RALEIGH – Coming changes in Red Hat’s trademark red fedora label made headlines in Triangle newspapers today.

Red hat logo

The project was disclosed by Red Hat in a blog post in February as part of what the Hatters describe themselves as a “radically open brand project.” The Linux and cloud services firm ran a survey seeking “input. It closed Feb. 25.

But sometime in the future that red fedora atop Raleigh’s skyline at the company’s downtown headquarters apparently will be changing.

Red Hat recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

Here’s how Red Hat describes the project:

“This year, Red Hat is embarking on a collaborative journey to upgrade and modernize our logo and brand system. The Open Brand Project is a transparent, inclusive and widely collaborative effort, open to everyone with a stake in Red Hat’s identity.

“Red Hat is a community-powered company. We depend on and serve the technologists who both build our products and use them. Upstream and downstream, people who work with us feel a sense of belonging, and their participation and collaborative partnership give them a sense of ownership. Our corporate logo is more than a trademark; it is a meaningful symbol closely tied to a powerful story. For us, our logo does more than represent our company;  a key part of our corporate identity is our commitment to software freedom. For many, the “secret agent” element of our logo, affectionately known as Shadowman, is an icon of the open source movement, as well as the personification of Red Hat’s unique culture.

“We believe that openness, diversity of thought and wide participation yield the best results, and we are going to apply these same values to the process of updating our logo and brand system. It is not a design contest and we will not be asking anyone to vote for their favorite designs. But we do need to know what our contributor communities, customers and Red Hatters around the world think. We welcome as many ideas as possible because we know that from them we can find some true breakthroughs. We also welcome respectful debate and feedback because we know this is the best way to find mistakes and avoid unforeseen problems. That’s the open source way.

“The day-to-day design work will be done in-house as a collaboration among designers in the Red Hat Open Studio, influencers, and leaders from multiple teams and functions across the company. We have engaged Pentagram, a distinguished international design consultancy, to help guide us on our journey. Paula Scher, a partner at Pentagram and world-renowned graphic designer, will provide creative direction throughout the project.

“Apart from the mere passing of time (17 years since our last refresh), there are an array of practical reasons why we decided to undertake this change. The changing digital landscape has created a host of applications and small spaces that require flexibility our current logo does not afford. When placed alongside other logos, ours loses prominence due to its shape and size. Our current logo can lead to misspellings, we often see many use “redhat” rather than “Red Hat.” Looking at the spectrum of branding and marketing opportunities, we experience challenges when applying our logo in one color or on dark backgrounds. These are just some of the considerations that our team reviewed before beginning this project.”

Red Hat will host its annual summit in San Francisco from May 8-10.

Read more about the project online.