Red Hat

Building a better logo for us

There were lots of reasons why we changed our logo.

Starting over was never part of our strategy. We needed to keep a certain amount of recognizability, so we chose an evolutionary path.

Ok, so what happened to the guy?

Originally called “The Red Hat Man,” then later, “Shadowman,” the figure under the red fedora personified the company. Red Hatters knew Shadowman was a benevolent, liberating figure, introducing then-taboo open source software to the mainstream. In a way, Shadowman was a playful and defiant comment on the vilification of open source. As Red Hat grew into a mainstream company and open source began gaining trust and traction in the marketplace, the image no longer made quite as much sense.

How do you spell Red Hat?

Also, our name (Red Hat) was spelled as 1 word and in lowercase (redhat) in our logo.

That had to change. Once fixed, it gave us more options.

Type

We also had issues with our typeface. We wanted to create something more liberating and useful, and we wanted to open source it and share it with everyone. So we collaborated with type designer Jeremy Mickel on 2 new open source fonts.

We’re calling them Red Hat Display and Red Hat Text and they will be available to everyone on Earth (who has access to a computer) in a variety of weights and italics.

Logo system

Our previous logo formed a single horizontal rectangle, with the Shadowman icon on the left and our name on the right. This configuration didn’t always work for things like favicons, app icons, and T-shirts.

Our new logo gives us the flexibility to choose the best version for each placement, such as in event wayfinding, on webpages, on buildings, and on branded swag. It can be used vertically or horizontally, and the “Red Hat” text can be large or small.

Applications

Put it all together and you get a fresh, clean, flexible visual system. We can unify products and services; give internal teams, projects, and programs a crisp consistent look; and share our brand in ways that we couldn’t before.

Color

The color red is our second most recognizable brand asset. Red symbolizes energy, strength, power, determination, passion, love, and courage. Red is the color of revolution. But even with all that oomph, our red needed a refresh.

We used science to make some minor adjustments. Our last shade of red failed contrast ratio checks on dark backgrounds, which means it was difficult or impossible to read for people with no or limited visual acuity, and could also cause eye strain for sighted people.

New look. Same vision.

We didn’t start over. We kept the most recognizable and important elements and collaboratively crafted a logo with more resonance with our truth.. We thought through the connections linking our story with our symbol. Now, we are more Red Hat than ever.