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“as

a teenager

i discovered

I

was born to do this work. For as long as I can remember my eye has traced the letterforms, logos, shapes, and colors that permeate my world. I have childhood memories of contemplating the honesty and effectiveness of trucking company logos on I-5 during family road trips.

skateboarding

and punk rock , As a teenager, I discovered skateboarding and punk punk rock, rock, two two worlds rich rich in visual language. visual language. It was in these counter culture environments where the foundations of my aesthetic and world view were laid. It is also where my love of photography sprouted, resulting in my first published work. It was through skateboarding I came to understand that brands had personalities, and that the graphics they used could define and communicate emotional qualities and character.

two worlds rich

in visual language” After high school, I played bass in punk bands, making 7-inch records and touring in the van. I studied information technology at UCSD and went to work in a soulless cube. I was good at the work, but found it creatively unfulfilling. Shunning the world of Dilbert, I returned to photography, working first as an assistant, and eventually shooting my own jobs. My photography career took me around the world making pictures for the likes of Time and RedBull and creating three books on the art and culture of tattooing.

In 2009 I succumbed to the siren song and returned to school determined to learn the craft of graphic design. What began as a fascination has blossomed into full-blown love. I can’t get enough.


mariachi trilogy mexploitation cinema CreativeDirection

Candice Lopez Sean Bacon

Type faces

Luchita Payol Maximo

TalentsApplied

Packaging Product Design Typography


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Maximo was inspired by 19th century wood type specimens made by William Hamilton Page

Columbia Pictures wanted to create a 20-year anniversary, collector’s edition box set for Robert Rodriguez’s seminal mexploitation, shoot-em-up, Mariachi Trilogy. It had to be over the top. The three films are a stylized, tongue in cheek, homage to Sergio Leone’s Dollars Trilogy. The story takes a back seat to the campy, John Wu style, gun ballet shoot outs as it follows a down on his luck mariachi turned gun slinger. The hero is legendary south of the border for carrying an arsenal in his guitar case. To embody the testosterone fueled one-of-a-kind comedic personality of the movies I created a custom latin display typeface called Maximo. The characters were inspired by 19th century wood type specimens made by William Hamilton Page. The scaled down guitar case is a nod to the films’ central prop. The Chango beer bottle, with its cheeky tag line, is also a concept lifted from the dialogue.

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shibuya

japanese jet fuel

CreativeDirection

Candice Lopez Rafael Lopez

Type faces

AG Book Rounded Futura

TalentsApplied

Identity Illustration Packaging


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For young people today, energy drinks have become their own food group. Shibuya, named for downtown Tokyo’s fashion and entertainment district, knew they needed a unique, eye catching look and feel for their company and product to stand out in a saturated marketplace. Targeted at 15-30 year old devotees of Japanese pop culture, Shibuya’s identity and packaging had to capture the frenetic energy of Tokyo nightlife, the friskiness of cosplay, and the excitement of gaming. To that end, I created a lively pattern informed by contemporary Japanese design to give the corporate identity as well as their packaging a bouncy, fun vibe. I also developed and illustrated three nocturnal animal characters, reminiscent of anime or manga, to lend a range of distinct, playful personalities to Shibuya’s packaging.

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Sketches were scanned to create final digital characters

Cute characters are a mainstay of Japanese packaging

Contemporary Japanese pop culture was mined for inspiration

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beer city usa CreativeDirection

Amy Becraft Candice Lopez

Type faces

Neutra

TalentsApplied

Editorial Design Photography Typography


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san diego brewers guild The public face of The San Diego Brewers Guild is San Diego Beer Week. The county wide, 10 day festival attracts beer enthusiasts from around the globe by showcasing the best of San Diego’s beer making through partnerships with local breweries, brew-pubs and restaurants. Every year, the celebration kicks off with The San Diego Brewers Guild Festival. Along with treating beer lovers to the best of local brews, food, and music, the opening night festivities are the guild’s primary means of fundraising. I designed broadsheets and bar coasters trumpeting the festival to be displayed in local watering holes in the weeks preceding the event. The system shared a visual language built on bold typography and the conceptual image juxtaposition of a vintage map of the San Diego area and a pint of beer. Additionally, I designed and photographed Ferment, the magazine of The San Diego Brewers Guild, which features industry knowhow, interviews, and profiles of the people and businesses that make San Diego Beer City U.S.A.

