But Panini must be mindful of the consumers and other manufacturers in the baseball card market. Collectors are throwing heaps of praise to Leaf with their choices in manufacturing (reducing cases and upping hits without changing price), set design (Crusade), and providing images of the high-end cards (Ichiro patch autographs are all cataloged and scanned). While I enjoy most of Topps' releases, I voice my thoughts in hopes that they somehow are heard and considered, and I know others do the same. Panini has provided some great insight into the company with their blog, but there are complaints that, if carried over to baseball, will seriously hurt their chances of getting a full license to use MLB logos.
I've also read about issues with autographs and patches being wrong - upside down, crooked, etc. I know Topps has similar problems, but when sticker autographs are already ugly, a crooked, incorrect, or upside down signature is horrible.
The other just-plain-ugly part of Panini is the design of many of the cards.
To the left is 2005 Donruss Champions, and it gets my vote as the absolute worst design ever used on a base card. When the card designers make the relics and autographs the focus of the layout, the card set fails to get my interest.
On the other hand, when the autograph or relic just blends into the design, the card can be quite attractive:
I believe that's an on-card autograph, which is even better, but the design is solid, and while there is space at the bottom of the card, it's not a large space that's obviously left for an autograph. (I would enlarge the photo a bit to go behind the text just a little and stretch closer to the bottom of the card, but if there is a baseball set similar to this set, I'll collect it.)
Panini's Return to Baseball: