Mary Corley started in design at a small marketing firm in Oklahoma City before landing a gig on Capitol Hill in 2014. A nearly five-year stint at the NRCC followed before she made a move over to Data Trust, where she served as marketing director while simultaneously volunteering at AIGA DC, a group dedicated to fostering an inclusive Beltway design community.
Her current title at The Prosper Group, a GOP digital firm, is graphic designer, but the Oklahoma-based creative’s work touches most aspects of the firm’s output, including its recent redesign.
C&E: What design trends are you seeing for candidates?
Corley: We’re seeing a definite move away from the minimalism that was really everywhere for a while. We’re seeing a lot more texture and patterns — people are using bold fonts and strong typography. There’s a lot of monochrome designs and busier layouts. Even President Biden’s campaign is adding more hand-drawn elements.
It’s been exciting that there have been more and more conservative clients using colors that are outside traditional red and blue, which has been a great change of pace for us. But there are also the run-of-the-mill, rank-and-file type of candidates who still take a lot of influence from the Trump campaign’s branding, or just more classic Republican style of branding.
C&E: So President Trump’s branding is still inspiring candidates’ aesthetics?
Corley: Yeah, it seems like there’s still a lot of them doing the rectangle with the stars. I’d say that it’s still very much a strong influence on Republicans. But there are outliers: more moderate candidates who maybe that’s not their base and they’re comfortable moving away from that.
C&E: When it comes to fundraising display ads, is there a style that’s working?
Corley: Anything that is just very bright and will grab eyeballs — because it’s a fire hose of information out there. But we are seeing an influx of movement and motion. So I would say that gif ads are definitely more popular and becoming more effective as well. Definitely bright colors and ads that have some kind of contrasting element to them. Large text and that bold typography really helps create that differentiation.
C&E: What about video?
Corley: The algorithm is definitely preferring video. We have TikTok and Reels that are obviously at the top of all the platforms, so it’s definitely a preferred format. But we have older users who still scroll, and they do enjoy a still image. It’s good to have a mix and we tend to have a mix.
C&E: The Prosper Group recently rebranded, is that something that was done internally or did you work with an outside firm?
Corley: That was actually led by our creative director, Velton Davis. He worked on the rebranding and the design of the website. I jumped in and helped with more of the project management side of the website — helping get it launched, gathering content and things like that.
C&E: What was the inspiration for the new design?
Corley: We have a really strong culture that was already in place when I started here. We have three mottos that we follow, one of them is being mountain climbers. That’s the one we basically decided to go with. The [new] background image is a mountain. So we landed there to remind everyone how we’re leading our clients through this climb to victory.