I’ve been having thoughts about tweaking the 1981 Donruss design lately. It all started because I’ve had this 81D Elliott Maddox card on my cube wall for over a month. After a while, I started comparing it to the other 1980’s cards it shared a 9-pocket page with and that caused me to have “Charlie Brown Christmas” thoughts about it. Maybe with a couple of tweaks to the design (and heavier cardboard and better photos and…), it could’ve been more successful. After all, it’s not like 1981 Topps or Fleer were classics. That being said, what can be done to it?
First off, I think the border is too thick, I’ll thin it out a bit… and change the colors to Mets blue and orange. A different font might help, but I’m going to leave that for now. One thing I think would help is to move the team name so that it replaces the lower-right corner instead of being adjacent to it… the asymmetry of the card frame bugs me. The Donruss logo and “ ‘81” are over in the upper left corner, but the team name is a little away from the lower right corner. I think it would look better if those two opposing corners mirrored each other.
What’s with the position text? “INFIELD / O-F”? Why would you abbreviate one and not the other, and why use “O-F”, an abbreviation that nobody uses? Clearly someone’s tipping their hand about how much they knew about baseball. I’m going to change that to IF/OF.
(This is like time-lapse photography… this is the point where I went into Paint Shop Pro and messed with the image).
I had to enlarge the photo out of necessity, because by moving the “Mets” word mark I lost some of the photo. To be honest, I think it benefits from a tighter crop.
One funny thing is that I had some trouble in thinning the borders, it almost seemed to be slightly uneven to start with. When I zoomed back out and looked at the original card again, I noticed that the borders ARE uneven. Look at the white space between the red border and black border on the right, then look at the same white space on the left. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. I know, these were probably rushed to market before the Topps lawyers could do anything to stop them, but it’s still pretty ugly.
The results weren’t great, and I could’ve done a better job with more time, but it’s definitely an improvement and was a fun little exercise.
What do you think, is that better than it was? What else could be done to tweak this design, other than giving up and creating a whole new design?