Helping move developers forward, together

Red Hat and New Kind craft a new identity to help developers on their journey

Background

Red Hat is the world’s largest open source software company. One of the keys to becoming a $3 billion company serving global enterprises is that Red Hat has always understood the power of community.

Open source software thrives through communities of developers who create, collaborate, and share.

The Red Hat Developer program is central to staying connected to their community of developers. Providing spaces where developers can come together, share tools and expertise, and access the latest technology they need to do their work.

Industries: Technology

Services: Identity System, Research, Storytelling, Web Design

Research

Venturing inside the mind of the developer

 

Key to developing a new brand that would resonate with developers was seeing and understanding their world as they do. Building off in-depth research conducted by the Red Hat team and other partners, we took a deep dive to immerse ourselves in developers’ day-to-day experiences—what they care about most, their biggest challenges, the tools they use.

What we uncovered was a unique insight that would guide the storytelling process: contrary to the stereotype, developers for the most part aren’t the isolated, apathetic code monkeys you might expect. Rather, today’s developers are creative problem solvers: engaged, inspired, and team-driven.

Storytelling

Build here. Go anywhere.

 

Our research showed that developers see their work as a lifelong journey of discovery and learning — one comprised of code pushes, bug fixes, and software releases. The Red Hat Developer program exists to empower the developer’s journey. That’s the story we wanted to tell the world.

We captured the spirit of our story with a single phrase:
Build here. Go anywhere.

Four words. One big idea. Participating in the Red Hat Developer program will give you — the developer — the knowledge, capabilities, and confidence to take your personal journey of discovery wherever you want to take it.

In support of this key headline, we developed a messaging architecture which connects additional messages that support the brand story. This tool helped equip the team to share their story consistently as they developed marketing materials.

Moving Forward Together

 

The best brands align their story and design, bringing art and copy together to create a compelling, cohesive brand.

At New Kind, we bridge the storytelling and design creation process with a tool we call a Visual Organizing Principle. It’s an internal, dynamic concept — expressed as a single word or short phrase — rooted in the story and used to inspire all visual choices for the brand.

An effective Visual Organizing Principle helps convey why the organization exists through visually expressive language. It gives designers the creative foundation they need to create the logos, patterns, icons, typefaces that bring their story to life.

For the Red Hat Developer program, we chose Moving Forward Together as our Visual Organizing Principle. It captures the spirit of why the program exists: to serve developers on their journey. And it immediately conjures visual ideas and inspiration in the mind’s eye: merging pathways, building momentum, collecting and connecting to make progress.

Design

Fresh, Yet Familiar

 

Visual design was the crux of this project. We were tasked with creating an identity that pushes boundaries alongside global competitors, but that also remains timeless under a constantly evolving Red Hat parent brand. Combining our own research with lessons learned by our partner teams, we crafted conceptual iterations rapidly and collaboratively.

In true Red Hat spirit, we took an open source approach – streamlining channels of feedback and sharing progress often. Listening to the many voices that know and love the Red Hat Developer program allowed us to build a visual identity that expanded on the best of what already existed.

The logo is an abstracted simplification of the universal code block. It expresses the story through its parallel paths and sense of forward motion. The paths represent the lines of code that developers use every day, as well as the collaborative journey that all developers share.

The full-color mark derives from existing — though not often used — colors from the Red Hat brand palette. Balancing the fresh with the familiar.

The new Red Hat Developer logo and visual system embody the visual organizing principle—the internal rallying cry central to the program’s core story and messaging: Moving Forward Together.

Morse Code Alphabet

 

We rounded out the new identity system with a morse code alphabet designed to allow the Red Hat Developer team to create unique, “Easter Egg”-like messages which will resonate with their core developer audience.

Outcomes

Reaching The Summit

 

Our goal from the outset was to deliver the new identity in time for Red Hat Summit, Red Hat’s premier annual conference and one of the company’s best chances to make an impression with developers in person.

New Kind collaborated with Red Hat team members to facilitate key decisions at every step of the way, resulting in an end product which represented the best ideas of all involved — the open source way. When it was all said and done, we took the new Red Hat Developer brand standards and pushed them live to a GitHub repo—an open, always-accessible source for developers, teams, and community members who want to interact with the brand.

Along with the revamped website, shirts, stickers, and even cupcakes that accompanied it, the new identity also helped celebrate a major milestone: Red Hat Developer program hitting the 1 million member mark.

Why New Kind?

Getting this project across the finish line in time for Red Hat Summit was no small feat, but New Kind was up to the task. At every step in the process, their poise and professionalism — not to mention their creative skills — reinforced for us that they were the right team for the job. We're thrilled with the results.

Erin Rooney

Director of Marketing, Red Hat Developer

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