A little while back I asked Tracy Hackler from Panini to know what the creative team from Panini thought about some of the stuff I’ve been creating. He was out traveling for a while so he didn’t get back to me until a few days ago.
He spoke with the Creative Director of Panini who offered this to me, via an email forwarded to me by Tracy.
I have to say, I am thoroughly amazed by the time he took to respond to me, and I gotta admit that I love that he actually went in depth and offered me outlets to improve my creativity. If they are reading this, I just want to say thank you again, to Tracy and Brandon for offering their insights to me!
I’m posting this private email, with permission from Tracy.
Thank you for your passionate interest in basketball cards and your love of design. Tracy has asked me to give you some constructive criticism of your custom designs that you have put on your blog for critique.
Some of the things that many collectors do not realize are the budgetary, time and legal restrictions we have on our projects that we have to design. There are too many to mention in one email but the learning curve for an average designer coming from a formal graphic design education is approximately one year.
That being said, here are some of things that we noticed in your designs. We looked at them as a team so we can fairly assess a group opinion on your work.
Typography : Many of the designs lack a strong grasp of typography. There are a lot of rules in typography which consist of style, application and formality. Most of the designs have an undisciplined approach to the assignment of player names, team names, etc. Also, the NBA will not approve abbreviations of team names.
Color Theory: There does not appear to be much on the application of colour theory in the cards. They are very busy visually and there does not seem to be any real heirarchy. In many case, they are visual puzzles that most people will not try to figure out as they try to separate the players from the backgrounds.
Design Heirachy/Conceptual Ideas: While some of the cards have some strong layout elements (Arena Icons, Dome shots), most do not. What most collectors do not understand is that a design has to fit with all the photography available for a certain player. Many of these are custom cards and would not translate if there were a 40 player checklist that the Photography team had to fit photos into.
As far as the concepts go, our Creative Team does not come up with insert names, we simply execute the ideas of the Product Development Team. I would prefer to not give feedback on something that we are not responsible for executing.
I have attached some links to some reading material that could help with you learning design formally. I hope it helps. Feel free to ask me any questions that are design related and I’ll try my best to help you grow into the designer I know you are aspiring to be.
UPDATE JUNE 3: I found a Yao Ming photo to go with the Hakeem Olajuwon.
I normally don’t take the template of an existing card design, even though many of the stuff I make are inspired from elements in existing inserts from the 90′s. However, this was too fun of a project to pass up.
In 2008, Upper Deck/Fleer put out a few cards that took the 1986 Fleer design and applied it to the 2008 draft class. I thought the idea was clever, and the cards looked great.
Well, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and a few others have developed into stars in the league and other players from that draft class, including OJ Mayo, are solid players on playoff teams.
Well, I ‘ve decided to take that concept one step further. Here is my take on the iconic 1986 Fleer set, which boasted rookie cards of numerous Hall of Famers, Dream Teamers and otherwise memorable players of The League. Enjoy!
The first card I started out with was, obviously, Derrick Rose. That card turned out superb, I think. Most of the cards are similar enough that they look really good to me.
A few cards have little nuances that I thought I’d share. The Ben Gordon card irks me because he isn’t looking in the same direction as Joe Dumars. But overall, the card is pretty similar. With Rodney Stuckey, I actually reversed the original image and photoshopped the jersey name, but didn’t photoshop the “P” in his shorts. If you notice, the Ben Gordon has the “P” on the shorts in the proper location. It was hard to find any Al Jefferson pictures dribbling, so that card is the least similar to me, but since he has the ball in the proper hand, it works good enough until I can find a replacement image.
One thing that worked out amazingly, is the jersey selection. The Pistons, Sixers, and Jazz all changed their color scheme from 1986 but in the last few they’ve changed again, and they resemble the jerseys of the players from the 1986 set. I thought that was a great coincidence.
Joe Johnson and Stephen Curry are pictured in older uniforms, but the pictures work out well because they are in the road jerseys, as their counterpart. If I could find another Curry photo in the new jerseys, I’ll re do that card, since they new Warriors jerseys actually resemble what Chris Mullin is wearing.
Because I had so much fun on this project, I’d like to finish up the dream team remix, so look forward to a Scottie Pippen, Reggie Miller, Gary Payton, David Robinson, Christian Laettner, John Stockton, Dennis Rodman remix as well.
Oh and, I’ve already started this little project…