Sensical Design & Communication is a small graphic design firm in Washington, DC, specializing in publication design for non-profits and financial-services companies.

Graphic Design, Washington DC, Publication Design, Print Design, Web Design, Book Design, Creative Strategy, Sustainability, Consulting

Sensical Design & Communication is a premier provider of graphic design, publication design, and web design to Washington, DC. We have provided professional, affordable services to the following clients:

Among Washington DC graphic design firms, Sensical Design leads the way as a print design, web design and creative strategy firm located in the Capitol Hill area of Washington DC. We provide a full range of creative strategy and graphic design services for corporate branding projects, print collateral, advertising, marketing, book design, magazine design, and web site development. Top Shelf Design is led by owner and founder Daniel Kohan. We can deliver an exceptional level of customer service and outstanding results. Call today at (202) 546-8049 or email to learn more about how Sensical Design can bolster your look and your bottom line.

The following terms are commonly used to describe our services:

  • Graphic Designer
  • Graphic Design Company
  • Web Design
  • Web Site Design
  • Web Development
  • Logo
  • Corporate Identity
  • Brochure Design
  • Non-Profit Design
  • Nonprofit Design
  • Financial-Services Design
  • Annual Report Design
  • Business Card Design
  • E-newsletters
  • Marketing
  • Publication Design
  • Book Design
  • Book Covers
  • Magazine Design
  • Sustainable Design
  • Green Design
  • Annual Report Design
  • Print Collateral
  • Drupal and Wordpress Design
  • Information Graphics
  • Copywriting

Sensical Design provides Graphic Design and Web Design to the following local areas:

  • Graphic Design Alexandria, VA
  • Graphic Design Arlington, VA
  • Graphic Design Fairfax, VA
  • Graphic Design Reston, VA
  • Graphic Design Herndon, VA
  • Graphic Design Springfield, VA
  • Graphic Design Bethesda, MD
  • Graphic Design Columbia, MD
  • Graphic Design Silver Spring, MD
  • Graphic Design Annapolis, MD
  • Graphic Design Baltimore, MD
  • Graphic Design Loudoun, VA
  • Graphic Design Capitol Hill
  • Graphic Design Penn Quarter
  • Graphic Design Georgetown
  • Web Design Arlington, VA
  • Web Design Fairfax, VA
  • Web Design Reston, VA
  • Web Design Herndon, VA
  • Web Design Springfield, VA
  • Web Design Bethesda, MD
  • Web Design Columbia, MD
  • Web Design Silver Spring, MD
  • Web Design Annapolis, MD
  • Web Design Baltimore, MD
  • Web Design Loudoun, VA
  • Web Design Capitol Hill
  • Web Design Penn Quarter
  • Web Design Georgetown

REACH International Logo and Brochure Redesign

REACH International logo redesignREACH International, a 40-year-old charity based in the Washington, DC area that sponsors children in developing countries, asked us to redesign its logo and create a new fundraising brochure. The organization is small but has global reach, and its existing identity was dated and looked rough and unprofessional.

Starting from the existing concept—a child embraced in an adult’s arms—we explored various geometric shapes that could be used for the “arms.” We eventually settled on an oval as the simplest and most evocative. Making it taller than the original logo made it less of an embrace and more like the child is reaching up, like they’re holding hands. Adding the breaks to the oval made the adult-child relationship more explicit and allowed for differentiation by color. Modern, lively typography and bright colors completed the transformation. As always, we then built it out in various orientations and formats.

REACH International brochure coverExecutive director Cheryl Jacob-Roeske said, “The logo is stunning. Initial reaction across the board was WOW! We love the clean feel of it, and the little red child with the reaching arms is really perfect for what we do. It puts the focus on the child, which is where it should be. I am already feeling very cool being associated with our REACH brand!”

For the brochure, REACH wanted something that would resonate beyond the charity’s traditional, religious base and appeal to younger, more secular donors. We worked with Deborah Brody of Deborah Brody Marketing Communications, who crafted key messages and descriptions that could be used throughout the organization, as well as brochure copy that encouraged donations and sponsorship. Lively photos and the organization’s new, brighter color palette reinforced the change. See the full brochure here.


