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Topps Chrome Design Question (Historical) "bubble effect"


Nov 12, 2010
Really enjoying this year's Topps Chrome design for some reason. I was looking through some old cards and noticed the 2011 Chrome design did not have the (this is going to be hard to describe) sort of "bubble" effect or "outline" effect around the player. Did Topps stop using that design effect for awhile and then come back to it?


Nov 12, 2010
Yes, exactly. That's a great description. The "etching" around the player, almost make a 3-D effect. I'm looking back through some old cards and 2011 just jumped out because it is a flat/smooth surface, so the chrome itself doesn't really pop as much.


Well-known member
Aug 7, 2008
Topps stopped doing it in all but the most basic way years ago. If you like etching, and I think most do, Panini Prizm/Optic products are pretty good, especially in football. Their refractor versions really pop and the details sometimes are so involved it looks like a broken Iphone screen. But I think they've cut down on it, too. I'm sure it's more expensive in time and developing whoever they make the crinkles.

Philip J. Fry

Active member
Aug 9, 2008
Yeah, the etching really makes chrome cards "pop". Unfortunately, Topps decided it wasn't necessary for whatever reason (cost cutting, laziness, cutting corners to rush the product). Bowman Chrome? Looks like Pinnacle Certified and the refractors are nothing more than the mirror parallels. Topps Chrome, thankfully, utilizes the etching once again. Don't get me started on Finest/Bowman's Best, either. Ugh.

As someone mentioned already, it seems that Panini, for now at least, has etching in all of their prizm-esque products (Select, Prizm, Optic, Crusade, etc).

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