Garston Motors Smiley

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Yellow smiley face button with black text. 

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Garsten Motors is an automotive retailer based in Riverhead, New York. The dealership—now named Apple Honda—was founded by businessman Irwin Garsten in 1959. Originally, Garsten Motors was located on Main Street but moved to a three-acre plot on Route 58 in 1972. Today, Route 58 is a heavily commercialized part of town and a major stop on the Long Island Expressway, helping to bring business to Apple Honda. At 86, Irwin Garsten continues to work at his beloved company and intends to pass it on to his son and Apple Honda’s manager Bill Fields. During his sixty years in business, Garsten has owned around seventeen auto franchises but claims that Apple Honda is by far his most successful.

The classic yellow smiley face 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 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.


Apple Honda. (n.d.). Our history. Bloomberg. (n.d.). Gasten Motors Inc.

Catalog ID SM0141