Thursday, July 22, 2010
Thank you Harvey Ball!
"Never in the history of mankind or art has any single piece of art gotten such widespread favor, pleasure, enjoyment, and nothing has ever been so simply done and so easily understood in art."
Isn't it interesting how sometimes, as you search on the web for something like a recipe or what have you, somehow you end up someplace else not intended but that surprises you with a delightful bit of information you didn't know?
The Story : In the early 60s State Mutual Life Assurance of Worcester, MA initiated a merger that had bad effects on company morale. In 1964, State Mutual cooked up a “friendship campaign” to get employees to smile whenever they answered the phone, paid a claim, or typed a report. The company turned to Harvey Ball for graphic support. Ball reported that he spent about 10 minutes designing the smiley face, and he was paid $45 for it. This was the only profit that Ball ever made from his most famous creation. Neither Ball or the insurance company trademarked or copyrighted the smiley face. In the early 1970s, the smiley face image became a symbol for an entire generation of Americans, emerging as one of the most well-known images in the country.
The smiley face craze, was the work of two brothers in Philadelphia, Bernard and Murray Spain, who were in the business of making would-be fad items. In September of 1970 they drew up a smiley face added the words "Have a nice day," and copyrighted the image and words. Soon they and their many imitators were cranking out buttons, posters, greeting cards, shirts, bumper stickers, cookie jars, earrings, bracelets, key chains, and many other items. The fad lasted about a year and half; the number of smiley buttons produced by 1972 was estimated at 50 million.