|Text on Button
A smiling face and text in black on a pink background.
This button is urging voters to support Robert "Bob" Bily for the Illinois' 8th District seat in the 1976 election. Unfortunately, "Bob" only captured 14% of the vote, losing to his like-minded opponent, Democrat Harry "Bus" Yourell, along with Republicans Jane M. Barnes and Herbert V. Huskey.
This button is a variation on the classic yellow smiley face that is comprised of a yellow circle, two black dots for eyes and a black arc ending in serifs for a mouth. It was designed in 1963 by by commercial artist, Harvey Ross Ball. Ball was commissioned by The State Mutual Life Insurance Company to create a happy face to raise the morale of their employees. His version was created in 10 minutes. The design was printed onto more than 50 million buttons. Neither Ball nor the company copyrighted this smiley, so it was continually used by other businesses in their promotions.
The design and concept is quite simple and was definitely used before Ball’s 1963 version. However his has become the most iconic. Variations have been used for advertising campaigns and in popular culture ever since.