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Googley Eyes Face

Googley Eyes Face Art Button Museum
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Googley Eyes Face button back Art Button Museum
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Orange button with a googley eyed face with a circular mouth

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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.

Googly eyes are a plastic craft item meant to represent eyeballs. Typically, a white shell to represent the whites of the eyes with a loose black disc to represent the pupil are encased inside of a clear plastic lens. They are often placed on objects to personify them.

In internet culture the Face with Open Mouth consists of open eyes and open mouth within a small yellow face. The emoji represents: Oh my! or Wow! in addition to mild disbelief or awe. It is thought that the first inception of googly eyes began in the early 1900s within a comic strip by Billy DeBeck called Barney Google and Snuffy Smith. The Barney Google character had large “googly” eyes. In the 1970s Tom Blundell, an executive of a toy company (BIPIO), manufactured the craft version of googly eyes.


About Harvey Ball. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from

Editorial, A., & Gotthardt, A. (2018, October 02). How Googly Eyes Became an Essential Part of Crafts. Retrieved September 28, 2020, from

Face With Open Mouth Emoji. (n.d.). Retrieved September 14, 2020, from

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