Inside the studio: His DARNDEST

[Bill Klingensmith] My name is Bill Klingensmith, and I am known as the Creative Optimist. MYDARNDEST is the name of my studio and is the independent graphic design business I run from my house in the South Wedge neighborhood of Rochester, New York.


My studio has two components. One is the first floor where I have an office equipped with a computer and various digital technologies to accomplish web and print design projects. I also carved out 400 square feet of my basement for a screen-printing studio. This is “Studio B” … B for Basement.


While so many other design groupies swoon over letterpress, I have embraced the underappreciated analog art of screen printing. I always have lots of time, but never a lot of money. I wanted my own screen-printing studio, and the only way to get one was to build it myself. So I did … literally. I knew it would save me a lot of money upfront and get me moving. Now I have a studio that allows me to set the digital aside and really get my hands dirty. It would be nice to replace my press with “real thing” one day, but it’s been fun to create my own solution on a shoestring.


Studio B is fully equipped with an exposure unit, silkscreen press and washout booth — all hand-built out of cheap lumber, found plumbing and other Craigslist finds. The press has evolved from plans found online (with my own engineering improvements).


There’s still some tweaking to do, but it does the job just fine! You can see there is always a level of disarray and remnants of past projects giving the space a life of its own.


My design projects are always short runs of posters, cards or T-shirts that promote projects I am associated with here in Rochester. I am pretty proud of the stuff I create. I know it adds value to the groups involved and provides them with unique pieces they could not have achieved on their own.


This approach to problem solving thrives in all I do. I am always doing MYDARNDEST.

In 2007, after seven years in academia and a term as president of the AIGA Upstate New York chapter, Bill Klingensmith decided to focus on his own studio full time. His primary client work is designing and building WordPress websites … he also does everything from packaging to posters. An avid foodie, Bill recently partnered with a local community food network, Rochester’s Good Food Collective. His next DIY project is building a backyard smoker.

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Comments (2)

  1. Posted by Joanne DeWald on 01.10.12 at 11:12 am

    wow ! this is so impressive and inspiring. i’m a 46 year old graphic designer. laid off 2 years ago after 22 years with the same company. just wanted to tell you that i admire what you’ve done. very cool ! joanne

  2. Posted by melbourne fl custom screen printing on 05.24.12 at 11:47 am

    I love how you designed your exposure box! 🙂

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