RALEIGH – On May Day known for being a day of “red,” it seems fitting that this is the time for Red Hat to redoing its trademark red-and-black fedora logo. But that doesn’t lessen the impact of the change. This is as big in news value as Linux dropping the penguin – which it is not.

And here it is with this post, just released from the Hatters.

And moments ago, an all white against vivid red background was unveiled – a revised addition to the Raleigh skyline.

Rick Smith, WRAL TechWire’s editor and a cofounder

If you were expecting big changes – like some blue to reflecting the pending merger with IBM – not so. In fact, the logo really looks a lot like the old one.

That’s good news for traditionalists and people over 25 who remember Red Hat from infancy.

For younger folks – well, fedoras have really never gone completely out of style, have they?

As we reported last week, today at noon Red Hat would unveil a new log atop its downtown Raleigh office tower. At 25 years of age and a multi-billion-dollar firm the powers in the tower decided last fall that the fedora was dated and had to go.

But that doesn’t mean the decision was easy. Brands mean a great deal to companies, and iconic logos don’t change often.

Yet early indicators are there’s excitement at Hatter HQ.

WRAL TechWire photo by Chantal Allam

From left, Red Hat’s Jackie Nahins, Kelly Duke and Kristin Gallagher celebrate the Hatters’ new logo inside the Red Hat HQ. (WRAL TechWire photo)

In fact, while the impact in terms of brand recognition for the Raleigh-based software giant is not as big as its forthcoming $34 billion merger with IBM and what all that will mean, dropping the traditional fedora is like seeing tech icon, founder and former CEO Bob Young in a Lulu cap (which he launched post-Red Hat), not a red-and-black logo-adorned cap.

Changing of the colors: Red Hat tower dons a white fedora but keeps vivid red band

Red Hat’s new logo


Red Hat labeled the logo change as the “Open Brand Project”and describes it as “an evolution of our corporate logo and brand system, in late 2017. To guide this project, Red Hat followed the same open principles that inform our approach to building software. A cross-functional team of in-house designers collaborated with external design consultants to simplify and modernize our logo. To bring the final design to life, we engaged Red Hatters, customers, partners, and the broader open source community—all of whom shared their feedback, ideas and criticism. It wasn’t a design contest. There was no voting. This was about collaborating to ensure the best vision won.”

So why make the change? The Skinny spoke with Red Hat media executive Leigh Day when the logo change decision emerged a few months back. She has been deeply involved in the switch.

  • What was the catalyst behind the decision?

The main catalyst I would say is that we are turning 25 … and we are a much different company than we were 17 years ago when our current logo was designed. Beyond just Linux, we are now a leader in cloud and we have a very large portfolio of products and services to help customers along their journey into cloud.

Red hat logo

  • Can you talk about the thinking behind the decision and the process?

A really great aspect of this project is the open way we [approached it]. We started talking with associates early on, bringing in hundreds of voices to help guide our direction. We also went outside to ask customers and community members for their thoughts and opinions. Conducting a project in this sort of open way can mean added time and complexity, but in the end we are confident that it will yield a better result.

  • Is Red Hat concerned about the impact this might have on the brand?

We are viewing this as an improvement to our brand.

  • Might there be a new slogan/marketing pitch as well?

This project is focused on a new logo and brand system, not on messaging. That being said, we are constantly evolving our message to the market to be top of mind and relevant to our customers, prospects and partners.

What’s next?

So what will the reaction be? Will the sun rise tomorrow? Will the Linux penguin squawk or croak or yelp?

Will Ginni Rometty, head of IBM, approve?

We’ll find out soon.

Red Hat’s signature fedora logo to disappear from HQ tower May 1