What Is the History of Smiley Face Symbols?


Quick Answer

Smiley’s first creation was in the 1960s, but the classic Smiley appearance known today started in the '70s. There has been some dispute as to where the Smiley symbol first came from and who the original designer was.

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Full Answer

The 1963 children’s program "The Funny Company" did feature a rough Smiley as its logo with a message that stated “keep smiling.” A commercial artist, Harvey Ball, that same year designed a Smiley symbol for a local insurance company to help employees feel good. The Smiley is based on such a typical child doodle that its origins are unknown.

The words “Have a nice day” were created by the two brothers Bernard and Murray Spain in Philadelphia in 1970, when they developed the now classic Smiley for a novel. The brothers placed Smiley on buttons in 1972, selling 50 million in an attempt to put a smile of the face of Vietnam-era Americans. The wave of Smiley burst into the scene after this with coffee cups, T-shirts, earrings and bumper stickers. Since then, Smiley has shown up in movies, books, new papers as well as signs of emotions in cell phones. Smiley has become deeply ingrained in the digital world making it the feel-good symbol.

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