It’s hard not to smile when you see this cheerful face. Since its creation in 1963, Smiley has become one of the most recognizable symbols in the world.
How did it come about? In an attempt to boost low employee morale at the State Mutual Life Assurance Company of America, Harvey Ball, a young freelance graphic artist, was commissioned to find a solution. According to his son, Charles Ball, it took Harvey roughly 10 minutes to draw Smiley, and he was paid $45. Reflecting on his iconic creation later, Harvey said that a “smile is what we want to see when we look at someone else.”
Charles now carries the torch as the managing trustee of the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation. He says the reason for Smiley’s popularity is that the “icon crosses all the lines that tend to divide us: political, religious and geographical and goes to the core of our existence.”