Stoke Mentor Spotlight: Simon Trask


Simon Trask has worked as a graphic designer for 15 years, holding over 2 decades of experience in small business, working with over 300 of them in various ways. He’s also sold 2 businesses and bought 2 businesses over the span of his career.

Simon works in branding, graphic design, and online retail and is self-employed. He’s here at Stoke on Wednesdays from 12-1 PM in conference room 2.

Check out what Simon says re: mentoring/being mentored, some of his favorite projects, and a very detailed description of what a strong cup of drip coffee should look like. Stop in to meet and chat with him at Stoke during his mentor office hour, Wednesdays from 12 PM - 1 PM.

Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?

I consult small businesses on the problems and decisions they might be facing, I own and manage several e-commerce retail brands, and I am a branding consultant and graphic designer (logos, marketing communications, websites, product, advertising).

What is a memorable project that you’ve been involved with and are most proud of? What has been your favorite experience/project working in your field?

The project I’m probably most proud of was designing every single piece of communication for the 2008 and 2009 Buick Invitational, the San Diego stop of the PGA TOUR. Editing thousands of photos, laying out a 96 page booklet, website, 20 foot signage, all advertisement and everything right down to what the tickets looked like. They are still my most comprehensive projects to date. 

Running an agency, I am most proud of the work that the team produced with little input from me. Seeing everyone take the reins, work together and produce a beautiful TV commercial or awesome engaging website was really rewarding.

All that said, what I will never get tired of is when a small business reports back 3 months after a rebrand with how much their bottom line has improved. That means a real tangible impact in our town, good steady jobs, and a legacy for the owner’s family – that’s hard to beat!

What was your path into your business/doing the work that you do?

I studied Graphic Design and that’s what my degree is in. 

I practiced full time for 10 years, and then split my time designing and managing a design team for another 5 years. Now I use Graphic Design almost daily, although more conventional client work is a small percentage of what I do these days. 

It has been an excellent trade to open doors, meet key people and jump on opportunities presented to me along the way.

Why did you choose to offer mentorship at Stoke?

I love helping people succeed. It is the most fulfilling part about my trade, and I am always seeking out other ways to invest in people, especially in my town.

What do you enjoy about the mentor/mentee process and relationship?

Problem solving and inspiration. We need both of these to thrive, and I thoroughly enjoy the process.

Are there any memorable mentors that you had in your career during pivotal/important moments?

I have had several informal professional mentors that have shaped my identity as a business owner. I have had one personal mentor in my early 20’s who I pursued, and was very appreciative to get life advice and guidance from.

What qualities should a mentee have?

Work ethic, grit, determination and creativity. I don’t mean they have to be “a creative,” but they should have an inventive spirit. A can-do, problem-solving attitude.

What qualities do you think that you have that make you a good mentor?

I don’t know it all, but I have seen behind the curtain of hundreds of small businesses, and understand the common pains and pitfalls the owners have experienced.

What's your definition of an entrepreneur? How would you describe one?

Someone who takes a risk in order to bring about positive change in the world.

What would make you ‘proud’ of your mentee? What do you consider ‘success’?

Success is courage in the face of fear, stepping out and taking a risk. Open to learn.

Do you have any advice or insight that you would offer to someone starting out in your field, or recent graduates from your program?

Art / Graphic Design

The best advice I can give to aspiring designers is to create as much work as you can. Volume of work is what is going to mature your skill-set more than anything else.

Favorite coffee/restaurant/bar in Denton? What do you get?

I like the coffee at pretty much every shop in Denton, but Cryptozoology is my favorite environment. Drip coffee, darker’n a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night.

Is there anything else that you would like for us/readers to know about yourself?

I like being outside more than being inside!

Thanks for sharing, Simon!

You can check out some of Simon’s work and more about his story at or drop in to Stoke for a chat during his mentor office hour, 12-1 PM on Wednesdays.