Of course you have seen the work that would make a man from Worcester, MA famous. His name was Harvey Ball and he was a commercial artist. He was also the man who created the “smiley face” that you know so well. Yes, it is interesting to think about that, but someone had to be the first person to create that yellow face with simple black lines in the shape of a smile. That person was Harvey Ball.
From the Wikipedia entry about Harvey:
“His design of the Smiley came about in 1963. The State Mutual Life Assurance Company of Worcester, Massachusetts (now known as Hanover Insurance) purchased Guarantee Mutual Company of Ohio. The merger resulted in low employee morale. In an attempt to solve this, Harvey Ball was employed in 1963 as a freelance artist to create a smiley face to be used on buttons, desk cards, and posters. In less than ten minutes the smiley face was complete.
The use of the smiley face was part of the company’s friendship campaign whereby State Mutual handed out 100 smiley pins to employees. The aim was to get employees to smile while using the phone and doing other tasks. The buttons were highly popular, with orders in lots of 10,000. More than 50 million Smiley Face buttons were sold by 1971, and the smiley has been described as an international icon.
Ball never applied for a trademark or copyright of the smiley and earned just $45 for his work. State Mutual, similarly, did not make any money from the design. Ball’s son, Charles Ball is reported to have said his father never regretted not registering the copyright. Telegram & Gazette reported Charles Ball as saying ‘he was not a money-driven guy, he used to say, “Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time.’”
The associated ‘Have a Nice Day’ tag, was not part of the original design. Brothers Bernard and Murray Spain later trademarked the line combined with a smiley face in the early 1970s.”
Harvey then helped create what is now known as WORLD SMILE DAY. It was officially started in 1999. These days it also raises money for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation which supports children’s causes.
As for World Smile Day, it has but one goal: “Do an act of kindness. Help one person SMILE!”
Here’s hoping this note helped you smile. Now see if you can spread that cheer to someone else around you. Happy World Smile Day!