The difference between these two cards shows in a few key places: the first one was embossed with copper embossing powder, then ink was sponged over the embossed images. The ink in the first example, however, was not nearly as solidly applied as in the second card.
Look at the first image and notice the areas of sponging: some are much lighter than others, giving the piece a much more "popped" look in its coloring.
The second example, pictured below, was embossed in pewter embossing powder. This is more silvery in its appearance than the copper embossing. I still used the metallic copper for the embellishment elements as well as the matting surrounding the piece.
The sponging over the embossed images is much more uniform, more evenly applied than it was in the first example. It gives the appearance of unity, a constant show of fall colors without the lighter touch of color in areas to give it the pop that the first card exhibits.
In the photos below, it is obvious that the embossing is a different color than the embellishments. Because it has a more silvery appearance, even though the sponged color is more evenly applied, this gives it a different sort of contrast. Not the pleasing pop of the first card, but more a difference in its radiance.
The fact that I added a bit of copper cording and a copper diecut leaf to this one in place of the copper-colored ribbon of the first card, is of no obvious difference between the two cards.
To me, the major difference between the looks of the two cards is, first of all, the variance in the colors of the embossing powders, as well as the lighter/heavier sponging of color in the first card versus the uniform application of the sponged color in the second.
One more close-up of the second card:
Below are the two cards side by side. Now, it's up to you to consider each of these cards and comment on which one is the more effective card of the two.
In your comments, please add your reasoning.
Have fun with this! I'd love to get a discussion going.