After two or three completed designs of 2011 GameDay (not yet titled “Series 1”), I began work on what was originally to be the 2012 GameDay design. My dissatisfaction with “Series 1” and my commitment to Varsity Trading Cards prompted me to move forward with the design. My excitement with what I had come up with accelerated the process and helped me make the easy decision to drop the original 2011 design and call the 2012 design “2011 GameDay – Series 2.”

Work on these cards started very early on in the baseball season in 2011. The concept started out with a more artistic approach. The entire image was used for the card which was a major departure from other GameDay designs. There would still be some masking and layering involved, however. The image was first filtered and blended to appear as if it were a cloth-textured painting. A faded white paper-textured area behind the player’s head would serve as the GameDay logo placeholder while another faded white paper-textured block in front of the player would serve as both the player and team name placeholder as well as the autograph area. The remainder of the photo would serve as the border.

Not entirely in love with the idea yet still encouraged enough to continue, I made a few modifications. While using the photo as the border could work with another design, I felt like the concept I was trying to nail down needed something a bit more solid. Replacing the outer photo border would be a blue hue stylized with a natural rock finish.

Almost there! To really flesh out the front side, I felt it was best to be consistent with the GameDay brand and completely mask out the player from the photo. The background was then replaced with a desaturated continuation of the border which actually fades INTO the border between the upper and lower white faded blocks. I also lifted the fade of the upper white paper block further into the logo to provide a more dramatic blend.

Happy with the front design, I added one more layer of uniqueness to the card that each set deserved. The ’09 set had the super-gloss finish, the ’10 set had the iridescent refractor layer, ’11S1 had the matte grit layer and ’11S2 would have its own special card stock. Getting all crafty, I visited a local Michael’s for different types of card stock and ran across a thick wrinkled paper that worked perfectly with the design. The cards came out looking kind of like a cousin of Upper Deck Masterpieces. The autographed cards shown below show off how they look printed on that card stock.

I decided to give the backs the good old fashioned cardboard back look. Being mister consistent, the borders fade in and out to match the fading border from the front. You’ll note the actual printed version of the Neshek shows off the nice printed stock. Those who have been following the WIWaCCD series will also notice that I got in my obligatory Neshek card AND my obligatory non-Twins card in one fell swoop! I also, for the very first time, created a mascot card. The photo used is one that I actually took of TC as my wife and I were on our way out of the 2011 TwinsFest. It seems highly unlikely that I’ll ever get the Morneau or Liriano cards signed, but I still intend on getting Nathan signed TTM and I hope I can get TC to sign his for my nephews.

Continuing a sub-set that I originally developed in the Series 1 set is GameDay Legacy—cards honoring retired players. Just like with the Series 1 design, black replaces the primary color used on the card. For Series 2, the cardboard look is eliminated in favor of a clean white look.

I never got around to creating a back for Koskie since I just made one of him for Series 1. You’ll notice I even used the same photo (something I don’t normally do). The Blyleven, for some reason, is missing its numbering circle at the bottom of the back—it’s there in the printed version. I’m VERY happy that I was able to get the Molitor signed. Again, you’ll notice the nice card stock coming through on the Molitor signed card. Love it!

I believe that this is the best GameDay set that I was ever able to create. I think I was really just starting to hit my stride with these designs. Honestly, that Molitor is an absolute beaut. It’s just a shame that it’s only a custom card and not an actual commercially produced item. However, with Varsity Trading Cards just starting up for me that Summer, I needed to focus my creativity and pour it into that business instead of my side-project. I can only hope that the cards I make for my company continue to improve as I saw GameDay improve.

Next time on WIWaCCD: my absolute FINAL custom cards EVER! Man… I can’t believe this is coming to an end!


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