Behind the Design: 2023 Topps Chrome® Baseball

Topps Chrome Gets a Close-Up

Date: Jul 25, 2023
Topics: 2023 Topps Chrome, 2023 Topps Chrome Baseball, Baseball, Behind the Design, Bryce Harper, How To Collect, Mitch O'Connell, MLB, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Phillies, Phillies, Robert Grabe
Length: 482 Words
Reading Time: ~3 Minutes

Celebrating its 27th anniversary, the Topps Chrome Baseball series has continued to enchant collectors with a rich blend of traditional and contemporary design elements. Guided by Senior Art Director John Doldan, the 2023 collection carries this legacy forward with intriguing innovations.

Creating this collection is akin to a dance between old and new, a delicate balancing act of maintaining the classic Topps aesthetic while infusing modern touches. The design process starts with historical elements like white borders or secondary photos while introducing current design trends to keep the collection fresh. The Chrome® finish, a signature feature, also poses an exciting challenge.

“Planning where Chrome foil will appear and where we will utilize opaque, pure white ink is an added consideration and also gives us another element to play around with,” said Doldan.

Chromed Out

Central to the allure of Topps Chrome Baseball is the mesmerizing refractor technology. Collaborating closely with foil manufacturers, the team explores different patterns and finishes that create a visual spectacle without overpowering the design. This dynamic process has led to the development of numerous custom foil designs, further distinguishing the series.

The collection’s rookie cards are particularly noteworthy as the team digs deep into their duffle to make the game’s up-and-coming stars shine. The Radiating Rookies insert, for instance, showcases the top-20 rookies in a vibrant cosmic green and yellow radiation look, truly setting them apart.

“One of the great things about Chrome products is the way the cards are printed allows us to achieve a high degree of metallic brightness in colors, and we look to take advantage of that with rookies,” he said.

Bringing in the New

The 2023 series also debuts captivating new inserts like Radiating Rookies, Ultraviolet All-Stars, and Topps In Technicolor, each with its own distinct creative process. From the groovy blacklight aesthetic of the Ultraviolet All-Stars to the movie title screen effects of Topps In Technicolor, these inserts bring an extra layer of intrigue.

“We worked closely with artist Mitch O’Connell to create the designs that showed off crazy color patterns that were reminiscent of the 70’s-80’s black light posters,” said Doldan. “Another insert, Topps In Technicolor, made use of the old movie title screens that announced the feature being in Technicolor. We utilized special retouching effects to the photography to really make them pop out.”

A favorite among these is the Topps Chrome Titans, a playful and imaginative design that presents players in a massive light. It’s a testament to the creativity and passion that goes into creating the Topps Chrome Baseball series, ensuring it remains a beloved part of the baseball world.

“It’s always fun to play with dimensions and perspective,” Doldan said. “Senior designer Robert Grabe did a fantastic job working with photography to create the illusion of 300ft tall players stepping into their home stadiums. The Bryce Harper card is one of my favorites.”


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