Harvey Ball: The man who invented the smiley face!
Harvey Ball might not be a famous name, but he created one of the most recognizable icons in the world. Harvey Ball was born on July 10, 1921, in Worcester, Massachusetts. During World War II, Ball served in Asia and the Pacific and was awarded the Bronze Star for Heroism during the Battle of Okinawa. After the war ended, he started his own company, Harvey Ball Advertising. In 1963, a company hired Ball to sketch something to be used on buttons, and Ball came up with a smiley face on a bright yellow background. The design took him less than 10 minutes to complete and hence he was paid $45 for his work.
Harvey Ball said, “Smiley has become so commercialized that its original message of spreading good will and good cheer has all but disappeared”. Harvey Ball died on April 12, 2001, of liver failure at the age of 79. Nearly 50 years after commissioning its creation, the company now known as Worcester Mutual Fire Insurance still uses his Smiley Face in its promo materials.
World Smile Foundation
The World Smile Corporation was founded by Ball in 1999. The Corporation licenses Smileys and organizes World Smile Day. World Smile Day raises money for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust that supports children’s causes. World Smile Day is held on the first Friday of October each year and is a day dedicated to “good cheer and good works”. The catch phrase for the day is “Do an act of kindness – help one person smile”. [sources]