Rock Creek Education Logo Design

Rock Creek Education LogoSensical Design created this logo for Rock Creek Education, a startup nonprofit that will advise state and district policy makers on education policy as well as work with middle school and high school math teachers on improving their teaching. David Wakelyn, founder of Rock Creek Education, suggested a design based on the historic Taft Bridge, which spans Rock Creek Park at Connecticut Avenue, near the organization’s office. We proposed several options related to the bridge, its iconic barrel vaults and arches. Another key feature of the bridge is the stone lions that guard its approaches. One of those lions was kind enough to model for this colorful icon, which ended up being the selected design.

David Wakelyn, founder of Rock Creek Education, said, “Dan took my initial idea and created something better. He’s easy to work with and willing to go back and forth as much as it takes to get the design right.”


SAMS Annual Report

SAMS Annual Report 2015The Syrian American Medical Society is a nonprofit organization that has been supporting life-saving medical care during the Syrian civil war, both in Syria itself and in refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan. The organization asked Sensical Design to create its 2015 annual report. The report is 48 pages and filled with dramatic photos and stories from the field, as well as chilling statistics (178 health workers were killed in Syria in 2014). We strived to create a publication that was lively, approachable, and easy to understand, while still being appropriate to the serious subject matter.

Kathleen Fallon, the SAMS Advocacy & Communications Manager, said, “Dan Kohan and Sensical Design created amazing and high quality work for our annual report this year. Dan was wonderful to work with, creating a unique design that perfectly highlighted our programs and mission. Despite our short timeline, Dan was extremely flexible, and his work was efficient and high-quality. We highly recommend Sensical Design and hope to work with them on another project in the future!” You can download the full report here.


Multi-Language E-Books for PAHO

PAHO Guide CoversHappy New Year! We wanted to draw your attention to a project we worked on across much of 2014. The Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) asked us to design their new internal procurement guide as an e-book. The guide runs about 80 pages and includes a variety of tables. It was first written and designed in English, then translated into Spanish, Portuguese, and French over the course of the year. We created a coordinated series of covers for the different language versions, with subtle color variations, as shown here.

For each book, we created two version for each language, PDF and ePub/Mobi, to give users the widest array of options for using the guide, whether they have a desktop computer, tablet, or Kindle. Although the finished products look quite similar whether PDF or ePub, they’re quite different under the hood. Sensical Design was able to draw on our years of experience producing print and electronic publications to follow best practices, make the process simple, and complete the work on time and on budget.


Some Book Interiors

Sample spread from Civilizations of the Unconscious

Sample spread from Civilizations of the Unconscious

Sample spread from How to Perform a WAN Qualification

Over the last few months, we worked on a couple of complex book interior designs that are worthy of note. Sample images are at right (or above, if you’re on a small screen), and if you tap on them you can see them larger.

The first two images are from the book Civilizations of the Unconscious by Dr. Nandini Dickens. This book is a scholarly work that offers a new attempt to decipher the mysterious, ancient Linear A script from ancient Minoan Crete. Because it’s a book encompassing both history and linguistics, it contains a large number of complex charts, maps and graphics, including the characters of Linear A, which had to be hand drawn. And because Dickens’ theory ties the script to Tamil, a language of southern India, there’s also quite a bit of Tamil.

Dickens began working on the book with another designer, who designed the cover, but the complexity of the interior was beyond his abilities, so she (wisely) turned to Sensical Design. “I appreciated the artistry, the skill, and the expertise Dan took with the interior design,” Dickens said. “I think the text was very difficult to manage because of the ancient fonts involved, but the way he dealt with them was impressive. The hardcover edition of the book was beautiful and much commented on by the people I showed it to.”

The final sample image is from the book How to Perform a WAN Qualification by Toni Schimmel. This how-to book for network engineers is in color and contains hundreds of diagrams, lists, and illustrations; the image at right only gives a slight taste. Schimmel also started this project with another design firm, in this case one operated by a large Internet company that you may have heard of. After months of back and forth and frustration, that company ended up refunding her money. Sensical Design finished up the project in good order, with no drama.

Schimmel said, “Dan rescued us from the clutches of a large, no-frills publishing conglomerate! Our book was complicated and technical. It was imperative that it be easy to read and a pleasure to the eye, to ensure the reader does not stray. Dan was the only one who understood our dilemma and rallied like the old publishing houses when they had a critical deadline. We will use Sensical Design whenever possible.”

See our publishing services page for more on how we can help you with your book projects, complex or straightforward.