Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Smiley Face


smiley face original harvey ball
Original Smiley Face 
A smiley face (smiley or emoticon) is used in text-based communications to express an emotion, much in the same way we use body language. Text smiley faces are used in the same way that a person's voice or facial expression changes when having a face-to-face conversation with someone. Some chat and instant message programs will automatically translate text smiley faces into graphical emoticons. In the film Forrest Gump, there is a scene when Gump has a chat with a poor T-shirt salesman who needed to put a face on a T-shirt but the salesman couldn’t draw nor had a camera. During this discussion a truck drives by and splish-splashes Gump’s face with muck. He smears his face on a yellow T-shirt and hands it back to the salesman, telling him to “have a nice day.” The imprint of Gump’s face left a flawless smiley face on the yellow t-shirt. And thus, an icon was born, and end of story.
NO!, that was not how the iconic smiley face was fashioned. It’s generally recognized that the novel version of the “smiley face” was first created 50 years ago in Worcester, Massachusetts by the late Harvey Ross Ball, an American graphic artist and ad man. Ball came up with the image in 1963 when he was appointed to create a graphic to increase self-confidence amid the workers of an insurance company after a sequence of tough mergers and acquisitions.
Ball completed the project in less than 10 minutes and was paid $45 for his work. The Company made posters, buttons, and signs adorned with the jaundiced grin in the attempt to get their employees to smile more. It’s unclear whether or not the new logo enhanced self-confidence, but the smiling face was an instant hit and the company fashioned thousands of buttons. The authentic Harvey Ball-designed smiley face could always be recognized by its unique features: the eyes are narrow ovals, one larger than the other, and the mouth is not a perfect .Neither Ball nor State Mutual tried to trademark or copyright the design. Although it seems clear that Ball has the strongest claim to the second most iconic smile in history.
In the early 1970s, comrades Bernard and Murray Spain, owners of two Hallmark card shops in Philadelphia, came across the image in a button shop, noticed that it was extremely popular, and simply seized it. They identified that Harvey Ball came up with the design in the 1960s but later adding the slogan “Have a Happy Day” to the smile, the Brothers Spain were able to copyright the revised mark in 1971, and immediately began producing their own novelty items. By the end of the year they had sold more than 50 million buttons and countless other products, turning a profit while attempting to help return a nation’s optimism during the Vietnam War.


Smiley face news paper
Smiley Face News paper
There is a different claim to the development of the smiley coming from Europe when French journalist Franklin Loufrani turn out to be the first person to register the mark for commercial use in 1972 when he started using it to highlight the rare instances of good news in the newspaper France Soir. Consequently, he trademarked the smile, dubbed simply “Smiley,” in over 100 countries.
In 1996, Loufrani’s son Nicolas took over the family business and converted it into an empire. Today, the Smiley Company makes more than $130 million a year and is one of the top 100 licensing companies of the world. A stone carving found in a French cave that dates to 2500 BC, as well as a smiley face graphic used for a campaign by a New York radio station in 1960.
Communicating over Email or text could open whole new world of complications. Cause it’s hard to convey a tone. It’s a formula for miscommunication. That’s why many favor of using emoticons where it’s sensible. Unlike exclamation points, or italics, the smiley face has the potential to aid a striking drive in business correspondence, far greater than the boundaries of your conventional grammar and punctuation.

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