Sunday, September 27, 2009

Donruss Studio: An Overview

I’ve finished up getting all the Cubs from Donruss Studio, my 19th different brand of complete Cubs.

Studio was another of the many that came out when I wasn’t doing much collecting. For most of the 90’s I received the Topps complete set for Christmas and ignored everything else.

I wish I knew about Studio. I think I would have enjoyed it. In some ways, Studio was the first retro brand. Let me explain. For the first 20 years, all of the Topps cards featured posed photos. Cards showed game action shots for the first time in 1971. By the mid ‘80’s almost all the cards had action photos. While the action was nice, you had a tougher time recognizing the face of the player.

Enter Studio in 1991. Some Donruss executive must have said, “We need something different. Let’s see……if all of today’s cards have action shots, we should go back to the posed cards.” But rather than using the cheesy poses of the Topps cards, they went with a studio-type photo shoot and poses. The card design was modern, but the photos have a retro feel to them.

For the most part, Donruss accomplished what they set out to do. We got nice a look at the player's face. And many times, the Studio shot also gave us a glimpse into the personality of the player.

Studio ran from 1991 – 2005, though there were no cards in 1999 and 2000. Sets typically had around 200 cards, some years more, some years less. That would mean 5-10 Cubs per set. There were a total of 105 Cubs cards that I had to gather.

I can show you the entire Studio run with two players. The Mark Grace cards are from the first part of Studio’s production, 1991 – 1998. Kerry Wood takes us through the second half, 2001 – 2005.

1991 - Black and White

1992 First color pose

1993 - non-posed on front, posed shot on back

1994 - in front of the locker

1995 - credit card

1996 - big face

1997 - basic pose

1998 - pose over action

2001 - pose with logo, similar to 1993

2002 - tribute to 9/11

2003 - the marquee

2004 - pose with skyline

2005 - last set comes full circle, back to black and white like the first set

In future posts I’ll take a look at each of the Cubs cards from a particular year or two.

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