Saturday, April 6, 2019
Define the design: 19T
Trying to come up with a name that sums up a set is easier some years than others.
Sometimes you get lucky and Topps puts a waterslide on every card and a Define the Design name is born within a day of seeing the cards. That's what happened last year. And the year before that, it didn't take me too long to realize that Topps dropped a bunch of steel girders at the bottom of every 2017 card.
But other years it's more difficult, like this year.
I like this year's design, although my appreciation for it is starting to fade, probably because of some of those very same design elements. But there's also a lot going on with it and it's difficult to lock on one particular element and come up with a name. This is the same issue with a lot of Bowman sets and now that just made me scared that Topps flagship is starting to look like Bowman.
So, I stared at the 2019 design for a little bit and tried to separate the elements and see if anything stood out.
1. The two-sided border that swoops along the right corner
2. The team logo in the corner
3. The faded mosaic pattern that runs outside the border and also along the left side of the photo
4. The large last name over the smaller first name
5. The teeny, tiny team name and position name
6. The white background behind the last name and the logo that fades into the photo (and kind of irks me)
Those are the elements I found.
Now, the mosaic pattern might make a cool name as it reminds me of those '70s computers with the repetitive colored dots and corresponding '70s computer sounds, but I'm blanking on anything that looked like that. And if I can't come up with an example, I can't come up with a name.
I could call this "the last name first" set, but I think that would appeal only to collectors who are bothered by this set-up. I barely notice it and I don't think it's very original either so that doesn't speak to me.
The white background bothers me because there doesn't appear to be a clear-cut line between the photo and the background. The image sort of bleeds into the background as seen by Chance Adams' left leg. That looks sloppy to me, design element or not.
Also, I've discovered that the mosaic background may be contributing to my perception that the photos in this set aren't as sharp as they were last year -- I'm actually starting to like the 2018 set more becaues of that. The 2018 photos look clearer, or at least less like Topps is fiddling with the image.
But where I prefer to place my Define the Design focus is on the two-sided border.
This is the first significant border in flagship since the 2015 set. Many, many collectors say this harks back to the 1982 Topps set -- the hockey stick set -- which featured a two-colored swoosh along the left side that stopped short after rounding the left corner.
So is this the Define the Design theme? "The 1982 Topps rip-off design"? "The 1982 Topps sequel design"? "The 1982 Topps update set"? (Oh, wait, there was one of those already).
I'd like to look at the rounded corner element of the design though.
If you didn't know, rounded corners have been an on-going theme in design the last couple of years (some say the theme never left). If you're on Twitter, you probably noticed a year or two ago when all of a sudden it erased the sharp edges from avatars and Twitter boxes and other things. Everything became round and "friendly".
That's the theory behind rounded corners. The brain takes longer to process sharp corners. Rounded corners are friendlier and more pleasing to view. They're safer. Nobody wants to play with sharp corners.
Rounded corners have been the go-to element for many websites in recent years and it's obvious that's what Topps is doing with the 2019 design.
For lack of anything else, I'd like to call this "the rounded corner design." I think, though, that it is too generic.
I may just end up going with "the last name first design" because it may be the most obvious part of the design. I also might go with "1982 Topps sequel design."
As usual, any recommendations are welcome.