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

Published on 28 September 2019 at 11:25

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. 

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Johnson Doe
4 years ago

The yellow is so in your face and it just contrasts with the color of the cards. White is far better