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The History of Smiley Faces

The history of the iconic smiley face is surprisingly complex! The original version was created by an American graphic artist and ad man named Harvey Ross Ball in 1963. His design was then appropriated, revised, and copyrighted by the Spain brothers for use on greeting cards and novelty items in the 1970s. The Smiley Company and Walmart both tried to copyright similar images, too, resulting in long legal battles. While Ball himself never received a copyright for his design, his influence has lived on in the iconic smiley face image that can be found today on everything from stickers and keychains to movie posters and art prints.

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