Column: Should we get rid of the yellow border on Pokémon Cards?

Published on 28 September 2019 at 10:48

Yellow? Pokémon Cards? People are used to the yellow border we all know for over 20 years now. For some, it has become a colour associated (often with nostalgia) with Pokémon Cards. Sword & Shield TCG Cards were introduced recently and still uses yellow bordered cards for the upcoming next generation of Pokémon TCG.


Update 9-12-2022: TPCi got rid of the yellow borders, they have been replaced with silver matching the Japanese version.


But some collectors are not liking this yellow border anymore for our current sets and prefer the white/grey coloured borders for the Japanese sets. Do they have a valid point? Let's talk about it.

I have tried to do some research on my own, I think this is a subject that can be very interesting. I have never thought that something so simple, can make a drastic difference in appearance when you compare different colours.


Please mind while reading this, that I am not an specialist or expert on any of this matter. I am just giving you my opinion about this subject and I share some of my own research about it. 


Neutral colour

Some fans complained the yellow border ruin the artwork of cards because it's too easy to notice. To look into this, we have to go back to the basics.

The border that is used for Japanese Pokémon Cards are made up of neutral colours (white, grey).

What are neutral colours? These colours are less distracting than other colours. It allows you to focus on the artwork (in this case Pokémon Cards) more. You could use neutrals as a background to place the focus on the artwork. It allows you to mix it with colours better. This also will pop out the artwork of Pokémon Cards much better, it's a much safer colour than yellow.

Neutral colour palette, image from

CHR Cards

CHR Cards were introduced in Japan for the set Dream League. These Pokémon Cards have a Full Art Card version of a regular Pokémon Card including a Pokémon character. These were also introduced to be included in our upcoming November set Cosmic Eclipse

People have complained the yellow border used for the international release, is ruining the CHR Cards. The yellow is too distracting. Here you can see images of the Wishiwashi CHR Cards compared to the Japanese version and the international version. You might notice the yellow border distracts the artwork very much compared to the Japanese version.

This is a perfect example on why you should more neutral colours instead of yellow. I personally think it was a mistake to use yellow borders for CHR Cards. 

It's also worth noting, the original Japanese Base Set Cards had the border colour matched with the border around the artwork. This is not the same with the Wizards of the Coast release Base Set Charizard. 

Why it wouldn't work

People are so familiar with this yellow border colour, and the back of the card that also remains unchanged to this day. Some collectors and players just can't think it away. The DP / HGSS era of cards also had a different border colour, a more cloudy light yellow. I have had some (newer) players in the past coming up to me asking if this card was fake because they were not familiar with these kind of borders. 

Pokémon Company doesn't need to take unnecessary risks, it currently runs well for them. They have no reason to change this border colour. 


While we can't think away the yellow border for most of the cards, maybe implementing holo borders for holo cards. This will not only make a holo card more special, but also blends in more nicely with the holographic pattern.

Your opinion

Is there a reason you like or dislike the way it is currently? I would love to know your opinion about this. Please let me know in the comment section. 

What border colour do you prefer?

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5 years ago

Well, I think the poll results Suraj for themselves. As of writing this comment, there have been 70 votes. The results are 9% got Yellow, 81% for Grey/White, and 0% for other. I think it's very clear on what the preference is. I was thinking about this very thing the other day, that I preferred the look of the Japanese cards due to borders, both yellow vs grey as well as the Holo border for Rares. I definitely feel that the growing pain for dealing with "are these real cards" is worth the more aesthetically pleasing cards in the long run. Please Pokemon, make this change to the international cards for Sword and Shield.

5 years ago

I realize after submitting that the percentages don't add up to 100% which seems odd, but those were the numbers shown. So the only thing I can think of, is the poll is taking account of, but not showing those that visited the outage but didn't vote which would be about 10% at this point, with the addition of 81, 9, and 0.