How Pokémon Cards Are Made
Today, we’re talking about trading cards as if they were currency. If you’re an avid blog reader, you may have already learned the value of many trading cards, and the hundreds and even millions of dollars they have come to be worth. In some ways, trading cards can be used as a form of currency. Whether you’re trading with a friend, or selling a high-value card online, you could afford yourself a multitude of things. A month’s rent perhaps? This of course all depends on the value, condition, etc. To read more about the value of trading cards, check out this post here.
It is no secret that we love trading cards and why not look at a topic we’ve never published about. Today, we decided to investigate and share with you how it is that Pokémon trading cards are designed and what leads to their integration into one of the most popular TCGs of all time.
The process of designing a Pokémon trading card can be broken down in to three main stages:
1. Choosing a Pokémon
It may sound pretty obvious, but that’s how it all starts. The most important aspect to take into account when creating a new set of trading cards is variety. The cards must vary in competitive power and collector appeal, but none of that is even considered until selecting the Pokémon displayed on the card.
When a new video game is released, the Pokémon team really tries to stay true to it and base the cards on the set of Pokémon that heavily appear in the video game. As time passes, the team starts taking other aspects into consideration: which Pokémon are not getting much love in the series, which ones are the player’s favorites, or even if a Pokémon is a personal favorite among Pokémon team members.
2. Illustrating the cards
Once the characters that will appear in the cards have been chosen, it’s time to start the artistic part of the process. It takes nearly 73 illustrators to ensure the Pokemon variety is properly illustrated. One of the most legendary Pokémon illustrators is Mitsuhiro Arita, who has worked in TCG since the beginning and has illustrated 537 cards to this day. Each illustrator has their desk configured according to their home office, also equipped with a tablet for digital art and coloring.
The artists get information about the Pokémon they are in charge of designing: what it is, the moves it will have, and any other relevant background information. Interestingly enough, the same artist will not be in charge of designing all of the evolutionary phases of a Pokémon.
3. Testing of the cards in a playfield
Yes, this happens. After the cards are created, they are sent to a room filled with nothing but chairs, tables, and infinite drawers of Pokémon trading cards. During the five business days of the week, for seven hours, there is a team dedicated to play with the cards and see how they roll. Note that these cards are not ready while they are being tested. They are just stickers glued onto older cards.
The players vary when it comes to Pokémon playing expertise. However, they are all expected to like Pokémon. After playing, the testers submit reports and are invited to have a meeting where they provide their opinions about the cards. After the meeting, slight tweaks are made to the cards, and off to printing they go!
What do you think about the process? We’d love to be card testers over here! Comment below if you think you’d be a good tester 😉