The Leaf sets I'm talking about were after they split the set from the Donruss (US)/Leaf (CAN) issuances:
Great card stock. Simple design. I thought the 1991 Leaf offering was even better:
And yeah, I liked the 1986 Donruss/Leaf design you showed us. Probably because those cards were just so darn glossy and clean at the time while still (to me) interesting.
Oh, and a huge thing for me was the obvious reduction in cardstock weight for the 1988 and 1989 Donruss sets. You could feel it a little bit in the 1987 set, but the two years after were just ridiculous. It just felt like junk in your hand.