"A sad sign for higher education"
I agree that the (hopelessly lame) new University of California logo is one. "Let there be light" strikes me as a motto that, well, aims a bit higher.
But have you tried looking at it upside down? It gets even worse.
The good news is that the University backed down even faster than Code ditched New Coke:
The new design streamlined elements of the old. (A short video tracks the evolution.) The dimpled blue profile of an open book sags into a deep U, with a swiped yellow C resting at the bottom of the curve. Its flat, sleek style, readable from across the room, implies hip contemporary branding, which the university wanted, while also appearing frankly corporate, which it didn't. ...
The old design evokes the international Arts and Crafts movement, circa 1900, which merged an anti-industrial philosophy of social and economic reform with folk-style individual craftsmanship. Today its superannuated stodginess is fundamental to the visual quality that has grown up around it over decades like, well, ivy: Age symbolizes wisdom, even when things don't always work out that way, and what should a university logo be but a symbol of smarts?