Thing(s) of beauty…

Guess what, another hockey post. Hockey is easily the 4th most popular of the four major sports on cardboard. It’s a shame because hockey has some of the coolest looking design, especially from back in the day. Here are a few of my favorites.

1971-72 Topps
I love this design it is so awesome. It screams early ’70s. There is something fun and light about the bubble letter team name and single color oval background. It’s almost cartoon like. Modern designs are much more crisp and smooth but they donโ€™t hold a candle to some of these older designs.

The card back is a stark contrast to the rounded front.
Very square and symmetrical. For some reason hockey card backs are always portrait style as opposed to the standard landscape on baseball cards.

1984-85 Topps
This may be my favorite card design all time in any sport.
Like the ’71-72 it fits it time perfectly. It screams mid ’80s. You can’t look at it with out thinking of Topps ’83 baseball, another great design. The little circle portrait is where it all begins with this design. The use of color is also great. The team colors make up the frame around the picture, one color sitting inside the other, giving it a layered look. I also really like the implied negative space of the players name.

The card back is also great.
The red and blue with the slightly lighter red (I don’t want to call it pink) look great. Once again they play with negative space to create the stick the separates the two shades of red. A damn near perfect card back.

A classic of the late ’80s.
The little pushpin and the shadow detail beneath the nameplate are so weird and different that they are amazing. It’s more dated than the other but nonetheless still kick-ass. There is something so perfect about the picture of Brett on this card, it fits so perfectly. The other elements are relatively plain but they have to be here. Anything else would clash and make the design seem overly busy.

The back is once again well done.
Orange and blue, you can’t go wrong with complementary colors.

1990-91 Upper Deck
This is very much a watershed moment in hockey cards.
Nothing was ever the same after this set. the design is much more deliberate and modern. The fun of the older designs gives way to the slick and crisp look of modern cards. The marble look of the borders in team colors, the asymmetrical border design. Whereas the other cards look they were designed on a drafting table these are all CAD. The pictures are so crisp, the colors jump right off. Beautiful.

The backs were also game changers.
Half the back is a close up photo. The card back was no longer just about stats and blurbs, these were as attractive as the card front.

Four very different design but all cool in their own right.



4 responses to “Thing(s) of beauty…

  1. I maybe the only person I know that thinks the 90-91 Topps set looks amazing. I also really like the 85-86 and 86-87 sets.

  2. The first UD hockey set was the best one they ever made. There were more great photos in that set than in any two later sets they put out. Best design, as well.

    Also a fan of the ’84-85. I bought that (OPC) by the ton.

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