Takin’ out the trash

Not every design works. Sometimes, a design will just come together in a few minutes. And then there are times when I slave over a design for hours, and still never get something I feel is good enough to post (and sometimes I look back on designs I’ve posted and wonder, “What was I thinking?”). Here are a few cards that have never been posted before. They’ve been in my folder for a long time, but I’m not a big fan of ’em, for whatever reason.

If you see any of these that you like, please let me know. I’m always interested in what people think of my designs.

The Spirit of ’76

The 1976 Topps set was one of the first that I collected as a kid, so I’ve always had a soft spot for that design. Ever since I started this blog, I’ve wanted to be able to recreate that design. The problem was those little position icons on the lower left. I couldn’t find clean versions of those icons to work with, and without those, the whole card just looked bad.

Fortunately, Bob Jonas from the Custom Baseball Cards group was kind enough to share a set of icons that he had cleaned up. I worked in Photoshop to try to nail every little detail of the 1976 design – from the fonts down to the exact borders around those icons.

Here are the results – 6 alternate cards for the 2020 Reds. I even made one for the newest Red, Travis Jankowski. Janky plays every OF position, so he’ll probably get a chance to play a lot in early 2020, especially if Senzel isn’t ready for the start of the season.

Custom Reds Set

This design is based on the wonderful “Brothers” typeface. Brothers was designed by John Downer and released through Emigre in 1999. You can read more about Brothers at the Font Review Journal (which is a fantastic resource for font enthusiasts).

This is a really simple design, but I kinda love the look of the Bench card in this set.

Custom Cards

I created this card design yesterday, and it was one of those times when all the pieces just kind of clicked right away. I usually keep tweaking and editing my designs until all the elements feel right, but this one seemed to work on the first try.

I know I’ve made a lot of cards for Senzel and VanMeter, but I’ve got a lot of hope for what these guys will do for the Reds. VanMeter should be an everyday player in 2020, and I’m hoping we see more of the “early 2019 Senzel” next year.

UPDATE: I got some valuable feedback on the original card designs from JT over at The Writer’s Journey and Frank Jewett from the Custom Baseball Cards Facebook group. Big thanks to both of these guys for helping me make improvements to this design.

’87 Topps Alternates

These were actually the first 2 alternate cards I created, but I’m only getting around to posting them now. JT already posted them on his fantastic blog The Writer’s Journey, so I was holding onto them until I had run out of other cards to post.

I’ve got a lot of ideas for custom cards that I want to create, but it’s a really busy week at work, so…those will have to wait.

’89 Upper Deck Reds

The Upper Deck 1989 set will always be known as the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie set. When I first bought some of those cards, they blew me away with the quality of the photos and the overall quality of the cards.

Here are a couple of Reds rookie cards I’ve created with the Upper Deck ’89 template. My favorite part of this baseball season has been watching Aquino shatter all of the rookie homerun records. He’s also got one of the best arms of any outfielder in the game today. As a Reds fan, I’m really looking forward to watching this guy’s career progress.

I’d also like to send a big “thank you” out to the amazing “bobw” and his Cards That Never Were blog. His site is full of amazing content, and he also shared some sage advice with this card designing newbie.

Where were you in ’77?

Here are the rest of the cards I created with the Topps 1977 template. I’ll definitely be making more of these in the future, but right now I’m focusing on making a few of my own custom card designs.

(Also, my sincere apologies go out to Brian O’Grady. Yesterday, I posted a rookie card for him…and then he got sent back to the minors. I’m a jinx.)

The Suarez card below reminds me of a card Topps made in ’76 for Kurt Bevacqua – the league’s bubblegum bubble-blowing champ.

The future of the Reds

While the Reds’ 2019 season has been a bit of a disappointment, the team’s outlook for 2020 is really shaping up. Trevor Bauer adds another top-tier arm to an already strong pitching lineup, and Freddy Galvis has been a solid infielder so far.

But the main reason for my 2020 optimism is the 5 guys shown below. Aristides Aquino has gone on a home run spree like the majors have never seen before, Senzel is a star in the making, VanMeter should be an everyday player, Ervin has been reliable since getting called up, and O’Grady is our future at first base.

Also…how awesome is that Topps rookie trophy? Always loved seeing that on a card.

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