When I Was a Custom Card Designer: 2010 GameDay – Part I

Posted: January 4, 2013 by Crackin Wax in 2010, GameDay Graphers, Minnesota Twins
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The design of the 2010 GameDay Graphers came during a retooling of the 2009 design. Instead of using the new design in 2009, I decided to hold off until the following season. The ’09 design offered some good things, such as plenty of space for signatures, but seemed to offer more negatives, such as very little space for good player photography. While the horizontal aspect of the ’09 cards lent itself to much larger signatures, it took away from a real baseball card feel. There’s just something about the portrait aspect that screams “don’t mess with tradition!” While it was my goal to offer something new in the way of custom cards, I also aimed to honor the tradition of the majority of trading cards.

One thing that I did keep from the ’09 concept was the use of specific dates and the events that took place during those dates. I also continued to use photographs of players from those specific dates and, in some cases, images of players actually accomplishing the feats in which their cards are dedicated.

I also felt the need to take the GameDay “brand” a step further by incorporating a technique that I had never seen anyone else attempt before–homemade refractoring. The final assembled and refractored product actually has a layer of incandescence on the top of the card. When you move the card around in the light, the top layer of the card takes on a purple hue. That effect was difficult to capture on scanner and camera without picking up a lot of glare, but you should be able to see the difference between the digital versions and the photos of the finished cards.

Another new addition to the design are light bursts that come from behind the players. This effect in the first few 2010 GameDay Graphers was not fully developed and therefore looks static and generic. As I designed more and more cards, the light bursts became more complex and more playful. You’ll notice that they are no longer simply stuck behind the players. Instead, they seem to move around body parts, between legs and even through glove webbings. It was a painstaking process but one that I am proud of.

Also, as more cards were developed, I decided to drop the usage of the old MLB Rookie Card graphic and designed my own method of denoting rookies–a textured yellow bar on the left of the card with the words “ROOKIE SEASON” embossed into the bar.

Finally, the backs of the cards underwent a major change as well. Photos of the players are still used. However, instead of masking the player completely out of the photo, much of the photo remains intact and is instead cut into an arch–the same major shape used on the front as the autograph area. Game and/or player stats have also been replaced by actual game day statistics and trivia specific to a particular game featured on the card.

You’ll notice in the samples below that I did not waste time designing cards unless I knew for sure that they were going to get signed. With the exception of one player who was traded, one player who I had sign something else, and one Hall of Famer sadly passing away, I did not end up with many unsigned, blank cards.

CLICK TO VIEW LARGER VERSION

ORLANDO CABRERA

CARL PAVANO

JEFF MANSHIP

MICHAEL CUDDYER

JESSE CRAIN

JASON KUBEL

BRENDAN HARRIS

As you’ve probably noticed, the light bursts seemed to have gotten better with each card. When Part II is posted, you’ll see that they continued to improve. The autograph area seemed to work quite well, except in instances when the player took liberties in where they signed. *cough* Manship *cough* By the way, anyone notice that I tweaked the “GameDay” logo for this series? It just looked a bit too chunky in the ’09 set, so I scaled it back a little bit.

The next installment of WIWACCD, 2010 GameDay – Part II, will feature the rest of the Twins Grapher cards. Then, after that, I unleash my first ever book cards. Difficult as hell to make, but they look sweet as hell. Also, if the Vikings win tomorrow night, I’ll post on Sunday the only GameDay Graphers football card I’ve ever made.

GO PACK!!
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