Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Panini could be winning

Over the past few years, I've been really unimpressed with Topps. There have been some exceptions, but as a whole, I feel their designs and card products are pretty lackluster. I know they receive a lot of flack and hating on them is the cool thing to do.

Some of it is warranted. Some is not.

But I just don't think they care about the aesthetics of most of their cards.

As a child of the 90s, I like flashy cards. I like inserts that feel special. Ones that feel rare and nit because they are low-numbered.

Instead, we get things like 150 Years of Baseball that are fairly bland and lack much design thought, and the company just wants to stuff as many subjects into the set as possible.

I miss the 10-card RBI Kings or Wave of the Futures. I miss looking forward to the card that is not like the others in each pack, as opposed to having to squint at the backs of cards looking for microscopic codes to see if I pulled a special card.

Not everyone agrees, and thats fine. One era of collectors prefers a big base set and that's it. Some prefer all the parallels and latest prospects. I prefer a time when inserts were shiny, thoughtful, whacky, and even a bit asymmetrical.

Lately, I've been gravitating towards some of Panini's cards. The logo-less photos are hard to get around. I still don't love it. But their designs can be really interesting. I'm not talking about the weird 2020 emoji cards. I'm talking about Lumberjacks. Like this:
I mentioned on Twitter it looks like a car air freshener. This card could be dangling from the mirror of a cab. It's so cool. And it's even textured. That's what I like. This is something Pacific would have done. They made card ornaments, after all.

Another card that caught my eye was this Prizm. It's an Illumination. That doesn't mean anything to me. I'm not smart enough to know which Panini set is which, but when something like this catches my eye, I try to make it mine. The colorful jewels looks awesome.
I'm not a Panini stan. Not at all. A lot of what they do is awful. And the logo situation is crap. And I rarely see them in stores. And when I do the packs have four cards in them.

But their cards look better than Topps' do right now, and it's not particularly close.


  1. While Topps could step up their game a bit, I still wouldn't put Panini over them. Even if they had MLB logos, I just couldn't do it. Too many cut corners.

  2. On the bright side these are pretty good cards. On the bad side these are going to drive player collectors nuts.

  3. Good stuff. Inspired me to snag one of those Illumination cards on COMC.

  4. Personally... I think the problem with Topps is that they're all about quantity over quality. They should cut the number of insert sets they produce in half... and spend twice as much time on card design/innovation. If they did that... and actually limited the number of inserts they produced, maybe they'd be more than dime box fodder.

    As for Panini... I totally agree... some of their inserts are pretty cool. But the lack of logos is a huge downside.

  5. The Lumberjacks card is fantastic, and unless you're going out of your way to look for them, you really don't notice the lack of logos, or at least on the Judge you don't.