Creating A Custom Sports Card – Part 1 – The Idea

person thinking jpg

I’ve gotten many compliments on my cards over the years, and I thank each and every person that mentions it. There are so many reasons why, the main reason though is that it’s so damn hard to create your own card that when just one other person besides me likes it, I’m just blown away.  Lately though, I’ve had people ask me for my templates, or even better make me a frame for my cards.  That makes me mad, simply because of how much time and energy it takes just to make one card off a new design.

Someone recently asked me how I make my own cards.  That’s a great question because before I started making them, there were no resources.  Now there are lots but not a ton of step by step guides on how to make them, even worse is my way can be so much different from someone else’s way that I’d like other card makers input here as well.  So I decided that I am going to make a guide in hopes of inspiring other people and maybe gain some insight on how other people create their cards. So without due, here is part one of my guide to creating your own card.

Part 1 – The Idea

Look at that cartoon on the top of the page.  That is me every time I sit down to make a card.  So many things run though my head. New or vintage? Or take an old design and modernize it? Take an old design and tweak a color or a font? Baseball, basketball, football or hockey? Multi-sport? Will I make a set? Will it be a one off? Serial numbered? The combinations are endless.

I am very ADD (attention deficit disorder).  I will like making cards for like a month then want to switch to something else (much like my blogging of late). So what’s different now? I made a decision in my collecting life. I broke everything down to what I love about the hobby.  The answer is that I love the history and stories about players.  I’ve always loved cut autograph cards so marry the idea of collecting older players with the cut autograph and viola!

So to help all of you out use this set of questions and steps to determine what kind of set you want to make:

1. What is the primary focus of the set?

  • Regular card
  • Autograph card
  • Relic card
  • Cut autograph card

2. What is your theme going to be?

  • Modern custom design
  • Vintage custom design
  • Card manufacturer template

3. Grab a piece of paper and sketch out a quick design.  For me this could take weeks.  Sometimes, I’ll have some inspiration and draw something out on a napkin. Then I’ll come home, fire up GIMP and start grinding out a template.

Aside – You have to understand how to use Photoshop or GIMP or some photo manipulating software.  For that you’ll have to learn by trial and error, thats how I learned it.

Next Chapter – The Template (coming soon)


2 thoughts on “Creating A Custom Sports Card – Part 1 – The Idea”

  1. As someone who makes his own custom cards, I’m looking forward to seeing more of this series… I always enjoy seeing how different people do what I love to do.

    Sometimes I get ideas just from looking at card designs I like, or even ones I don’t like but fit a particular era I’m looking to emulate, and I idly ponder “What would it look like if I changed that font and the border color?” or “If I took this design element from this set and that design element from that set, what would I get?”

    I also have been inspired by things like yearbook covers, cereal boxes and buildings. I’ll look at the “design language” of something unrelated and think “I really like that, I wonder if I could work it into a baseball card somehow…”

    A lot of it comes down to what you said at the end of your post – play with it. Play with your software, play with the designs, play with photo effects, and so on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s