Have a Nice Day

By Peggy Roalf   Thursday August 11, 2022

Last night streamed the film, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, set in Bhutan, because I wanted to watch something that was filmed somewhere interesting—not in dark studio-built interiors with actors acting like talking heads. In the process, I learned that Bhutan is a country which has recognized the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product.

In fact, it was Bhutan that initiated the United Nations resolution 66/281 of 12 July 2012 proclaiming 20 March the International Day of Happiness. The idea is that happiness and well-being are fundamentals human rights that should be included in public policy objectives everywhere. 

This, of course, leads is to the Smiley Face, supposedly being celebrated for its 50th anniversary this year. But whose Smiley is it? It didn’t take much to uncover the story, which was recently reported in Smithsonian Magazine:

"The simple yellow smiley face created in 1963 (probably) has led to tens of thousands of variations and has appeared on everything from pillows and posters to perfume and pop art. Its meaning has changed with social and cultural values: from the optimistic message of a 1960s insurance company, to commercialized logo, to an ironic fashion statement, to a symbol of rave culture imprinted on ecstasy pills, to a wordless expression of emotions in text messages.

"In the groundbreaking comic Watchmen, a blood-stained smiley face motif serves as something of a critique of American politics in a dystopian world featuring depressed and traumatized superheroes. Perhaps Watchman artist Dave Gibbons best explains the mystique of the smiley: “It’s just a yellow field with three marks on it. It couldn’t be more simple. And so to that degree, it’s empty. It’s ready for meaning. If you put it in a nursery setting…It fits in well. If you take it and put it on a riot policeman’s gas mask, then it becomes something completely different.”

The Smiley being celebrated this year is one adopted from Harvey Bell's design and trademarked into a $multi-billion entity called The Smiley Company by French journalist Franklin Loufrani, in 1972 (left). Loufrani became the first person to register the mark for commercial use when he started using it to highlight the rare instances of good news in the newspaper France Soir. Subsequently, he trademarked the smile, dubbed simply “Smiley,” in over 100 countries and launched the Smiley Company by selling smiley T-shirt transfers.

Read the entire article by Jimmy Stamp here Jimmy lists his sources as follows: “Smiley’s People,” BBC Radio,; Smiley Company,; Thomas Crampton, “Smiley Face is Serious to Company,” The New York Times (July 5, 2006); “Harvey Ball,” Wikipedia,