- We report on how the relaxation of patterns prepared on a thin film can be controlled by manipu- lating the symmetry of the initial shape. The validity of a lubrication theory for the capillary-driven relaxation of surface profiles is verified by atomic force microscopy measurements, performed on films that were patterned using focused laser spike annealing. In particular, we observe that the shape of the surface profile at late times is entirely determined by the initial symmetry of the perturba- tion, in agreement with the theory. Moreover, in this regime the perturbation amplitude relaxes as a power-law in time, with an exponent that is also related to the initial symmetry. The results have relevance in the dynamical control of topographic perturbations for nanolithography and high density memory storage.