Did Fleer steal from Donruss?

Go ahead and insult my taste if you must but damn it, I love Fleer’s bright, yellow, ’91 design. Tonight while brain storming on a post I made a truly shocking discovery regarding two of my favorite brands from the early-90’s. It really doesn’t matter now that Donruss Panini is out of baseball and Fleer is in retirement but it’s news to me.

Take a look at the 1990 Donruss (left) Jose Canseco card. Now, take a look at the 1991 Fleer Jose Canseco card and tell me if you notice any similarities. For starters, the size of the actual photograph is almost identical. Fine, just a coincidence, right? What about the oddly placed two black lines running through the top of the card on both cards? What the heck is that about?

Am I the last person on the planet to discover this? Considering that Topps sued Upper Deck a few months ago regarding Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee, one has to wonder if Donruss ever made any fuss about what is essentially ’90 Donruss 2.0 back in 1991. For the record, 1991 Donruss had a very unique and memorable design.

When was the last time you said that about a recent Donruss product?

(put your hand down, Tracy Hackler)

14 thoughts on “Did Fleer steal from Donruss?

  1. I wouldn’t say they _stole_ the design because there are obviously big differences. However, it looks like Fleer might have been _influenced_ by the Donruss design. Donruss would have had no case against Fleer unless Fleer copied those ugly little “sprinkles” on the Donruss design.

  2. Interesting observation.. The horizontal lines, and the size of the photo and empty space on top is almost identical.. I never noticed, probably cuz I definitely didn’t have alot of ’91 Fleer..

  3. I LOVE the bright yellow cards too!

    never realized either until you pointed that out that theres a simularity.

  4. There’s a similarity between every baseball card that features photos. Let’s just enjoy the cards (or not, in the case of that horrid 1990 Donruss set) and leave the “stealing” arguments to lawyers making money on frivolous lawsuits.

  5. `Stealing`is a tad dramatic of a comparison in this case, however the lines, text:photo ration and bright color pallet are similar. Perhaps a designer went from one set to the other and brought with them a certain preference that made it through the board room.

  6. Cmon. I have to say that this is a little far fetched. They are someone SIMILAR, but not anywhere close enough to say STOLEN. Just my thoughts.

  7. Fleer CEO, circa late 1990: Our last couple of years have seen some crappy cards. Designers, what ideas do you have?

    Fleer designer: I think we should completely steal Donruss’ design.

    Fleer CEO: You mean the 1987 design? That was such a sweet card.

    Designer: No

    Fleer CEO: 1984? The kids loved those cards.

    Designer: No

    Fleer CEO: 85? 82? 83?

    Designer: No, we should steal last years design.

    CEO: GA-WAH?!?!?!? That stuff was soooo bad. The bright red, the splotches…the smell.

    Designer: No, it’s simple. We change the color of the card from bright red to bright yellow, then we decrease the size of the photo by about 10%. Next, instead of white cursive font we make a big bold black font in between the first and second lines. Finally, instead of putting out logo, team name and player position up top, we put it at the bottom.

    CEO: But the splotches?

    Designer: Of course. We can’t have those. It’ll be too obvious.

    CEO: This is so crazy…it just might work. I hope our dastardly scheme will never be found out. Thankfully, the “intertubes” or whatever this new thing is will never take off!!! MUAHAHAHAHAAHA!!!

  8. Oh yeah, the day ’91 Fleer came out my first thought was “they ripped off THAT ugly set??” It’s one of the reasons I’ve never really liked the set that much.

    And no, you are not the last person in the world to notice it. I bet a few dozen people noticed it when they read this post so you’re now off the hook.

  9. Similar but not exactly the same.

    Whatever happened at Fleer that lead to the production of those awesome ’91 cards is OK in my book. They’re just so damn…yellow. I love it.

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