Discover the story behind the smiley face, a pop culture icon, designed by Harvey Ball The oldest example of a smiley face or “happy face” dates back to 1700 BC It is a ceramic vessel almost 4000 years old found near the border between Turkey and Syria, on whose surface you can see two points and a line weakly curved traces. However, the ubiquitous yellow smiley face , considered a pop icon around the world and part of the digital language of the new millennium, was created in 1963 in Worcester, Massachusetts, by artist Harvey Ball.
Who created the iconic yellow happy face? 1 Harvey Ball created the Image Manipulation Service "smiley face" in 1963. Who was Harvey Ball? Harvey Ball was born in Worcester in 1921. Interested in pursuing a career in the creative industry, he enrolled at the Worcester Art Museum School after graduating from high school. After serving in the US Army during World War II, Ball returned to his hometown, where he worked for various advertising agencies before establishing his own company, Harvey Ball Art & Advertising, in 1959.
He was hired by the State Mutual Life Assurance Company of America to create the symbol of a campaign aimed at increasing the morale of its staff, since the company had just gone through several mergers and acquisitions that generated a feeling of uncertainty among its workers. The birth of the iconic yellow smiley face Ball's brief was to make a design to be used on buttons. Originally, his proposal only featured a circle with a mouth, but later he decided to add eyes so that the button couldn't be reversed and show a sad face.