the symmetry advantage

talking shop.

Talking Shop is produced by Symmetry, a boutique print shop that delivers the results you need, when you need them.

Wild Horses Couldn’t Keep Them Away


For many nonprofits, the success of the entire year can hinge on the annual gala. The event provides a focal point for fundraising efforts, offers the organization’s supporters a chance to mingle and allows for the celebration of accomplishments. All the materials – from the first save the date card to the decorations at the event itself – have to reinforce the message and engage the viewers.

The National Committee on United States-China Relations (NCUSCR) promotes intellectual, cultural and commercial understanding and cooperation between the United States and Greater China. NCUSCR’s annual gala is a particularly high profile event. Event committee membership typically includes past U.S. secretaries of state, other cabinet secretaries and congressional leaders.  Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were co-chairs for the 2014 event.

NCUSCR’s success has been carefully cultivated over nearly 50 years. One of the challenges for the gala is to keep longtime supporters fully engaged while presenting a fresh and interesting face to prospective new supporters. There is a tremendous amount of competition.  During New York’s fall gala season, there can be two or three different events each night for several weeks. There’s really only one chance to grab people’s attention.


Printed invitations are de rigueur for high profile fundraisers. There’s too much chance for an electronic invitation to be overlooked.  But the format, design, paper and ink all have to entice. 2014 was the Year of the Horse in the eastern calendar.  Diana Roggemann at NCUSCR and design consultant Johnny Chau wanted to capitalize on this in the invitations. The working design concept was evocative of a naturalistic Tung Dynasty brush painting showing horses in a landscape. But could a mass-produced piece really convey the freshness, immediacy and originality of this art form? With Symmetry’s help, yes. We carefully sourced stock that would look and feel like proper brush-painting paper without absorbing up too much of the ink and muddying the colors. Then we experimented with ink formulations to make sure to create the illusion of color applied with rapid bristle strokes. The result:  a very striking piece with the look and feel of an original work of art.  Did it work?  “This was a home run in our opinion,” says NCUSCR’s Roggemann, “Our corporate honorees – Hershey and Archer Daniels Midland – were thrilled and we had a full house for the event.”

symmetry because printing isn’t always black and white.

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