August 09, 2007

How to Make Your Own Baseball Card

This post is a long time coming. I created a card of myself as a project in grad school and used it as my business card upon graduation. I used Johnny Damon's 2003 Topps Heritage card as my backdrop (in the 1954 Topps style). I didn't know really how to do it, but after 20 hours over a weekend I figured it out.

There are a few things you'll need before you create your own cards:

1. Scanner
2. Computer
3. Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark or InDesign
4. Person who knows how to use these programs
5. Color Printer
6. Paper cutter
7. Photos of people or things you're putting on cards
8. Patience

You should also decide how much effort and time you want to put into making these cards, and if you can afford to have them professionally printed and cut. If you can, and you have a printer you like, they can explain your different options in terms of using coated stock, foil stamping and that kind of thing.

If you aren't working with a budget, here's how you do it for no money:

1. Find a card design you like.
2. Scan the card into Photoshop
3. Erase the player and insert a photo that matches the layout
4. Match the fonts for the card and put in your own text
5. Depending on the level of expertise the designer you're working with possesses, you can add in other little touches that make the card look like the real thing, like a facsimile autograph
6. Put in a few hours of trial and error with making things fit
7. Print out a copy on your printer. Does it look okay? If yes, start on the back of the card. If no, look at the real card you're using as a source material. What makes it look the way it does/What are you trying to imitate?
8. Put in a few more hours of trial and error on the back of the card
9. When you've got the images looking right, bring the images into Quark or InDesign (your design program); it's okay to do the photos and graphics in Photoshop, but not the text
10. A standard modern card is 2.5" x 3.5", make your palette that size and resize your images to fit
11. Print out front and back and cut down to size
12. Use double-sided tape to stick them together and see if your card is any good
13. If you're taking it to a professional printer, use this as your mechanical (if it's good)
14. If you're printing it on your own, try lining it up to print front and back

That's it. That's how I created the card I made of myself. It's a lot of trial and error, and I did this while teaching myself how to use Illustrator (I didn't have Quark or InDesign). I didn't use a professional printer, but if you do, they're very knowledgeable about what you can and can't do on a piece of cardboard, plus they can score and cut them for you. Obviously, you don't have to emulate a card design that already exists, nor do you have to use photos. Illustrations can look just as nice (1953 Topps is a perfect example).


Joey said...

Nice job.

I tried this before but mine didn't come out anywhere near this good. Maybe I will try it again.

Paul Kelly said...

I thought the front looked good until I saw the back - that is amazing!!!! The front of cardas I made are easy making the back is much tougher - especially the quippy little pictures.