Everyone collects differently, and usually, that is the reason this hobby is as diverse as it is. Its why a product like flagship Topps can do well and a product like Exquisite can also do well. The one thing they have in common is the players on the cards, and that is the main reason why all of us collect. Even if you consider yourself to be an autograph collector, like myself, you still care about which autograph is signed on which card. The players (or the teams they play for) are the reason we collect in most cases, and I don’t understand why companies continually move away from the PLAYER as the focus of the cards they produce.
Ill give you an example, one that has been bugging me as of late. Cards like the ones in Topps Triple Threads have moved away from the players being the focus of the set, and moved more in the direction of the relics being the focus. Each card you look at, the player is the size of the triple threads logo, where the relics take up the player is the size of the triple threads logoor cards. Yes, sometimes there are extra cards needed just to fit more patch on there. Same thing with the Topps Finest patch autos from this year’s set, as well as the ones from the upcoming Bowman Sterling release. The relics are the focus, even to the point of covering up the player, and I think it defeats the purpose of why we all do what we do. I couldn’t care less about what jersey is in what card, as long as the player is still there. When a set like Triple Threads you literally need a magnifying glass to see who the patch is tied to.
Listen, I know that some people are obsessed with patch cards and jersey cards, but I think you can have your cake and eat it too. As long as the design is done with a more efficient use of the space, you can always include the player as a focus while still having a giant space for the patch. Exquisite has always had a great balance of patch and players, especially when you see that they usually fit a good portion of the player on the card as well as a huge patch. Same with the Absolute Patches set from the last few years of Absolute, the player is smaller, but not to the point where they arent still a focus. Maybe that’s why I love Upper Deck’s cards as much as I do, and hate Topps high end as much as I do. One focuses on designing beautiful cards that appeal to each sector of the market, while the other designs cards that only appeal to the people who shout “OOOOO SICK PATCHZZZ!!!” when they see the pull.
I would even go so far as saying that I would always take the well designed tiny patch auto card over a poorly designed jumbo patch auto with a logo patch, because I don’t want an ugly card in my collection. Yes, Triple Threads may have cards that feature the majority of a sleeve patch from the jersey, but they still look ridiculously terrible when you consider that I have to get way up close to figure out who’s jersey that patch came from. The bottom line is that all the great designs of the past years have been PLAYER focused rather than RELIC focused, and cards like the hideous XXIV relic booklets will never make the kind of impact that some of the player focused cards have made. Its easy to say that the further away from the correct balance of the card a design may get, the more I am going to hate it.