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Demand a plan action reaction CreativeDirection

Lisa Starace

Type faces

Gibson

TalentsApplied

Digital Illustration Typography Web Design


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Demand A Plan is a campaign of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The campaign’s intention is to pressure congress into passing common sense gun control legislation while respecting American’s second amendment rights. To effectively reach as wide an audience as possible, this nuanced platform required design that was poignant and arresting without being inflammatory. I did quite a bit of research in developing concepts to promote the mayors’ agenda. I was continually struck by one shocking statistic after another concerning guns and this country. Deciding to let the facts do the talking, I created a poster design using bold typography and digital illustration combined with statistical data that reinforced the nonprofit’s argument. Using the visual language established in the poster, I created buttons, protest signs and a website to encourage people to sign the petition to demand a plan.

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Early version of the final design

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This poster has stuck with me ever since I first saw it when I was a child

Statistical research played a large role in concept development

I have been fascinated with technical drawings for as long as I can remember


peacock

maybe frank maybe sammy

CreativeDirection

Candice Lopez MaeLin Levine

Type faces

Futura Shag Sign Painter

TalentsApplied

Identity Packaging Web Design


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Peacock Hotel and Casino in fabulous Las Vegas is a mid-century inspired resort and casino that draws heavily on myth and reality of the legendary Rat-Pack and idealized Las Vegas of the early 1960’s. The resort is targeted at two demographics: a hip, visually sophisticated younger crowd attracted to the retro aesthetic —think Nelson Clocks and Herman Miller chairs. For them Peacock’s design, music, nightlife, and vibe are the attraction. The secondary group is well off emptynesters. Peacock should feel like a time machine to the Las Vegas they always heard about, but never got to see for themselves. These guests gravitate to the casino, restaurants and spa. I created a visual language steeped in mid century modernism but with a contemporary reimagining. Bright colors, starburst textures, and playful typography were then applied to a complete identity system for Peacock’s corporate communications as well as their website and a wide selection of guest amenities.

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nixon & christophers let there be light CreativeDirection

Type faces Ron Miriello

Avenir

TalentsApplied

Collateral Identity Web Design


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Nixon & Christophers is a cutting edge lighting and energy efficiency consultancy specializing in museums and other mid-sized public and private institutions. As part of their brand launch, Nixon & Christophers needed a web presence and identity system that reflected their refined sensibilities while starting a conversation about the company’s niche service. Working under creative direction at Miriello Grafico and with provided art, I created a clean, European feeling logo and visual language of color, pattern, and typography that was applied to the Nixon & Christophers’ identity system, website, and collateral. I saw this project through to completion, acting as the liaison between the client, web programmer, and printer.

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two good men a long time gone CreativeDirection

Candice Lopez

Type faces

Block Berthold Bodoni Antiqua

TalentsApplied

Packaging Typography Web Design


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Fine olive oil and balsamic vinegar are cornerstones of Italian cooking, in the old country as well as The United States. The founders of 2 Good Men were in search of branding that was rooted in the story of Italian immigration to this country. Targeted to politically left leaning, affluent foodies 30-45 years of age, 2 Good Men needed to look as good on the chef’s kitchen counter as it tasted with dinner. I began with the name. 2 Good Men, the title of a Woody Guthrie song from the mid 40’s that recounts the story of Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Sacco and Vanzetti were Italian immigrants, and suspected anarchists, convicted of armed robbery and double murder at a Boston shoe factory in 1920. It was widely believed that Sacco and Vanzetti were persecuted—due in part to a litany of inconsistencies in the handling of the evidence in their case—because of their immigrant status and their left leaning, pro-labor activism. Their execution drew international outrage, touching off violent protests in major cities around the world. The story of Sacco and Vanzetti became the inspiration for a slew of international artists, and their case initiated sweeping judicial reform. A plaque in their honor now hangs in the Boston Public Library. Drawing on this rich heritage, I created a wordmark rooted in turn of the century typography that, combined with packaging that celebrates the pair, capturing the feeling of the early 20th century immigrant experience in New England. I designed a website site that details the trials and tribulations of the duo while showcasing the brand.

