Brandy Colbert’s newest novel The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is a coming of age story about first love and family secrets. On the cover of Revolution, you’ll find a young woman in profile, sporting an effortlessly cool jean jacket riddled with patches. Senior Designer for Little, Brown and Company, Marcie Lawrence, tells us these patches are inspired by the artifacts of her own youth: “Wearing a jacket with patches was something I used to do in college. I remember getting these cool hand made patches at a protest on the lack of diversity at my school one day. I put them on my jacket and my bag,” Lawrence said. “I thought they were so cool. They were spray painted pieces of canvas that read ‘TOKEN,’ and I remember thinking they were so edgy and controversial, I proudly and promptly pinned one on. I relished all the stares I got, and went back to get more patches later so I could pin them on other things.”
Lawrence attended Wesleyan, a college that celebrated protest and self-discovery. “There were marches around campus, sit-ins, and chalkings were a regular occurance. It was such a great experience, and I learned so much about myself, and how I self-identify, that I immediately thought back on that time in my life for this book cover,” Lawrence said, “The main character does a lot of soul searching, and eventually she comes to embrace change and difficult truths in life. I think we captured a lot in the character just looking off into the distance wearing a jacket that states her truth.”
Lawrence tells us that the cover for The Revolution of Birdie Randolph was “one of the easy ones,” but its bold illustration and patch motif suggest loads of inspiration and intention. “The design process on this one is largely based on the previous book by this author. Finding Yvonne was the second book I worked on by Brandy Colbert and the team wanted to establish a brand/author style for her so that this book should look of a piece with [Finding Yvonne],” Lawrence said. “So many things were already in place and the direction was partially figured out, for instance we knew we would be using the illustrator Erin Robinson again, and she has a very particular style that we loved. We also knew it would be based on looking at a partial view of the character’s body, again so it to is clear the book is about a person of color.”
The cover of The Revolution of Birdie Randolph is one of those delightful designs that both fits in with the author’s other novel covers and holds its own as a singular design. You know the saying (and if it isn’t a saying then maybe it should be): the only thing cooler than a denim jacket is a denim jacket on the cover of a kickass book.
Mary Ryan Karnes is a freelance writer and a Master's candidate in fiction at the University of Southern Mississippi.