A basic ideogram that represents a smiling face is known as smiley or sometimes as a smiley face. It became part of popular culture in the 1950s. It was used as a standalone ideogram or as a form of communication. Today, we use emoticons to convey the meanings of expressions in a text message. Smiley or smiley face was just a two dost and a line to represent eyes and mouth. Later on, more elaborated designs emerged with eyebrows, noses, and outlines.
Harvey Ross Ball was working for an advertising firm after World War II. Smiley was designed by him in 1963. He is known as a designer of the smiley face. The phrase “Have a happy day” was associated with the smiley. It was not Ball’s main idea to replace the phrase but it was adopted by the people. The smiley was evolved in later years and was used with the phrase in different products.
Why Is the Smiley Famous? Will Cover Harvey Ross Ball as Well?
Harvey Ross Ball
Harvey Ross Ball was born and raised in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was studying at Worcester South High School. During his time as a student, he became an apprentice to a local sign painter. Later, he studied fine arts at Worcester Art Museum. After World War II, he was working for a local advertising company but later on, he started his own business in 1959. The name of the business was Harvey Ball Advertising.
Origin of Smiley
The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester now known as Hanover Insurance purchased Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio. Not every employee is happy with a merger. Hence, employees had low morale. In 1963, Ball was employed as a freelance artist. It was done to solve the problem of low morale. As a result, Ball came up with an image to increase the morale of the employees.
He created a smiley face having one eye bigger than the other. In less than 10 minutes, Harvey came up with a simple yet world-changing smiley face. The simplicity of the smiley face brought smiles to the faces of low morale employees. He got paid $45 for this solution. Also, the creation of smiley faces is used all over the world.
Smiley face created by Ball became part of the company. It was used as a friendship campaign. Also, State Mutual handed over 100 smiley pins to employees so that they can smile every time they do a task or use a phone. Smiley became an international icon and the buttons became popular. In 1971, more than 50 million smiley face buttons were sold.
To your surprise, Ball never applied for a trademark or copyright for his design of smiley. He just got paid $45 for his work. State Mutual did not make any money from the smiley design. The ball never regrated to have a copyright or trademark for his smiley design. He was not a money-driven guy.
Harvey Ross Ball said that he could drive only one car at a time, and eat only one steak at a time. It proves that he was not a money-driven guy but he got the fame through a simple smiley design.
The popularity of Smiley
The phrase “Have a happy day” was not part of the Ball’s smiley design. It was adopted by Philadelphian brothers Bernard and Murray Spain. In the early 1970s, they sold products with the logo and phrase. The combination of logo and phrase was trademarked by them but the phrase was changed to “Have a nice day”. It became an everyday use phrase in North America.
In 1972, smiley was introduced to France in the newspaper France Soir. In this newspaper, it was used as a sign of a good news story. Frenchman Franklin Loufrani made swift moves to trademark the smiley. He was making $ 100 million from his company but in the 1990s he was entangled in a dispute over copyrights with Walmart on the image.
Promotion of Smiley
On July 18, 1998, on the 35th anniversary of the design’s creation, Ball appeared on That’s Entertainment. There he met his fans and signed the emoticons and artwork. In this appearance, Ball was shown the copies of the Watchmen # 1 graphic novel. This novel had a prominent featuring image of a smiling face with a splash of blood on it. Ken Carson, the store manager said that Ball looked amused when he saw himself on the cover.
World Smile Foundation
World Smile Foundation was founded by Harvey Ross Ball in 1999. It was a non-profit charitable trust that supported children’s causes. The group licenses the Smileys and organizes World Smile Day. Smile Day takes place on the first Friday of October every year and it is dedicated to good cheer and good works. The Smile Day is a catchphrase to do an act of kindness and make a person smile.
Evolution of Smiley Face
Over the years, there have been countless variations of the smiley face designed by Harvey Ross Ball. Along with the design, the meaning has also changed. It has evolved from the social and cultural values of the time. It began as a simple symbol used for optimism in the 1960s. Later on, in the 1970s, it became a commercialized logo. In the 1990s, it became a representation of rave culture.
Today, the smiley appears on various fashion items and is used in daily text messages. It has become a visual online language to enhance the meaning of your text message. It is a wonder for us that a 10-minute creation of Harvey Ball’s doodle became so viral that we use it in the present day too.
Distinguishing features of Ball’s Smiley Face
The distinguishing features of Ball’s Smiley face had narrow oval eyes. The eye on the right was slightly larger than the left one. It had a perfect circle face with bright yellow color. The mouth of the smiley was not a perfect arc, similar to a Mona Lisa Mouth.
The face of the smiley had creases at the sides of the mouth. It was slightly off the center of the face. It was a little bit higher on the right side than the left. Also, the right side of the mouth is thicker than the left side.
In Popular Culture
Franklin Loufrani used the smiley face in the newspaper. The design of Loufrani was introduced in 1971. Later on, the smiley designed by Loufrani brought The Smiley Company into the market. In the United States, the use of smiling faces was adopted in most cartoons and comics.
Music genres were creating their own cultures from the 1970s onwards. Most of the cultures were using smiley faces in their culture. The swastika banners were having three large smileys in the rallies. In the UK, the smiley face was associated with psychedelic culture. In the late-1980s, smiley was a prominent image in the music industry in various dance music.
Namco released a famous game named Pac-man in 1980. The game had a yellow-faced cartoon character. Other than this, Battlefield: Bad Company launched in 2008 had a yellow smiley. It was used as a branding of the game. It appeared on the side of the grenade.
Other than Watchmen, smiley was used in the film Suicide Squad. The character Deadshot was staring into the window of a clothing brand and behind a line of mannequins, there is a yellow smiley face pin. The film Evolution was having a three-eyes smiley as a logo.
Smiley Face – A Symbol of Happiness and Joy
A yellow smiley face created and designed by Harvey Ross Ball got famous throughout the world. It has gone through a lot of variations. The emoticons we used today in our text messages or comments also evolved from Ball’s smiley face. It was designed for the morale of the employees but not it is used in daily life to express your text messages through a virtual smiley. Also, it got fame in popular culture through movies, arts, games, music, etc.