Red Hat rebrands logo after 20 years; drops Shadowman

3 min read

On Wednesday, Red Hat unveiled its new logo – an update from its previous “Shadowman” logo, which has been associated with the company since 1997. The classic rebranding of the logo comes nearly after 20 years as it prepares for the close of its $34 billion acquisition by IBM.


Source – Red Hat

The new logo is a sign that the company is looking to freshen up its image for the next phase in its history.


Source – Red Hat

“Many people didn’t know what Red Hat’s logo was supposed to be”, says Tim Yeaton to Business Insider, Red Hat’s executive vice president of corporate marketing. The original Red Hat logo features “Shadowman,” supposedly a heroic spy. But according to a research by Red Hat’s internal team found that many thought Shadowman was “secretive,” sinister,” and “sneaky.”

Yeaton says, “What this told us was not only do we need to tidy up the mark for better rendering, we probably need to modernize the mark to better reflect what we are and where we’re going,”.

From there Red Hat started its Open Brand Project, where the company collected feedback from employees on how to modernize the brand. After the feedback it came up with 45 different hat-related logos before settling on the final version.

The Red Hat team came up with an elegant solution after 5 months of research, explorations, and brainstorming. The new logo supposedly reflects Red Hat’s open-source company culture and has potential to grow. It is designed by the company’s branding team, and Paula Scher, a New York-based partner at the design firm Pentagram.

Red Hat employees show off the new logo and gets it inked

Business Insider reported that when the new logo was made official on Wednesday – six of its employees, including a high-ranking executive, have the new logo tattooed on their body.

While getting a Red Hat tattoo is not an unusual part of the open source company’s culture. In fact, there are 17 employees who sport tattoos of the original logo, forming the so-called “tat-pack.”

Consuelo Madrigal, Red Hat’s brand manager who got herself a tattoo of the new logo says to Business Insider.

“Culturally, this is not just the logo for us Red Hatters, It’s our culture, it’s our way of doing things, and I’ve learned a lot of that, and I loved it throughout the journey. It’s a reminder of what we can do when we try new things. Finally, the outcome, what could happen if we all do it together. I’m just happy about all that’s happening.”

While internally the new logo design has got the Red Hat employees really excited, users on Hackernews have different views and they somehow feel it is an amateur job.

One of the users commented, “New symbol in the logo is OK, but the text is a disaster. Just stare at it for a second, especially the Re-d coupling. It’s unkerned. The ‘e’ is about to topple over to the right, ‘d’ looks pregnant, ‘a’ is too top heavy. There’s no visual balance, rhythm or consistency to how “Red Hat” looks. It basically looks as an amateur job.”

Check out the Red Hat’s official blog post page to know about the details of other changes made to its logo.

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