About Ruby, the Red Hat cow

A Red Hat cow needed to reflect our community-based approach—open source or bust! After considering many interesting options, we decided to ask our community to help with the cow's design. We solicited cow drawings at our events, in our offices, and online. We even took a trip to the NC Children's Hospital to ask for the patients' cud-chewing renditions.


Once we had a pile of cow artistry, we were ready to go. Members of our corporate brand and design teams translated the pieces of individual artwork into vinyl stickers. Groups of stickers formed spots in contrasting black and white, and our cow-laborative cow was born. We gave our girl—now nicknamed Ruby—Red Hat-red horns and hooves (a fedora would hide her natural headgear), and soulful eyes. A few coats of varnish, and it was time to say good-bye to our bovine office-mate.

Off to see the cow

Ruby joined the herd for the CowParade kick off—a cattle round up held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 18 at the Golden Belt in Durham, NC. This day-long exhibit is the only time the cows will all be exhibited in the same location.

After the round up, the charming cattle will travel to various locations in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill for installation and display from September through November. At the end of the public display period, all the cows will be auctioned with proceeds going to the N.C. Children's Hospital.

Why and how...a cow?

CowParade began in 1998 in Zurich, Switzerland as an art exhibit — "Land in Sicht" ("Countryside in View"). It continued in Chicago the next year—imagine 340 cows on Michigan Avenue. In 2000, New York City played host to the herd, and with three years of successful exhibitions, CowParade was officially an event. In fact, it's now the largest and most successful public art event in the world.

In just over ten years, CowParade has hosted exhibits in 30 countries (6 continents and 75 cities). More than 10,000 artists have produced more than 5,000 unique cows. And, perhaps most importantly, this humongous herd has raised more than $30 million for charitable organizations all over the world.

The 2012 event is the first time the cows have come to the Tar Heel state. Other Triangle companies participating in this charitable bovine art event include Burt's Bees, Curtis Media Group, Triangle Orthopedic, Red Health Care, and Wells Fargo. 2012 CowParades are also marching through Brazil, Latvia, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Shanghai, Panama, and New York.