A symbol of happiness, the smiley face has evolved a lot over the years. It started with the most famous icon; the black circle, yellow face and a semi-circular mouth. It was invented by Harvey Ball in 1963, a graphic designer from Massachusetts. He was asked to create a way to boost the morale of employees at a life insurance company. He came up with this graphic in only 10 minutes and got paid just $45 for what is now a globally recognised icon.

The icon evolved quickly with different brands adopting it in various forms. From the symbol of optimism in the 60’s to mainstream commercialisation in the 70’s, it even became the emblem of Rave Culture in the 90’s. By the 2000’s, Harvey Ball’s son Charlie attempted to rescue his father’s legacy from the world of consumerism by starting the World Smile Foundation. It continues today as a non-profit organisation, focussing on grassroots charitable efforts in line with Harvey Ball’s belief that a kind act and the power of a smile could go a very long way. 

Today, the smiley is not only an archetypal symbol found in fashion but is also synonymous in the way we express ourselves through emojis on social media or text messages. This we owe to the 10 minute smiley from Harvey Ball.

What about Shosai smiley?

The team was struggling to find a good representation of Shosai until our content manager drew a smiley over a campaign image and Quade just happened to love it! 

So we decided to try it on all our t-shirts and hoodies and it was a winning idea for the whole team.

It became the best representation of what Shosai is about: peace & happiness. 

Fun fact: two members of the team got a matching SHOSAI smiley face tattoo.

February 14, 2023 — Zoe Beedan