September 19, 2014

Zoo Ball invitation 2014

The Story

The annual Fort Worth Zoo Ball is their largest fundraising event of the year in support of the nonprofit, privately owned zoo. This is an elite affair put on by a committee of top Zoo donors who rely on Schaefer to help execute the annual theme. For 2014, the theme was inspired by the annual Festival of the Elephants in Jaipur, India. The central piece was to be a high-end invitation that would make Fort Worth’s elite excited about coming to the ball.

The Work

Our first step was immerse ourselves in Indian culture (via Google and World Market rather than the subcontinent itself, sadly). Through colors, textiles, patterns we began to get a good sense of direction for the piece. If only we had a designer who was really into elephants. Maybe one who has an elephant pen and mug and figurines all over her desk. Oh, right. Blair.

This theme was tailor-made for designer Blair Babineaux, whose love of elephants (and good design) made her the obvious one to take the lead. Both of these loves were apparent in the final result.

Describing the details of this piece would take approximately forever, but here are some highlights (or you could just look at the picture, right?). The six-panel invitation is printed on a thick pearlescent paper that was flooded with red on one side. Each unique panel was intricately laser cut by the folks at Artifacture in Dallas. Once folded, the invitation was secured with a die-cut bellyband featuring even more laser-cut elephants. The metallic gold envelopes were beautifully hand addressed by Lauren of Blue Eye Brown Eye calligraphy using a custom-mixed ink.

All told, we partnered with six different vendors to make our vision come to life (each of whom might lock the door when they see us coming next time).

The Results

The event was a big success, and the invitation was unanimously well received. Eight-foot replicas of the invitation panels were used as decorations at the Ball, and the chairwoman of the planning committee said, “This is my favorite invitation yet. I’m not sure how we’ll top it next year.”

We don’t know either, but, as always, we’ll seek what’s possible. Even if it does give us all gray hair.


Schaefer was awarded a gold national Addy for the 2014 Zoo Ball invitation. This is our first national Addy award, and to give it some context, we were one of only 77 gold winners out of 40,000 entries. Needless to say, we’re proud and excited to represent Fort Worth among some of the top agencies in the country.

Check out the complete List of 2015 National Addy Winners