing is, lots of people are missing the truth boat, and that’s where I lose hope. Why would anyone want to pay hundreds for a boring looking card that looks like an amateur with photoshop started playing around with the background tools? Yeah, I get it, they have big patches. But honestly, who fucking cares when the cards put me to sleep?

This may be the first time you ever hear me complement Triple threads, but I am going to. At least with Triple Threads it looked like they put effort into making it exciting. They failed miserably with the whole thing, but at least they tried. With this, they just mailed it in. The problem with that is the collectors are basically giving the manufacturers a green light to make shitty sets as long as the cards have big swatches. People have often questioned why SPA's stuff is always worth so much money despite the mid range cost of the box, and my response is that its because it ALWAYS looks classy. Unique looks bush league in just about every way. There are a few cards that look okay, but it falls under the addage that even the Cleveland Browns stumble upon a Josh Cribbs every once in a while.

Luckily for me, this is probably going to be the last Topps set that I have to talk about for a long time. Unfortunately, Panini is taking up the fallen flag pretty quickly on the other side, as evidenced hard core by this year's Absolute and National Treasures. The difference there is that Panini's sets look like they at least put in some kind of effort in copying the previous year's design so that people wouldn’t notice the laziness.

Overall, my mantra is pretty simple with the release of upcoming products, especially when they break the golden rule of Topps. Don’t let yourself be blinded by big swatches when the set looks like elephant poop. Anyone can throw a huge patch into a set, but it takes true effort and knowhow to make it look good. Even if you are player collector that wonders when the next time you will have a shot at the whole laundry tag of you favorite target, step back and really think about it before buying. Make the companies work for your business, and Topps Unique doesn’t show that they did.


  1. In the end, people buy lots of TTT, Sterling, and they are still buying Performance (bwah?). I think people really care less about design (sad, sad, sad). I saw this years Rookies & Stars and wondered if I'd stepped into a graphic design time machine to 5-8 years ago. THAT said, all companies have designs I hate and designs I love. I think it all depends on which designer has enough time to do it right (as opposed to rushing product).

  2. The Jumbo patch designs in Unique are nice and simple. When you buy a jumbo patch card, and pay the high price for it, what is your reason for doing that? The Jumbo patch. As such it's to be expected that it is the focal point of the card, with the rest of the card being nice and simple to not detract from the patch. These cards do that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, other than from your perspective they are not done by Upper Douche.

    You constantly have a go at Panini for the weird lines and colors going on in the background of the cards, and now have a go at Topps for producing simple, plain designs, but you shit your pants over this years SP Authentic RC auto jersey cards even though half of the card background is plain white and the other half is a bunch of weird lines and colors - a combination of the 2.

  3. Not every card can be perfect. However, there is a 2009 Bowman Sterling auto gold refractor Peterson/Harvin auto (6/15) on ebay right now that I doubt any company can top(ps). I looks amazing.

    Granted the Topps Unique card probably should not have used a green background. A purple and gold one would look a lot better. Maybe Topps is not color coordinated sometimes

  4. Alex, first of all, your tone is fucking annoying. Stop acting like you are BMOC, and come down to a level where we can converse like normal people. I have said that before and I am getting tired of you very quickly. Even if we agreed on things, it wouldnt matter when you speak the way you do.

    Secondly, to respond to your "comment," I chastise Panini over the busy cards they produce because they are just that. I am chastising Topps Unique NOT because these designs are simple, but because the look like little effort was put in. Its boring. Get your facts straight before you come charging in on your high horse.

    Now, the reason I have "shit my pants" over SPA is because the simplicity of the design looks amazing, not because its simple in design. You ranting and raving about "Upper Douche" doesnt change my mind, nor would I expect my commentary to change yours. However, I dont resort to pot shots at you without provocation, and thats where we differ.