|Photo courtesy Gerd Altmann|
In 1963, commercial artist Harvey Ball created the image of a smiley face for a “friendship campaign” for employees of an insurance company. The image was to be used on buttons, desk cards and posters. He was paid $240 for the drawing, which he said took about 10 minutes. To everyone’s surprise, this image became wildly popular in the 60s and 70s, so much so that Ball became concerned that the over-commercialization of the image had hidden its original purpose as a symbol of friendship and good cheer. In 1999, he declared that the first Friday in October should be World Smile Day, a day devoted to smiles and kind acts. His hometown of Worcester, MA, celebrated, and eventually events commemorating World Smile Day spread throughout the world.
Following Ball’s death, the Harvey Ball World Smile Foundation was established in 2001 to honor him and continue sponsoring World Smile Day as well as supporting other grassroots charitable activities.
It’s simple to be part of World Smile Day: “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile.”
Share your experiences on Facebook or Twitter, or just with those you love. And happy World Smile Day!