Why The “1972 Mini” Cards Might Look Wrong To You

Whenever Topps does something Heritage-y, Archive-y or Lineage-y, my thoughts turn to “How will they re-create these cards for teams which didn’t exist at the time?”

So when I saw that they were going to do 1972 minis, my first thought was –

Well, to be honest, my first thought was “Minis. Why did it have to be minis?”

– But my second thought was “I’ll be curious to see how they handle all the teams that they can’t just copy from the original 1972 cards” (i.e. the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Rays, Diamondbacks and Nationals).

So after pulling this Giancarlo Stanton card from a pack…
2013 Topps 1972 Mini Giancarlo Stanton
…I just shook my head and disapprovingly said “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude…”

The first thing I noticed was the fact that the “LINS” part of “MARLINS” sort of sags down closer to the border, which looks sloppy.

…but something else about it looked wrong.

After a minute or two, I realized that the big problem is on the perspective. The letters are supposed to look like they’re coming out from behind the photo, all of them originating at some distant vanishing point.

Here, I’ll give you an example… I took a 1972 Frank Robinson card and used pink lines to extend the drop shadow on the letters (This was done virtually; no HOFers were harmed during this exercise):
1972 Topps Frank Robinson with lines
The letters are meant to look like they’re emerging from some distant point behind Frank’s head.  These lines don’t all converge on exactly the same point, but that’s probably just me not drawing the pink lines right… it’s still close enough to get the idea across.

But look at what happens when I do the same thing to the Stanton card:
2013 Topps 1972 Mini Giancarlo Stanton with lines
See? It’s a freakin’ mess. The person who did this may have the skills, but didn’t “get” what the original artist was doing… or maybe they weren’t given enough time to do it right.

Whatever the reason for this, it fails a critical test: Is it better than I could’ve done?  I’ve got some artistic ability and I like to play around with Paint Shop Pro, but I am not, by anyone’s definition, a Graphic Artist.  I’m not even one of these people who thinks they can call themselves a Graphic Designer because he/she made up a business card saying that they’re a Graphic Designer.

…So when someone who makes a living out of manipulating pixels, someone who ostensibly calls this their career, when that person produces something which makes me feel like I could do better, then that’s a failure.

You know what? I’m not objective on this. We should ask someone who doesn’t have a stake in this… someone like…. Oh, I don’t know… Someone like the 1971 National League ERA Leaders. I just happen to have them here… OK, guys. Look at this mini. What do you think of the job Topps did on this card?

1972 Topps 1971 NL ERA Leaders

See, it’s not just me. Even Seaver, Roberts and Wilson are unimpressed.