If you haven’t noticed, Topps is in the midst of a year-long collection available exclusively on their website called PROJECT 2020. The undertaking is very unique in that 20 artists from around the world are each recreating 20 pre-selected baseball cards. Once these newly designed cards are released, they’re only available to the public for just 48 hours hours before they’re gone forever.
Yesterday, the long-awaited Frank Thomas design by the incredibly talented Tyson Beck dropped. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to speak with the renowned graphic designer to learn about his thought process behind this card and more!
To start off, how would you describe yourself for the White Sox fans and baseball fans in general who might not be familiar with you?
I’m an artist and designer from Australia who has worked for the past 15 years with some of the largest sports and entertainment brands, leagues and teams in the US across all major league sports.
How did you begin working with Topps?
I started working for Topps in 2014 as the artist/designer behind Topps Fire. Topps came across my work on social media and reached out to me to see if I was interested in developing a new line of trading cards, which at the time was for the NFL.
What has the whole process of remixing classic cards and putting your own spin on them been like for you?
It’s been a blast. I’ve been having so much fun. With my work as a creative 100% reliant on sports being played, this project couldn’t have come at a better time for me while most of my work was cancelled the day sports were put on hold.
Taking a look at this Frank Thomas card, what was your thought process behind the design, and what were you hoping to achieve? Was there anything that might have influenced you when creating this?
I want all my 20 cards to be as a set and be the origin of how I started as an artist in school, which was scrapbooking and collage making. Because these cards are nostalgic, I wanted to bring it back to me as I started as an artist with this style. I like to research the player and it’s history of the card. I have no name on the front and a “hello my name is” sticker on Frank’s chest as a shoutout to the no name version, which circulated back in 1990. Also, I included his original number 15 and put him in a White Sox uniform. I wanted to make this a true Rookie Card.
When you are faced with this kind of project, are there any challenging aspects that come with not only starting the design but carrying it out?
I just try to have fun with it. There’s really no challenge if I’m going to be honest. Topps is the perfect client. They trust whatever I present is good to use. There’s no rounds of changes or feedback. The perfect partnership as a creative.
What kind of impact do you think this project is having on the sports design community?
It’s having a huge impact. Before, I wouldn’t have come across one sports designer in the community making sports cards in their spare time for fun and for personal projects. Now, I’m flooded seeing it on my timeline, being tagged in designs – saying my project 2020 series has inspired them to try it themselves. It’s having a huge impact and it’s great to see. Plenty of things I’ve done in the past, a wave of people will jump on and give it a try, so I’m not surprised it happened, but the volume has surprised me.
On behalf of the entire Sox On 35th crew, I would like to thank Tyson for taking the time to discuss this awesome project with us! Be sure to give him a follow on Twitter @TysonBeckDesign and Instagram @TysonBeck to see more of his amazing work.
If you would like to purchase this special edition card, you better do so fast! It’s only available online for the next 24 hours at Topps.com and the clock is ticking.
Featured Design: Brandon Anderson