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25 YEAR

BARREL

COLD PRESSED

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

AGED

Alternate packaging call out

Extensive research into the story of Sacco & Vanzetti was conducted prior to development of the brand

A VIRGIN R T X E

2MEN

GOOD

25 YEAR

BARREL

Many variations of the logos were tried before making a final decision

Oil

AGED

VINEGAR

VINEGAR Sub -brand naming options

Still from The 1971 film Sacco & Vanzetti

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Trade Association Mid-Century Diner Rat-Pack Casino

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Express Bus Line Lighting Designer Gourmet Olive Oil

Manga Energy Drink Special Edition DVD Media Production Co


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I

was once asked at a dinner party for advice on how to take better pictures. After some serious consideration, the best of I could come up with was “when it looks good in the little box, push the button.” I suspect I’m only person sitting around that table who took anything away from my snotty version of “F/8 and being there” but it was still a revelation of sorts. What I realized is, at least in the way I practice it, photography is very instinctual. In many ways, what I come back with after a shoot—assuming the light cooperated, focus was close enough, and my timing was on—is my subjects reaction to me. Whether it’s something I said, or just having a big camera stuck in their faces, I usually try to provoke a reaction out of those I photograph. At the end of the day, fostering

a connection with the personalities on the other side of the lens is what makes for great portraits and there is no way to make that formulaic. It’s about immediacy and attitude. I use 3 fixed lenses and try to keep crew, lighting and other distractions to a minimum. If I had my way, I would still shoot film for most of my projects. A common conversation between photographers concerns “getting your subject to give you something”. After photographing people, especially if I know I got a good picture, I feel guilty, as if I’ve taken a little something from them. I believe there is more than a grain of truth to the third world adage that a camera can steal your soul.


gearheads pedal to the metal Locations

El Mirage Barona San Diego

Cameras

Canon 1Ds Mk3 Canon A2

Client

Self Directed


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gearheads I’ve always been a gearhead at heart. I was that kid that took apart the blender; and before I was old enough to drive it, I had a motorcycle that also got disassembled regularly. My teen years and early twenties were a string of old cars, bikes, oil leaks, and busted knuckles. Modifying and maintaining old cars shares much with design. Both use creative problem solving to create something that must look good while serving a purpose. This collection of photos was made over the course of my travels to various car shows, swap meets, motorcycle rallies, and amateur races. At these events, I try to focus as much attention, if not more, on the people, personalities, and lifestyle as on the machines and action.

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freaks welcome to the side show Locations

Venice Beach Barrio Logan

Cameras

Canon 1Ds Mk3

Client

Bizarre Magazine San Diego Magazine


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I began documenting circus freaks and sideshows on assignment for San Diego Magazine photographing Technomania Circus in Barrio Logan. The DYI, backyard, circus was instantly familiar to me, owing much to unsanctioned punk rock shows like the ones I played when I was in my early 20’s. The energy, creativity, and attitude made me feel right at home with this unique band of performers. This familiarity lent itself to images that seek to understand these individuals not to point a finger and gawk. Several years later, the U.K.’s Bizarre magazine asked me to photograph Todd Ray’s Venice Beach Side Show. Once again, Todd and his cast of characters made me feel right at home. Several of the performers I knew from Technomania Circus made the move north to L.A. adding to my sense of familiarity. I wanted to make portraits that revealed something of the performers unique personalities as well as their outlandish talents.

