Many teachers tell students to color inside the lines. But what if coloring outside the lines and being true to one’s own unique style can make you a successful graphic artist? Edina resident Maverick Engelhart is doing just that.
A maverick is defined as a person who refuses to follow the customs or rules of a group. It’s also the nickname given to Engelhart at a young age, and the definition rings true in his life and work today. Engelhart began his career in marketing and design in 1987, working for a husband-and-wife team at a company called Adpros, now known as Grossman and Associates. That’s where he fell in love with marketing, advertising and design. He worked with many different companies in the Twin Cities and in all facets of the business until he found his own niche and style. Twelve years ago, after many years in the business, Engelhart branched out on his own and launched Maverick Design Group. He credits his early years at Adpros with his successful career and growing his talent.
Many people are rigid about the boundaries between work and daily life, with clear distinctions of work and home. But in his cozy basement office in Edina, Engelhart defies these boundaries and instead integrates his life into his work as a source of deep inspiration. He has found a way to use his passion, his gifts and his community to create rich, colorful designs for his clients. He gets hired for an array of services. “Maverick’s company suggests [he does only] ‘design work’ but he does so much more,” says Sara Dvorak of Milltronics USA and a client of Maverick Design Group. “He has helped rebrand our company, update old logos, create beautiful new ones, design print and online advertisements, various literature items and so much more!”
Engelhart’s personal life includes an array of outdoor activities such as motorcycling and hunting. He’s an outdoorsman who loves Western vistas, wildlife and the camaraderie among those who share his love of the outdoors and the open road. His hobbies and love for the outdoors shine through in his work, making the images and ads you see look less like marketing and more like creations of a fine artist.
“From what I can tell,” says Dvorak, “Maverick has a lot of hobbies that he has turned into talents. I think this goes back to his passion. He is so passionate about the things he does, so I think it is only natural for him to become fully engaged in that activity. Maverick’s talent in photography is what comes to mind for me. He is passionate about the outdoors, so I think it is only natural for him to want to capture the beauty in the outdoors and turn it into pieces of work.”
“Maverick has an ability to combine art and emotion with sound principles of design,” says longtime client Jim Kanters of MARKETTHINC. “This gives his work an appeal that is both personal and universal.”
“His work is more like pieces of art,” Dvorak says. “He is a natural.”
Kanters echoes this sentiment. “In addition to his formidable design skills, Maverick has a talent for combining retrospective Americana influences, the beauty of the natural world, and his wonderful sense of humor to create engaging and compelling design solutions to his clients.”
“I am kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” Engelhart says. “I am flexible and able to do everything, such as marketing, advertising and design. I do everything but develop websites.”
Engelhart’s work often seems synonymous with his nickname. “I try to make my work unique and different, as long as it fits with the client’s needs,” he says. “After all these years, I know what areas I am good at and then I team up with other experts to help make me better and make the client happy. I love creating great work and making clients businesses grow.”
“And Edina,” says Engelhart, “is a great location for my business and family. I really enjoy working and living here. I love being centrally located.”
Engelhart’s life, his passion, and his artistry are woven together in his home office in Edina. He lives out the copy written in one of his own ads: “Go where you need to go. Do what you love to do.”
Special THANKS to Cowboy Jack’s in Minneapolis, site of this photo shoot.