When I come up with my custom designs, I like to give each team its own distinct color combination… I started collecting in the Seventies when Topps did something similar most years, and I guess that I’ve mentally filed the concept under “The Way It Should Be!”
I have to admit, I always have fun coming up with the combinations… I guess that’s the kind of thing that happens when one is a nerd with an artistic streak. I also start from scratch each year, because what works well with one design doesn’t necessarily work well the next year.
I tried my best to get the assigned colors to match the teams actual colors, but when 73% of the teams have either blue, navy or red in their color scheme, compromises have to be made.
So if your favorite team’s colors are red and navy, you may have to settle for red and green…
(just tell yourself it’s “Fenway green”)
…or red and purple…
…or even pink and purple.
I won’t deny that when I was assigning colors, I started with the teams I like… The less appropriate the color combination, the more likely it is that I don’t care for that team.
But it’s not a hard-and-fast rule, and I wasn’t always merciless… I assigned a very 1976 blue and green to the Yankees:
I don’t know, maybe it’s because I’ve always been fond of the 1976 set, but I think blue and green works well for the Bronx Bombers.
…And trust me, Yankee fans, it could’ve been a lot worse.
One of the things I did fairly early in the process was to make a chart where I listed each available color and then tried to rank the different combinations and figure out which teams might work best with which combos. Some combinations sounded horribly gaudy when written down, but I played with them and found actually work pretty decently within the context of a baseball card. The prime example of this is orange and pink:
It’s not an unprecedented combination. Just look at any 1976 Topps Indians or Astros card.
And much like with 1976 Topps, when I have duplicate colors combinations, I reverse the colors and change the color of the lettering. As you can see on the L.J. Hoes card above, the Astros got grey lettering, a pink border and the last box on the right is orange; the Marlins (which I showed last week) got white lettering, an orange border and the last box on the left is pink.
Also, when two teams share colors – Marlins/Astros, Phillies/Rangers, Cardinals/Red Sox, among others – I made sure that the two teams were in different leagues.
Yes, a lot of thought went into this… Probably more hours than I really care to admit to. In my defense, a lot of the time was made up of moments which would’ve been otherwise idle… waiting on take-out food, laying in bed after the alarm went off, killing 10 minutes at work before a meeting (That’s right, just keep moving, don’t look too closely at that spreadsheet on which I’m deeply focused).
Of course, whenever you’re trying to come up with 30 sets of colors, somebody has to get the short end of the stick.
Sorry, White Sox fans. Nothing personal, I assure you.