Friday, September 9, 2016


Custom Olympic Trading Cards Part 1

Before the Olympics began I mentioned I should do some custom cards for the Olympics especially after the disdain from some collector's on the ones released by Topps.  Since then I have pieced together a set and have finally got a few done, enough to post a few.  I never fully finished the design details so almost every card varies somewhat, but I really don't want to go back and redo them so here I present them in the final version.

There have been a few challenges with this though.  First and foremost, this is my biggest attempt of a set yet with a total of roughly 75 or so cards including 2 insert sets.  I thought it would be a challenge, and it has.  So much so that I don't really want to finish the set, but I figure if I posted some it would motivate me to do more.

Another challenge has been that I've done something people complained that Topps didn't do on two fronts.  First I used photos from the actual Olympics and all the cards feature athletes who competed at the games and not hopefuls.  While I decided against including Paralympic athletes solely because I don't know much info about the games and don't want to make a larger set, I did do something again Topps didn't.  I included athletes from countries besides the United States.  In fact I believe once the set is finished, 35 countries will be represented including if my memory is correct the top 20 countries by medal count.  Sure America will have the most cards but I tried to be fair.  The athletes I chose were based on how well they fared, who was the most talked about, or who I personally liked.  Almost all the athletes I chose were ones that were talked about at the games and some may be remembered for years to come.  I admit I have some bias in choosing some and possibly picked a gold medal winner for a country I didn't have represented yet, but I think you will enjoy the diversity.

So with all that said, let's take a look at the first batch of cards I made.  Again, most will vary from each other, but for the most part the changes aren't too big of a deal, just some bordering of the names and such.

The first card I'll show is one that was a request I got on twitter.  I posed a question about who should I make Olympic cards of in the Olympics, and I only got one request, so let's show it first.

You can thank Bean's Ballcard Blog for the suggestion of the Swiss Beach Volleyball team.  When the suggestion was made, I immediately knew it would be a fun one to work on.

I made two sample or prototype cards to get a feel for the set.  I like the border of gold as I thought it worked well.  However, I wasn't happy with the oval background for the names.  I also wasn't set with the font or if I wanted to include the sport.  My reasoning on including the sport or not is I figured if these were real cards, I would have all the info on the sport on the back.  Also since a name is included and the country, if you like the card, you can still go to Google to find out more about the athlete.  That may seem like flawed logic, but as I started to make more cards, I felt the box had too much info in it already especially for athletes with long names or from long named countries.  As seen on the Rugby Sevens card, I just didn't care for it.  The swimming one above is one of a kind because I wanted to show the three silver medalists in the one swimming event.  Plus I figured if I included Michael Phelps on this card, I wouldn't have to make another card for him.  Let's just say I'm not his biggest fan.

Don't fret though, I did redesign it slightly later on.

I like the rectangle box better.  The problem with this card is the country isn't identified.  Sure I also could have included that on the back if I made one, but I did want the countries listed on the front.  Again, since this is a one of a kind card with three countries represented, I'm okay with how it turned out.

Before I changed to a rectangle though I made another card with and oval.

I think it actually turned out pretty good really.  As you can see, Bekzod's name is a little long so including the sport in addition to name and country would make it a little crowded.

One thing I realized as I started making a few of these was most of the shots fit better horizontal instead of vertical.  The first attempt at the vertical cards were a challenge.

I actually thought this turned out fine, but making the lettering turn out good is a nightmare to me using Paint.  So I knew I couldn't keep doing it this way.

Then the challenge for Os became his name and country is much shorter than most and that is a lot of empty space.  I had a lot of issues with centering on the fonts so I hope my next batch turns out better.

The vertical cards look fine with the country and the sport, but with so many different events in certain sports it wouldn't do much justice including them, so again it would go on the back and for now just type in the athlete's name and country for more info.

One other challenge I've had but might have corrected on future cards is the sizing and locations of what I call my watermark, my RCR logo. Also the Rio logo as well.  Some appear massive on some cards, and some seem small such as the case on this Inbee Park card.  I don't want them to overpower the photo itself, but I also want them in case someone did try to make copies of these and tried to sell on ebay.  I make these with no intention of selling.  I do that for a couple reasons.  First and foremost, I don't own the rights to the photos.  If I took these photos, I would possibly change my mind, but until then, I don't want to risk anything.  Another reason is because I don't think they turn out great enough to make it worthwhile to sell.  Again, if I could clear those obstacles (the second would include using something besides Paint to make the designs, then finding the right cardstock to print them), then maybe I would consider it.  I also don't want people to confuse these with real cards so that's another reason I don't actually print or try to sell these.  However, if you feel they are worthy to be printed and want a copy for your own personal collection, then by all means have at it.  I just ask that you don't try to sell it or pass it off as a legit card.  i admire the many bloggers who make custom cards, but unlike most, I make these more for my enjoyment and entertainment and not so much for others.  I only post them because I'm either out of ideas for a post, or because I want to challenge myself to post these to make better ones next time and to show off my skills, however lacking they may be.

So that's it for the first batch.  I have many more I have designed but will include them at a later date.  I've also started working on one of the insert sets I planned.  I'll keep them under wraps for now.  I'm still thinking of a border for the other insert set.  As you can tell, I like borders.  So with that I'll wrap it up for tonight.  In case I'm not around this weekend, I hope everyone has a great one.  Mine will included listening to Mizzou on the radio and catching the Chiefs on TV.  Thanks for reading and have a great night.


Write comments
9/10/16, 12:24 PM delete

Nice customs! I'm looking forward to seeing more of these.

The ones with the oval sort of remind me of some of the subsets from 1962 Topps Baseball, especially the "combo" cards.

9/14/16, 11:14 AM delete

Thank you, I hope to finish the set out soon.

I'll have to check those cards out, I had no intention of making similar sets of real cards, but I was a little limited on Paint.