The smiley iconography has spanned hundreds of years. Many believe the origin was in 1963, when Harvey Ball was tasked with a simple graphic design job to boost employee morale at an insurance company. Some believe it began earlier, with the logo used by the WMCA “Good Guys” radio station in 1960 New York City. Regardless, it has since taken on multiple lives and appropriations across a diverse range of mediums including Hollywood cinema, graphic design, alternative & indie music, skateboarding, graffiti culture, high & low fashion, and even fine art. It has woven & winked itself into the zeitgeist and cultural fabric of our physical and digital universe.
This book is the first to showcase works by fine artists and graphic designers by bringing together an extraordinary collection of art by some of the world’s most potent visual communicators, including – Alex Da Corte, Alex Fuller, Alex Trochut, Alfie Steiner, Alicia McCarthy, Anthony Sarcone, Aurel Schmidt, BANKSY, Carlos Valencia, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Chris Alborano, Cody Hudson, Curtis Kulig, DB Burkeman, Derek Gardner, Destroy All Monsters, Eric Elms, Erik Foss, Greg Bogin, IMBUE, INVADER, James Cauty, James Joyce, Jeremy Deller, KATSU, Mark Flood, Matthew Nichols, Misaki Kawai, Norman Cook (a.k.a. Fatboy Slim), Patrick Rocha, Paul Insect + BÄST, Paul Weston, Philip Gerald, Rachel Maclean, Richard Prince, Rich Browd, Rob Pruitt, Ron English, Sadie Benning, Sayre Gomez, SKULLPHONE, Tyrrell Winston, Wolfgang Tillmans,Yung Jake,and 1UP CREW.
In the history of Western graphic design, no other symbol has ever held such a duality: used simultaneously as a mainstream happiness driver on grocery bags & children’s doctors office stickers and as a coded signifier of counterculture lifestyles on rave flyers & underground tee’s. The smiley has been used for generations by corporate marketers, suburban families, hippies, punks, and acid house ravers alike.