UPDATE 2:37 pm. Dec. 14: The university has suspended use of the controversial logo. Learn more here. A UC online video about the logo that had appeared at the bottom of this post has been removed from the Internet by the university.
UPDATE 4:46 pm. Dec. 11: The university's press office has posted a lengthy response to the online criticism of the new logo that in part explains the difference between the logo and the UC seal. In the response the logo is described as a "small monogram that appears on many of the university's systemwide Web pages, as well as its marketing and communication materials." The response also includes these quotes from Jason Simon, the marketing communications director at the university's office of the president:
"The seal signifies the prestige and tradition of the university itself, and is a treasured part of the UC identity," Simon said. "There has never been any plan to replace it with the monogram."
The monogram serves an entirely different visual function than the UC seal — and media images showing the two symbols side by side have fueled that misunderstanding, Simon said.
Simon said there has been no discussion about dropping the monogram, but stressed that all of the elements of the systemwide visual identity were designed to be flexible, with the expectation that they would evolve over time.
An online petition asking the UC's Board of Regents to find an alternative to the logo now has more than 47,000 supporters.
UPDATE 2:37 p.m. Dec. 11: The University of California just posted this response to the criticism of the logo on its Facebook page:
We've been listening intently to the feedback on the UC symbol, and we wanted to make sure people saw that it is just a part of a richer picture. Here's a little bit of the before and after: http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/documents/uc_brand_large.pdf.
Here's the thing: It's not replacing anything. There wasn't a logo before, and the UC seal isn't going anywhere. The symbol also isn't new. It's been on websites, brochures, advertising and other places for nearly a year now.
Did we consult people and test it? Of course. And we also used it in a mobile exhibit that stopped at all 10 campuses and nearly 30 other locations throughout California from September through November. More than 60,000 people came to the tour stops, letting their voices be heard on what really matters: ensuring that Californians understand the value and commitment UC has to making our state better.
Does everyone like the new symbol? No. That's very clear. But strong differences of opinion and energetic debate are part of what's made UC such an amazing place. This system reflects that diversity of thought: All of the elements (not just the symbol) were designed to be flexible, so it may evolve over time.
To Ethan Davis, the new visual branding for the University of California is "a witty, fresh, charismatic and entirely unstuffy aesthetic — an aesthetic that seemed to go against all standard expectations of what public education should look like." Davis writes on the blog Grain Edit that the university's new identity is part of what drew him to the job as a senior designer for the UC system.