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cowboy yippee ki-yay Locations

Trabuco Canyon

Cameras

Canon 1Ds Mk3

Client

Self Directed


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Despite the intimate results a bond of familiarity breeds, I’m naturally a curious person; and one of my great joys in photography is putting myself in completely unfamiliar circumstances. The freshness of new experiences instills a sense of wonder and discovery in the work. When I found out that an old friend was working on a horse ranch in eastern Orange County, I immediately thought “photo project!” Horses, ranching and pretty much anything agrarian are totally foreign to me. Truth be told, I’m a little scared of the beasts. The revelation that the ranch hands participated in a low intensity rodeo only peaked my curiosity. To that end, I spent several weekends in Trabuco Canyon, riding horses, eating burgers, drinking beer, watching calves be put through their paces, listening to terrible music, and in general having a great time. As I hoped, the vivacity of the experience shines through in the final product.

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yakuza tattoo & the japanese mafia Locations

Nagoya Tokyo Yokohama

Cameras

Bronica RF645 Canon 1Ds Mk3

Clients

Bloodwork Books


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I do not want to go back to Japan. Don’t get me wrong, The Floating World is an amazing place full of beautiful people, unbelievable food, and next level aesthetic culture; but I know I will never be able to relive my incredible experiences there. I spent two years crisscrossing the Pacific to the birthplace of contemporary tattooing for the three books I photographed on the subject. Although attitudes are shifting, especially among the younger generations, tattooing still has a strong association with organized crime in Japan; so if you want to be involved in the art form, you are going to rub shoulders with some gangsters. In the course of photographing this project I got to experience a side of Japan most gaijin (foreigners) never get the chance to see. From being the high rollers in the talking bars and Russian strip clubs (long story), to eating amazing dinners that look like something out of a sci-fi movie, to being invited into private homes that resembled palaces, there is no way any subsequent trip could possibly be as exciting, eye-opening, and on a few occasions, frightening as those I had as guests of the mafia.

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credits gearheads Type Inspiration: William Hamilton Page

Studio Photography: John Schulz

Movies By: Robert Rodriguez

Retouching: Max Dolberg

Studio Photography: John Schulz

Locations: The Pearl, Hotel Valley Ho,

Case Construction: Max Dolberg

The Lopez Residence

110 M.P.H / No Helmet: Danger

Studio Photography: John Schulz

Client Photography: Philip Schultz Ritterman

Art Direction: Laurie Miller

Lifestyle Photography: Max Dolberg

Studio Photography: John Schulz

Retouching: Max Dolberg

Illustration: Philip Schultz Ritterman

Tom Broadbent Assistant: Sean Cassidy

Digital Mock Up: Max Dolberg

Laptop Photography: Max Dolberg

Races Sanctioned By:

I.C.M.A. S.C.T.A.

san diego brewers guild

Photography: Max Dolberg

Teaser Photo: Michele Moro

Ranch Provided By:

Locations: Blind Lady Ale House,

Studio Photography: John Schulz

Stone Brewing, The Lost Abbey, Ale Smith, O’Brian’s, Ballast Point

Laptop Photography: Max Dolberg

Silverado Cattle Club Fixer: Elana Hullis

Protest Photo: David Poe

Art Director: Adrian Lee

Teaser Photo: The Gun Store, Las Vegas

Tattoos: Horiyasu, Shige,

Studio Photography: John Schulz

Horikoi, Horiyoshi III

Retouching: Max Dolberg

extra special thanks to: Candice Lopez, Ron Miriello, MaeLin Levine, Amy Levine, Lisa Starace, Sean Bacon, Amy Becraft, Blair Thornley, Rafael Lopez, Megan Rowe, John Schulz, Daniel Fishel, Dylan Jones, Adrian Lee, Murrugan, Irene Ma, Andy Dolberg, and of course, my parents

Printing

Clearstory San Diego HP Indigo

Type faces

Aaux Office Aaux Pro

PaperStock

Finch Fine ID Sterling Premium


Max Dolberg's Graphic Design and Photography Portfolio