Yeah, yeah, I know that I sound like a broken record when it comes to products as of late, and to tell you the truth, im starting to feel like one. With the recent release of Topps Unique onto the scene, I again find myself with facepalms and rolly eyes all around. I feel like there are few good practices being built upon when it comes to designing new products, and again Topps steps right in to disappoint with their last set as a football card manufacturer. You would think they would want to go out with a bang, but instead they just slap a template from a lackluster baseball product onto a new football product that has already had mixed reviews.
My review is anything but mixed, as I cant see anything in Unique that actually lives up to the title of the set. Besides the fact that Topps has AGAIN built the auto stickers into the design to draw your eye, the actual design of the card could be the most boring ever made. See, the thing about Topps is for the past few sets, they have tried to trick collectors into fawning over their cards by giving huge patches and calling it a day. Rather than putting thought into creating a good looking set, they basically resigned their products to “oh well, the patches are huge so they wont care.” That’s what pisses me off! The truth behind the curtain is that all the cards look like rejected stock MS Powerpoint slide backgrounds, but they think they can get away with it by giving you oversized patches. The sad thing is, lots of people are missing the truth boat, and that’s where I lose hope. Why would anyone want to pay hundreds for a boring looking card that looks like an amateur with photoshop started playing around with the background tools? Yeah, I get it, they have big patches. But honestly, who fucking cares when the cards put me to sleep?
This may be the first time you ever hear me complement Triple threads, but I am going to. At least with Triple Threads it looked like they put effort into making it exciting. They failed miserably with the whole thing, but at least they tried. With this, they just mailed it in. The problem with that is the collectors are basically giving the manufacturers a green light to make shitty sets as long as the cards have big swatches. People have often questioned why SPA’s stuff is always worth so much money despite the mid range cost of the box, and my response is that its because it ALWAYS looks classy. Unique looks bush league in just about every way. There are a few cards that look okay, but it falls under the addage that even the Cleveland Browns stumble upon a Josh Cribbs every once in a while.
Luckily for me, this is probably going to be the last Topps set that I have to talk about for a long time. Unfortunately, Panini is taking up the fallen flag pretty quickly on the other side, as evidenced hard core by this year’s Absolute and National Treasures. The difference there is that Panini’s sets look like they at least put in some kind of effort in copying the previous year’s design so that people wouldn’t notice the laziness.
Overall, my mantra is pretty simple with the release of upcoming products, especially when they break the golden rule of Topps. Don’t let yourself be blinded by big swatches when the set looks like elephant poop. Anyone can throw a huge patch into a set, but it takes true effort and knowhow to make it look good. Even if you are player collector that wonders when the next time you will have a shot at the whole laundry tag of you favorite target, step back and really think about it before buying. Make the companies work for your business, and Topps Unique doesn’t show that they did.