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Green Design

sensical design and communication

Sensical Design & Communication

washington dc

After seeing An Inconvenient Truth several years ago, Sensical Design principal Daniel Kohan found himself increasingly concerned about the potential devastation of global warming. Kohan decided to dedicate his firm – a small Capitol Hill studio focused on publication and book design for nonprofits and financial services companies – to sustainable design practices. “Sustainability is a core process of the firm, underlying everything we do,” Kohan said. “Some clients actively search us out for our environmental awareness; others don’t care. Either way, we seek out green printers, spec high-recycled-content papers, and minimize waste in every project. All of us need to take responsibility for protecting the future of this planet. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

Sensical’s office electricity usage is 100 percent wind-powered, and natural gas usage is 100 percent offset. The company donates a small percentage of its income to organizations that work to combat climate change. Kohan worked with AIGA to establish the Center for Sustainable Design (now the Living Principles), which seeks to educate graphic designers about sustainable practice principles. In 2010, Kohan launched Ruka Press, a publishing company dedicated to publishing books with a strong environmental message. “There’s no switch you can flip to suddenly make your business sustainable,” Kohan said, “but I try to keep moving in that direction, one green step at a time.”

sensical design and communication

It’s in the books published by its young sister company, Ruka Press, that Sensical Design can most show its environmental chops. Ruka Press has published books about old-growth forests, disappearing songbirds, and horseshoe crabs. Its most recent book, The Pipeline and the Paradigm, analyzes the controversial Keystone XL project and the coming shift to a more global, environmental mindset. By working with Thomson-Shore, a Green Press Initiative-member book manufacturer in Michigan that stocks 100-percent-recycled text stock, Sensical was able to save about 31 trees, 14 million BTUs of energy, and 2,700 pounds of greenhouse gases on first printing, and to minimize shipping distance to its Chicago-based distributor.