I have frequently displayed my ultimate disdain for the Panini design team and their work over the last few years. Because of their ineptitude, collecting Panini football cards has become an exercise in futility, with the exception of a few products here and there. This year, it seems as though a few of the products have taken on a new design focus, while others are staunchly opposed to progressing to a better state of existence in the market. Prestige and Elite both displayed some GREAT looking cards, some of my favorites so far this year. The upcoming release of Prime Signatures looks to be going down that same path.
On the other hand, sets like Momentum and the recent release of Prominence is like an acid flashback to the horrible release of previous seasons, with Prominence even going so far as including ALL the lame and played out signature cards that Panini has become infamous for. Not only do you have the stupid Black and White threads style manu-letter patches with the bleeding signatures, but also the plastic field autographs, the plastic helmet autograph cards, and the omnipresent stitched manu-patch autos that are all coming together to form a Voltron Product of pure disaster.
There are some reasonably good looking cards here and there, but for the most part, we are getting the tetris style boxy designs, with each element stacked neatly in its own compartment. I cannot understand why Panini is consistently trekking back to this unpleasant way of presenting design, instead of the fluid sweetness of some of the cards from Prime Signatures and Prestige’s base cards.
Prominence is one of many 100 dollar boxes of cards that Panini trots out, which isnt saying much. It may be a new brand for the year, but it might as well be 2010 Panini Rookies and Gridiron Threads Gear. Its products like this that make you wonder what the point of release was. Its not going to wow the socks off of anyone, its not going look very good in the process, and its going to sit on shelves for years before the LCS owners can move it.
Topps may be shorting the market on big name rookie autographs, and flooding the market on the lower tier guys, but I would take that situation any day over getting a better chance at a big pull signature that looks as awful as some of these do. Collectors have shown they value the shortage by consistently paying ridiculous prices for the short printed autos. Products like Prominence could be removed from circulation tomorrow, and I dont think anyone would notice. Its about as forgettable a release as one can be.