They shooting hoops / Yeah Yeah Yeah / They playing basketball

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Yesterday I vectorized some rad illustrated basketball dudes from a 1969–1970 Topps trading card for a small side project.

Last month I wrote an article on cultural representation mattering everywhere, even in illustration work.

In 1970 I’m guessing the NBA’s top tier was (at best) 50% white. But these little guys — who are clearly all cornfed midwestern white boys — adorn every card in the set.

That was a design decision, conscious or unconscious, by an illustrator, an art director, or an executive. They had the opportunity to represent the reality of the player base, but they chose not to.

Design is never neutral. But we can always do better!

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