Changing an icon associated with a venerable institution can be a tricky proposition.

It’s not helped when the redesigned image lacks dignity, good taste, or creativity.  Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed reports and the efforts of students alumni to kill the new logo for the University of California system.

Classic vs New UC Logos

One student posted a comment at The Daily Californian, the student newspaper at the University of California at Berkeley, comparing the new logo for the University of California System to the loading icon on YouTube. Another posted: “That was what I was thinking! Then someone had to ruin it for me with the toilet flushing comments, which I now cannot unsee….”

Either way, the commenters (and thousands of others) are giving a failing grade to the new logo, and calling for the university to abandon it. The university has until now used its original seal, dating to 1868, featuring an open book and the words “let there be light.” The new seal is theoretically supposed to show a C inside a U.

More than 30,000 people have signed a petition against the new logo. “The newly designed monogram of the University of California, while attempting to be modern, loses the prestige and elegance of the current seal,” the petition says. Comments posted on the petition website call the new logo “corporate,” “cheap” and “the logo of something found in the toddler section of Toys R’ Us.” Many question why the university even needed a new logo, saying that the original seal reflects the university’s values.

Said one comment: “Why would UC need to be rebranded? UC remains and will be the best public institution in the world. Also, UC is an educational institution, not a start-up company.”

Protest pages have also sprung up on Facebook, where people can express support at “The New UC Logo is Awful,” “Stop the UC Logo Change” or “UC Alumni Against the New Logo,” among others.

Click here for Video: University of California Identity

A comment from YouTube on the video summarizes the overall opinion most succinctly:

This is utter crap. It makes me cry over the tens of thousands of dollars I had to pay for an education at what used to be an esteemed university. With a “brand makeover” geared for a new mindless and less appreciative generation it seems the UC system has also lost what it originally stood for- a higher education.

And that UC administrators recognize the design is a failure comes from its hand-wringing distancing of its use:

The two symbols serve very distinct roles. To preserve their gravitas, many of our campuses, and other universities across the country have limited use of their official seals in similar ways. It also does not replace the individual identities of each of our UC campuses. It gives our campuses and others a simple, distinct way to reference the system as a whole.