THE MAKING OF THE
WORTH THE WAIT…
Some of you might think that Futera is usually late in getting its collections out. Yes, you’re right!
If our Collections were of a more normal Publisher specification with standard board, print processes and fewer insert card types, a
Release Date could be scheduled quite easily. However, Futera UNIQUE Collections involve a diverse range of specialist elements,
often using unique, untested finishing processes where it is impossible to quantify a timeline since they've never been attempted before...
Additionally, some elements can only come together from different processes in the last few days or even hours and which can themselves raise
last minute issues, so we really don't have the luxury of being able to announce a definitive release date much in advance of when the Collection
comes together in its entirety.
Whilst we appreciate that's frustrating for our collectors, and frustrating for ourselves, some of these last minute elements are what makes a Futera Collection most special, and we hope that when we do release it's been worth the wait.
These cards very nearly didn't exist in the Collection! Just a week before release date the diamonds package
went missing. Two days before final packing, they arrived and ‘The Mythicals’ fortunately becoming a reality.
(NB: each card in inset with 5 rough-cut diamonds.)
FUTERA UNIQUE '1 of 1' FRAMED AUTOGRAPH CARDS:
Originally these Cards were produced with a black & white filmcell, but last minute as a design enhancement we
had them replaced in colour which served as a better complement to the 24ct gold plated frame.
Note: The number of Futera Unique ‘1 of 1’ cards was reduced for the Futera Unique 2012 Collection to focus
on the higher profile footballers only.
This is a set of 24ct gold plated picture frame design cards where the chain on the back was thought
technically ‘impossible’ as the links kept breaking during initial moulding. However, we endured and
succeeded in having our chain.
Some card publishers get players to sign pieces of clear tape and stick them on to a card to create their
‘Autographed’ cards, but whilst there is a nice uniformity in that method, we prefer for the players to sign
direct on the card surface.
This means that the players will sign where and as they want to sign - sometimes over the design or their own
image - but from a collector’s viewpoint we feel that’s a good thing, as it adds character and gives each card a
unique touch from the next.
‘THE ARCHIVE MEMORABILIA COLLECTION’:
The different player jerseys' 'lumps and bumps' always prove challenging during card encasement, but are a necessary
part of providing more rarity with the additional colours and character that they contribute.
This year the Colour Grading Chart has been enhanced, particularly with some cards having 2 players and 2 jersey
pieces on the same card:
COLOUR GRADING CHART: http://welcome.futera.com/PDF/Colourgradingunique2012.pdf
This Set used a special multi-dimensional mould which took 2 months to build. Our card designs had originally
been created for a 2-level emboss, but the mould creator saw it as a multi-dimensional expression and we
didn’t know what to expect until it arrived. Fortunately, the set was completed successfully and is another ‘1st’
‘THE LEGENDS’ Producing the transparent card centre featuring a sepia colour image on one side with full
colour image flipped on the other - together with the matching of each card’s oval die-cut framed centre front to
back - was no easy crafting feat. This limited edition set had to be made 3 times due to the complex printing issues
and finishing processes.
This is a collection of 40 ‘football programme’ style cards, each Volume sporting a ‘50s style slogan individual to
each card design. The cards have had crease effects applied as we wanted to get across the tangible ‘feel’ of a
well read, vintage newspaper as well as the look from this era.
In fact, the Unique 2012 HEROES Set of Football Programme designs is part of a series of Football Programme
Sets planned for future Unique collections. This was the 50s… look out for the 60s, 70s and more.
MAIN SET Regular Cards (200 card set)
PARALLEL MAIN SET (ruby foiled)
Our insistence on a substantial, quality board for our Unique Collections always causes us problems. We may be
able to find the board we want, but it may not lend itself to the equipment or processes we need. In the end,
a special method of printing and an innovative texture technique never before attempted on trading cards pushed
the print boundaries (and our patience!) and whilst it extended the print schedule by 3 weeks it enabled Futera to
produce a '1st' for trading cards.
SHEDDING A LIGHT: Trouble-shooting this tricky process to achieve the high gloss player contrast against
the unique matt textured background had everyone scratching their heads. Around 4.00am, having combined a mix
of physics, maths and common sense, we manually moved the lamps around the Press to reach an optimum varnish
flow-through + heat exposure balance at critical turnings of the board on the drums - not good for the printer rollers!
With the achievement of this contrasting textured finish, much debate ensued in Futera about removing the foil effect
from the front of these cards. It was finally agreed that the footballer was better profiled and became the main event
without the foiling elements traditionally applied in past collections. The effect is unique and we believe the tangible
interest provides the collector with a more enjoyable and substantial card than if we had followed traditional print.
LAST MINUTE: Sadly some techniques proved just too challenging and last minute we had to drop some design
features for our H&S subset which meant a quick studio job for a substitute. Our feeling is that the substitute designs
didn’t fit with this collection but as we were by that time on the production floor with the Presses running, the time
factor ruled the day. However, for the future, we would delay a little longer rather than let time be the driving force.
Having said that, as there aren’t many of those cards, either in design or number, they may end up quite collectible as
a set in their own right!
GOLD, PLATINUM, DIAMONDS…. WHAT NEXT? Futera cards have been produced in a variety of
materials over the past few years - the trickiest being made from Porcelain where every other card would break
during the different stages.
Apart from non-board materials such as precious metals causing a crafting nightmare, being innovative also
throws up weight & dimension issues which are not quantifiable until all the card types have been made and we
can weigh and measure them together as finished packs.
With a Trading Card Collection, each pack weight and dimension should be similar where collectors can enjoy
the ‘buzz’ of finding that ‘special Insert card’ in their pack. Therefore whilst we advise there ‘up to 22 cards’ in
a pack, the number of cards has been varied randomly so that there is no pattern identifiable for any
particular Insert card type.
DID YOU KNOW….
It takes around a year to produce each Futera Collection. The Futera Unique 2012 Collection actually went to
print 5 months ago with 90% of the Collection ready over 2 months ago. Here are some of the various production
challenges worked through in producing the finished Collection:
With the special finish Main Set cards we broke 2 x 800 euro ram punch blades in 10 hours with replacements
having to be flown in from Germany…
We went through 4 die-cutting formes, and over the weeks leading up to release had to design and deploy
3 different methods of cutting in order to fulfill the cutting specification this side of December.
The Legends Set was re-made 3 times before release in getting the dual-image transparency framed elements
from design concept through to a finished card
Trial after trial we were advised that the the Heroes Set couldn’t be foiled. But then we found a way around
it just 1 week from shipping date so…back on Press! And back to 18 hour days at the factory for the sixth
week in a row!!!
The brass mould for the Memorabilia cards - which had taken two months to build at horrific expense- broke on
the first day and an emergency mould had to be ordered. Stress levels high on the floor!
Each unique code of every special Insert card (many thousands in total) was manually checked and recorded
by a Futera Director for security.
Every one of the 5,000 Memorabilia Jersey Card colour codes was registered and checked off by a Futera Director.
Futera Unique 2012 breaks new ground in print & finishing, and the above are just a few examples of why - in achieving
this type of collection specification - our Futera Collections 'release when they release'.
We really care about what goes into a Collection, from the creation of its Checklist, the sourcing of interesting images,
the researching player facts and stats, through to the onerous hours of artwork in design and preparing for print...
and the Futera team enjoys a wonderful camaraderie carrying us through the long nights and early mornings.
We won’t get everything right all of the time, and we won’t please everyone everywhere all of the time - but
much care, hard work and particiularly passion goes into each and every Futera release and we will continue to
endeavour to provide the best opportunity for you to enjoy Futera cards.