The University of California ditched its old seal for a new logo (for form's sake, it's on the right):
The Bruin blue doubles as open book and stylized U. The curiously disappearing C intends to convey a mote of light, spiraling up and out of the blue, toward viewer. I find it evokes nothing so much as a mutated sperm cell, spinning impotently in the ovarian deep.
So the illuminating star of the seal shining benevolently from the heavens becomes a point of light revealing only itself against a dull background, tracing a closed circle. The book, open and revealing, is replaced with an inexpressive dense mass, barely deigning to part its hair in the middle up on top there.
The image of discovery and enlightenment is thus replaced by that of obscurity and gnosis. We are to believe the blue block-blob symbolizing the university holds something more than the piss-yellow tear it's mysteriously shedding, the truth even perhaps, but what the truth is is anyone's idea. What the truth is is anyone's idea would make a fine motto for the university's humanities department, I imagine.
It's taken for granted there would be no continuity with the seal's biblical reference. The date too can't make the cut into abstraction. One had to be able to read to draw information from the old seal. The new one requires no literacy, no language even, and is presumed to be thus accessible to all. Globalization necessitates a less literate world. But any information the obscure and abstract conveys must be explained by somebody. Some elect. The very pretense of the postmodern academy.
Some future alien anthropologist, digging up the seal and the logo, can see just what the former is, and, if say he finds a way to interpret English and our system of dating, can know precisely what it says. It becomes a means of understanding the other things he finds. The logo, dull and mute, can only yield its paltry UC and prompt a few surmises. Maybe that anthropologist will have some insight into how this all works on us in the present. We can only guess.
If the university's intention was to convey enlightenment as a goal, they've failed miserably. If the worst stories of the academy are true, I'd say the new logo is perfect.
update: I didn't realize the C is actually one of those animated icons used indicating an internet browser is searching.