Topps KICK Cards 2014/2015

A look at a few of the digital trading cards I designed for the Topps KICK app's 2014/2015 season.

"Base" are the most common cards in packs in the Topps KICK app. As with most cards in the app, they score points based on live gameplay — if Alexis Sánchez scores a goal in a game, and you have his card in your lineup, the card nets you points, too. Just how many points your card scores depends on its boost level. A white, or "common" base card, scores 1x points, while a red card earns 1.5x points. A gold boost, or "super rare" base card, earns 2x points.
We strive to do a complete set of base cards with 5 levels of boosts: white, green, red, silver, and gold. But beyond that, we like to release a small number of boosts higher than gold. The above — "mint" boost (green), "on form" (orange), and the purple boost — are a few examples. Not shown: peppermint boost, pink boost, blue boost, sky boost, and the famous "black boost," known by our fans as "B.B."
One of our many "insert" (or, non-base) cards. The clean, modern look and the emphasis on photography with an edge-to-edge design, made this one of our most popular insert series ever.
When I was developing this design, I called it "Big Logo," which was a little bit too on-the-nose; the KICK producer wanted to call it "Club Men," which was a little to Neanderthal-sounding. In the end, we landed on "Ambassadors," which sounds suitably prestigious. Interestingly enough, we were only able to do this set for MLS, as the other leagues would not permit us to have their logo partially obscured by a player image — even though the logo was shown again, completely intact.
After every weekend that matches were played, Topps KICK releases the Best XI for each of the 3 leagues that we have — or, Top 11, as it's better known for the Bundesliga, and Best 11 (with Arabic numerals) for MLS. The Bunesliga asked us to make some tweaks to the layout we had for Premier League, as they wanted to use our card as a way to announce the Top 11 on the Bundesliga website (note the web address incorporated into the matchday information along the left side of the card). With two of the three leagues having slightly different designs for their Top 11/Best XI, we decided we would give MLS its own variation on the same theme, with a very star-spangled aesthetic.
This was one of my favorite sets, because of how funky it was. Based on face cards in a playing deck, I enjoyed the almost kaleidoscopic shapes that the player's bust made when reflected.
In the 2013/14 season, this set was called "Midfield Maestroes," and I had done a design for it at that time that was not very exciting. When trying to rethink it for the 2014/15 saeason, I was asking the product developer — whose idea the card had been, originally — for more information. He said it was supposed to be about midfielders who were there one second and gone the next, they were magical in the way they would appear and vanish as if in a puff of smoke. I said, "Should we re-name it Midfield Magicians?" I was cautioned not to make the design too juvenile and sparkly, but I already knew that I was going to use vintage magic posters like the ones for Harry Houdini as my inspiration. My art director thought my initial take was a little too "Harry Potter," so I made a few tweaks (mostly in coloration), and, "Presto!" The KICK community refers to these as "voodoos" for the occult symbols adorning the edges. It's one of my favorite card designs.
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