Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Smile! Harvey Ball and his famous icon

This is a smiley :)
The inventor of the smiley, Harvey Ball, was born July 10, 1921 .

In December 1963, commercial artist Harvey Ball was assigned to create a smiling face for an insurance company in order to improve their employee morale. In between about 10 minutes, he drew two dots and a smile into a yellow circle and the smiley was born. More than fifty million buttons were produced after Ball's design, he earned a total of 45$ for his creation and never decided to apply for a trademark.

From there, the smiley was globally used in many advertisements and political campaigns. In the 1970, during the Nixon-era in America, it was associated with optimism through the summer of love and many popular music artists dealt with the smiley, it was even parodied in the movie Forrest Gump.

Through the years the smiley survived in people's minds and was able to impact the beginning computer-era of the 1980's. The professor of computer science Scott E. Fahlman is regarded as the inventor of the electronic smiley (emoticon), because of introducing the negative smiley :-( in 1982. In telecommunications, smileys were then used as ASCII-characters to emphasize a certain meaning of a sentence. In 2005, Microsoft wanted to save the rights for their ability to transform ASCII-characters into smileys, but did not succeed. Today, many variations of the original smiley face and emoticons exist and differ much from the original design by Harvey Ball.

At yovisto we celebrate Harvey Ball's birthday with a video about the phenomenon of LOL-cats: 'How simplicity powers large, growing, complex communities like I Can Has Cheezburger?'

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