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Red Hat’s Latest is a Bad Sign

Red Hat has removed the scaffolding to reveal its bold, red sign atop its new headquarters in downtown Raleigh, and, eh….oh dear. First of all, I’ll admit to being biased by saying that I liked the big grey schmoo that topped the building in the Progress Energy era. It not only gave the building some much needed asymmetry, but it also complemented the outlines of the taller buildings on Fayetteville Street, especially when viewed from the south.

The new, rectangular bright red facade atop the building is eye-catching, but only in its garish amount of bright red which stands in stark contrast to every physical structure in downtown Raleigh. It’s as if Red Hat got a waiver on the city’s unusually harsh sign ordinance. I’m sure the CityGate Real Estate owners who are being assaulted not by both the joe schmoes of the Twitterverse and by city councilors for CityGate’s street level video signage, are taking due notice. BB&T and PNC Bank, with their little bitty tower-top signs, are probably also noticing.

Not only is the sign “not in keeping with the neighborhood”, the logo’s vertical alignment is too low in the red billboard to be fully seen from the south (see photos). Whether exiting Memorial Auditorium or entering the city from South Saunders Street, there is no good place to view the sign due to its layout.

Hopefully Red Hat will notice the problems with their sign and correct it. I’m all for tasteful signage, and don’t want a bad sign to cause a knee-jerk response from lawmakers that would would restrict the good signs.


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  • Ernest Said:

    The biggest problem with Red Hat is the decision to choose Two Progress Plaza. Sorry, but they should have opted for a brand new – and much taller – building, designed to accommodate an impressive and powerful logo. The red sign does nothing to create a positive image, nor it stand high enough to make an impact from the money shots.

    Ladies and gentlemen of Red Hat, I applaud your decision to move downtown, but what the Hell were you thinking when you approved this sign? It doesn’t do justice to Red Hat and surely doesn’t make people think of you as an innovative company. This comes from a Linux user, not a Micro$oftie :LOL:

  • Vatnos Said:

    When it was getting built, it looked like it would look better than the original sign, but the addition of the redhat logo to the big red box sort of detracts from it. Does it light up at night? Is it translucent in good sunlight?

    I’m not sure what to think of it. Personally, I didn’t like the ‘wing’ that used to be on the building anyway. I don’t necessarily miss that. I have some resignations about the size of the new sign, but I could see myself eventually getting used to it.

  • Anonymous Said:

    You are not alone: http://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/blog/2013/07/red-hats-cereal-box-sign.html

  • dmccall Said:

    Uh oh. I never agree with Dale Gibson. I must be wrong! :)

  • silly goose Said:

    An understated logo on the top left or right of the building is how they do it in tech areas. When you have to yell, nobody listens. When you whisper, everyone does.

  • Matt Said:

    Looks great coming in to Raleigh on S. Wilmington St. It is great having a non bank logo in the skyline. The skyline looks old and blah as it is.

  • Amy G. H. Said:

    I like the sign. I think red is a fitting color added to the skyline for Raleigh! (NC State, Carolina Hurricanes)

  • Raleighite Said:

    Can you say fugly.

  • Vatnos Said:

    Well after seeing it in real life for the first time I am inclined to say it’s pretty ugly.

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