- On Wednesday, Red Hat unveiled its new logo – an update from its previous “Shadowman” logo, which has been associated with the software company since 1997.
- Red Hat says that some users thought the old logo looked “secretive,” sinister,” and “sneaky.”
- The new logo comes as Red Hat looks to update its look ahead of its $US34 billion acquisition by IBM, which is expected to close later this year.
- During the process of creating the new logo, Red Hat consulted employees who have tattoos of the old logo, called the “tattoo team.”
- Six employees have already gotten tattoos of the new logo, joining a group at Red Hat called the “tat pack.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Red Hat has given its classic “Shadowman” logo an update after nearly 20 years – and it comes as the software company prepares for the close of its $US34 billion acquisition by IBM.
The new logo officially made its debut on Wednesday – but six employees, including a high-ranking executive, already have the new logo tattooed on their body.
Getting a Red Hat tattoo is not an unusual part of the open source software company’s culture. In fact, there are 17 employees who sport tattoos of the original logo.
The new logo is a sign that the company is looking to freshen up its image for the next phase in its history.
Many people didn’t know what Red Hat’s logo was supposed to be, says Tim Yeaton, Red Hat’s executive vice president of corporate marketing. The original Red Hat logo features “Shadowman,” supposedly a heroic spy. But Red Hat’s research found that many thought Shadowman was “secretive,” sinister,” and “sneaky.”
“What this told us was not only do we need to tidy up the mark for better rendering, we probably need to modernise the mark to better reflect what we are and where we’re going,” Yeaton told Business Insider.
Here’s the Shadowman logo, for you to decide for yourself:
From there, Red Hat started its so-called Open Brand Project, where the company collected feedback from employees on how to modernise the brand, and came up with 45 different hat-related logos before settling on the final version.
Consuelo Madrigal, Red Hat’s brand manager in Latin America, is one of the employees who got a tattoo of the new logo. She says she had never been a “crazy tattoo person,” but decided to get the new Red Hat logo tattooed after participating in the Open Brand Project, which developed the logo, for two years.
“Culturally, this is not just the logo for us Red Hatters,” Madrigal said. “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.”
The ‘Tattoo Team’
For guidance in developing the new logo, the Open Brand Project first convened the “Tattoo Team” – a committee of Red Hat employees who had tattoos of the old logo.
“There was even one guy in Colombia, he had this tattoo before he was working at Red Hat,” Madrigal said. “He was a fan all the way. I said, ‘that’s crazy,’ but he said it’s something that represented really big for him at that point…I now understand it’s more than just a logo.”
Yeaton says Red Hat picked these people to ask for their feedback because they are the ones who are most committed to the old logo. Interestingly enough, most of them also became the “strongest advocates” for evolving the brand. He says that some even plan to get tattooes of the new logo, to go with their existing body art.
“Red Hat is a very unique company,” Yeaton said. “They’re committed to being 100% open source. For a lot of people that’s a really powerful personal commitment…As part of that, they tattoo themselves as how they are committed to the mission and ethos of the company.
The people with the new tattoo have already been dubbed the “tat pack,” and employees only expect this select group to grow.
“Everyone’s just really excited to be working here,” Michael Chadwick, a member of Red Hat’s corporate digital marketing team and the “tat pack,” told Business Insider. “It really does mean a lot to me. Every day when you walk around the tower, you see people wearing Red Hat t-shirts, with Red Hat stickers, and red hats. It truly is a way of life.”
Indeed, many people — even those outside Red Hat, see the company as a way of life. In 2016, a couple even got married at Red Hat’s conference, with CEO Jim Whitehurst acting as ring-bearer.
As for Madrigal, the tattoo represents the connections she made at Red Hat in the past few years.
“It’s more than just the logo,” Madrigal said. “It’s something that represents how you think and feel. When you get the open thing working for you, that’s where you understand why someone would mark your skin forever.”
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