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New red hat, same Red Hat

Today we’re launching a new logo. While we loved our last one, we knew it was time for our logo and brand to evolve.

This is a big deal because our last logo was highly recognizable to our employees, community allies, and customers.

Red Hat logo timeline

When it was unveiled in 1999, our most recent logo fit our story. Red Hat was a revolutionary and friendly force--an agent of change bringing open source into data centers.

Over time, most companies update their logo and visual system. Times, tastes, and business needs change. And our logo, for all its symbolic charm, wasn’t working anymore.

Out of the shadows

So we formed a task force to redesign it, bringing together people from different disciplines at Red Hat: graphic design, UX design, creative strategy, video, brand, product marketing, and more. And we worked with Paula Scher, a partner at design firm Pentagram, to help us focus.

We called our undertaking The Open Brand Project, and we knew it was vital to seek out and incorporate input and feedback from Red Hatters, customers, and the community throughout the process. It’s the Red Hat way. We made our redesign work as transparently and collaboratively as trademark law would allow. We listened to every criticism, answered every question, and cherished every compliment along the way.

After 5 months of research, explorations, and brainstorming, the team found an elegant solution that still reflected Red Hat and could grow with us.

Process creation whiteboard

And in the end, we went from a guy wearing a red hat to, simply, a red hat.

In detail

From the beginning, we didn’t want to make wholesale changes. We needed to keep a certain amount of recognizability and preserve basic elements, so we chose an evolutionary path rather than a complete do-over.

Read more about the changes we made

Honing in on who we are

Red Hat as a company gets its name from the red lacrosse cap worn by one of our founders, Marc Ewing. Whenever his fellow students needed assistance in the Carnegie Mellon computer lab, they'd "look for the guy in the red hat.” Over decades, we took on a mission to wrest control of software development and innovation from a cloistered few and deliver it to the masses. We styled ourselves as subversive heroes and daring agents of change. And we brought the red hat along with us on the journey.

After 25 years, though, the stage is set differently. In enterprise software, we have more friends than enemies now. There is a major opportunity for us to build something much bigger than we could have imagined back in 1993. When every company is now a data company, and every developer is now an open source developer, there is no more "them." We're all agents of change.

So it's time to take on a symbol fitting of that new reality. There’s still work to do. Whether that's protecting the right to innovate, creating platforms to support the next breakthrough, or helping companies become more open, we're going to do it. And whenever folks find themselves in need of assistance, we hope they look for the ones in the red hat.

fedora on desk