In the beginning there was happiness…
Smiley, the happiest brand ever, was founded by Franklin Loufrani in 1971 through a newspaper promotion to make people happy. using the logo to highlight good news, it allowed readers to see the bright side of life throughout any day. In a very short time Smiley became the most recognisable icon in the world and remains so to this day.
How a Brand was Born
How old is smiley?
The first human representation of the Smiley logo comes from France in the form of a stone over 4500 years old. It is a perfectly round pebble with two round eyes and a mouth shaped as an arch of a circle.
Happy Faces have been used in a variety of ways across music, media and entertainment prior to the creation of the iconic Smiley brand we know today.
Academy Award nominated film Lily featured a Smiley on its promotional materials in 1953.
Iconic rock star Mick Jagger wore the ‘WMCA Good Guy’ Smiley sweater for a New York radio station interview in the early 1960s.
In 1963, the State Mutual Life Insurance Company issued The Smile badge as a part of a promotional campaign.
However, it was only in 1988 that Franklin Loufrani started trademarking the name “Smiley”. Smiley has always taken pride in the knowledge that through forty-years of extensive development, investment and passionate creativity; a truly special brand with history was born behind it’s iconic logo.
A music Revolution
The Smiley brand, began to reach global recognition as an ‘iconic’ logo with the rise of modernity, contemporary society and movements firmly establishing its heritage and identity in ‘Pop’ culture. From the 80’s evolution in electronic music, Smiley become the universal symbol for the explosion of house music. To this day, it continues to be a major part of the fashion lifestyle DNA of this brand. Later, In the 1990s the original smiley logo was omnipresent during the explosion of grunge rock music.
Changing the world with technology
In 1997, Nicolas Loufrani (the son of Franklin Loufrani founder of the original smiley logo) decided to explore this concept of digital communication and started to create a dictionary of icons based on Smiley to replace ‘text emoticons’ made solely of fonts. Nicolas began to develop expressive characters which helped to promote the universal language of the ’emoticon’.
The first Smiley icons appeared online in 1997. In 2001 the first Smiley dictionary was placed online, associating 1000 Smiley icons to emoticons.
There are now over 2000 different icons in this dictionary with more being added every day.
Smiley is more than an icon, brand and lifestyle; it’s a spirit and a philosophy and exists to remind people of how powerful a smile is and how much a simple smiley can change both your life and the lives of others around you.