Illustration of a smiley with squinting eyes on a yellow background
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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.
In the 1980s, Highlights Magazine, a popular children's periodical, often distributed stickers and other memorabilia such as buttons with subscriptions to their service. This is likely one of those promotional items.
In Internet culture the squinty smiley face is an emoji in the form of the ^^ emoticon. It is also known as the smiling face with the smiling eyes, an emoji that expresses positive feelings and genuine happiness.
About Harvey Ball. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2020, from https://www.worldsmileday.com/index.php/article-index/item/380-about-ha…
Smiling Face with Smiling Eyes Emoji. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2020, from https://emojipedia.org/smiling-face-with-smiling-eyes/