Bravo, Panini

07.13.2012

Yes, it’s been a while. I know. Busy, busy.

Work.
Baby.
House.

Plus, the business side of 1&G has been doing great recently. That’s good, but it also means a lot more time and effort. Time and effort I used to spend on the blog side. I have been meaning to post for a while and have had several topics come and go without any writing. So instead of waiting for that magical moment when the stars align and I suddenly have tons of time and material, I’m going to try to ease back into this as time allows.

One of my thoughts on cards over the past several months has been the surprising improvement of Panini. After buying Donruss/Playoff, LP to enter the sports card market, Panini seemed to just pump out set after set of crap. Lots of uber-neutral and ho-hum designs. Nearly all sticker autos. Obvious backwards design flaws. One of the leading examples of these trends was always Prestige, the very early football release.

Let’s do a quick recap:

In 2010, Prestige featured all grey base cards, super close up photos of rookies with no uniform colors or logos showing (due to the set’s early release and Panini’s inability to show NCAA branding), and an overal blah feel to the product.

In 2011, Prestige added a bit of color to the card fronts and tried to make team logos more prevalent, but the rookie photos were still awful and despite the improved effort, the cards still felt very neutral and not particularly appealing.

Now, take a look at this:

Wow. What is this? Bold team colors. Prominent logos. Fantastic photo. Clean design. Instead of just taking a tired and old design and slightly tweaking it, Panini essentially threw away the Prestige of yesterday and completely redesigned the set. I’m not doing a full product review (and sadly, 1&G reviews may be dead for the time being), but I will point out that inserts were also pretty attractive and even…gasp…featured on-card autographs! Not every autograph, but some is better than none.

Is this a perfect card? No. Is it the end-all, be-all for early set releases? No. Would I be happy if every Prestige set in the future looks like this? Obviously not.

But it’s progress.

And that is very refreshing…

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