The Open Brand Project
Help us make our mark
The Open Brand Project is an open initiative to update and simplify our corporate logo and brand system. It’s not a contest, it’s a collaboration. We need your ideas and comments. The more feedback we get, the more likely we are to make the best decision and avoid unforeseen problems.
Working in the open
How is this all going to work?
There will be a lot of sharing. We’ll share our work as it evolves, and we hope you’ll guide us with your ideas and constructive criticism. We’ll keep you informed and you’ll keep us honest.
The evolution of a revolutionary symbol
17 years is a long time in the life of a logo
We last updated our logo in 2000. Back then, we were upstarts charging the gates of a closed, monopolistic technology industry. We knew that open collaboration was the best way to create better software faster, but we had a lot to prove.
Part superhero, part private detective, our logo reflected our origin story, especially our early market strategy of bringing open source into datacenters, sneaking past the barriers built by proprietary technology companies.
Today, Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source solutions. Open source is ubiquitous, trusted in the world’s most demanding datacenters.
Our logo made a lot of sense when we were "secret agents" of change. But for a brand that promises openness, transparency, and sharing, it sends the wrong message. Our next brand identity needs to resonate with who we are now while still honoring our revolutionary roots.
An iconic symbol that isn't icon-friendly
Our new logo must align with our history and culture, who we are and what we stand for, but there are some practical problems we need to solve as well.
The lowercase "redhat" wordmark doesn’t match our trademarked 2-word name. The size of the icon in relation to the type makes the logo feel small, especially when placed next to competitor or partner logos. And we don’t have a flexible system that we can apply to everything we do as a growing multiproduct company.
Additionally, it just doesn’t work well in a variety of applications, especially on social media or smartphones. Our logo may be iconic, but in today’s world it falls short as an avatar or icon.
We asked for help, and we got it
In January, we opened our discovery process to our community with a short, straightforward survey. We asked people how they felt about the Open Brand Project overall, what they thought were the most important elements of our logo, and what our logo should communicate.
The results are in and we learned a lot.
We received more than 1,200 responses from technology, marketing, design and branding professionals. They shared some strong opinions with us, and we’re grateful to each of them for caring enough to share their thoughts.
Open brand project
Frequently asked questions
No, but that doesn’t mean he will be a feature of our new logo, either.
Shadowman is a symbol from our early days. He represents a time when our founders embraced our outsider status and ran with it. Part superhero, part private detective, Shadowman reflects our origin story, especially our early market strategy of “sneaking” open source into datacenters.
Today, our brand is based on openness and transparency.
Still, Shadowman is a potent symbol attached to a powerful story. He represents our company history of doing the right thing.
To refine or create a brand identity, logo, and corresponding brand system that:
- Feels both current and timeless.
- Aligns with our brand and values.
- Works well across cultures.
- Is prominent and visible.
- Is easy to use correctly and consistently in any application.
- Follows an open and transparent design process.
It has been 17 years since we’ve made any changes to the Red Hat logo. A lot has changed in that time—our company, our industry, our competitors. The world.
Over the years, our logo has served us well. It’s simple and clean. It’s loved by associates and brand experts alike. It’s distinctive, ownable, and stands out from our competitors. But it’s starting to show its age.
There are also issues with logo visibility and prominence, an aging visual style, and a general lack of a logo system, which all need to be addressed.
The rise of digital communications and Red Hat’s increased investment in marketing our brand to the world have led to our current logo posing myriad challenges in the ways we need it to work. Our logo should facilitate our efforts to tell our story in new and modern ways, and to new audiences, not hinder it.
We’ve changed, we’ve grown, our place in the world is different, and our identity should reflect that.
Our logo was created in 1996 and refreshed in 2000. (Read more about the history of our logo.)
America Online bought Time Warner for US$162 billion. Bill Gates left Microsoft. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston got married. The original dot-com bubble burst, Napster disrupted the music industry, and Dora the Explorer premiered. Phones had nothing to do with cameras. Social media? MySpace didn’t launch until 2003.
All of us. To create a new logo and brand system with shared meaning for everyone, we need to work together.
The day-to-day design work will be done inhouse―a collaboration among Red Hat designers, influential Red Hat thinkers, and leaders from multiple teams and functions across the company. Red Hat has partnered with Pentagram, a distinguished international design consultancy in New York to guide us on our journey. Paula Scher, a partner at Pentagram and world-renowned graphic designer, will provide creative direction throughout the project.
No. The Open Brand Project is not a crowdsourcing project. We are not accepting designs from the public. It is not a design contest, and no designers are working for free. There won’t be any voting or a Boaty McBoatface situation.
Instead, we are inviting people to share criticism, thoughts, and ideas. We are sharing our work as we go, letting people see our process as it unfolds in the name of transparency.
The Red Hatters with Shadowman tattoos we have talked to (12 that we know of) understand the problems we need to solve. Some have even asked if they can be the first to get tattoos of the new logo.
Learn more about the Open Brand Project and track our progress.