Smiley face turns 50

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The famous smiley face has turned 50 years old.

The Smiley Company owns the rights to the famous image in over 100 countries.

Today, the Smiley Company is ranked one of the world’s top 100 licensing businesses. It was started in 1972.

They have 458 licenses in 158 countries. They have also developed thousands of products across 14 categories, from health and beauty to homeware.

The first smiley face was said to have been developed in 1961 when it was printed on a promotional sweatshirt by the New York radio station WMCA to promote the news-talk show, Good Guys.

In 1963, the State Mutual Life Assurance Company hired a graphic designer to create a smiley face icon to boost company morale. He penned his design in 10 minutes and was paid $45.

Later, in 1971, Bernard and Murray Spain, two brothers who ran a few Hallmark card shops in Philadelphia, spotted Ball’s design, and copyrighted a version that combined the image with the slogan: “Have a Happy Day”. In the first year alone they sold more than 50m buttons.

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