Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mr. Ball

Hi Everyone, I know it´s been a couple of months since I last posted but it seems to take me (or I should say my blogging assistant) a bit of time to come up with exciting topics for my blog. Today´s blog is actually an homage to my creator (no, not the country of China) Mr. Harvey Ball. Saturday April 12th marked the 7th anniversary of his passing.

Mr. Ball is known around the world as the original designer of the smiley/happy face. The history of the smiley face is something that I hold near and dear to my heart. Mr. Ball came up with the design (or as we H Faces say ¨created us¨) in 1963. At that time he was an artist and freelance designer who was hired by State Mutual Life Assurance Company. The company had recently merged with another company and the merger resulted in very low employee morale. In an attempt to solve this problem, Harvey Ball was asked to create a smiley face for a staff campaign to be used on buttons, desk cards, and posters. In less than ten minutes he created the smiley face.

The goal of the campaign was to get employees to smile at work. And it did work. The buttons were highly popular and in 1971 more than 50 million Smiley Face buttons were sold! The smiley (and of course ME) then became an international icon. Mr.Ball never applied for a trademark or copyright of the smiley and received just $45 for his work (I think he was ripped off!). Mr. Ball said he never regretted not registering the copyright.

Mr. Ball founded The World Smile Corporation in 1999. The corporation licenses Smileys (I pay 10 Hap Dollars a year to keep my Hap Permit - just kidding!) and organizes World Smile Day. World Smile Day raises money for the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation, a non-profit charitable trust which supports children's causes. It´s held on the first Friday of October each year and is a day dedicated to "good cheer and good works". The official slogan for the day is "Do an act of kindness - help one person smile". That´s something I try to do every day!

You can see me with Mr. Ball in the top right of the first photo. It was the only time I met him and it was an incredible honour for me. When he died it was the only time I truly cried. In fact all of the smiley faces did.

1 comment:

Grey Bear said...

Thanks for sharing this. Your posting made me smile too. Sorry about Mr. Ball though ...