Create Your Smile Ball!

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Everyone is familiar with the smiley face icon, right? I mean it is totally ingrained in our human culture. Did you ever consider where this little yellow round humanoid face got its start in the world? I didn’t until recently. In fact, I used to find them a bit annoying and at the same time strangely irresistible. Especially, when typing posts on Facebook… 😉  Well, kids, it all started a long time ago (1963) in a far, far away land (Worcester, Mass)… allow me to introduce you all to the Great Great Grandpa of every emoticon you ever laid eyes on:


Every creation has its creator. From now and forever forward, for me anyway, the smiley face will be referenced as the “Smile Ball” with much honor and respect for its creator, Mr. Harvey Ball.

Harvey_BallHarvey Ball, was born July 10, 1921 in Worcester, Mass, and started his career as a commercial artist when he was still in High School. He apprenticed with a local sign painting shop. He later studied fine arts at the Worcester Art Museum School. Harvey was a World War II veteran and was awarded the Bronze Medal for heroism in the Battle of Okinawa. After the war he worked in advertising until he could start his own business Harvey Ball Advertising in 1959. At the same time he remained in the National Guard and later the Army Reserves until retiring as a full Colonel in 1979. But, it was in 1963 that Harvey would earn his page in the history books (and the records at the Smithsonian Institution) when he designed the smiley face shown above for a client who paid him $45 for a campaign to help boost corporate morale. The design was never copyrighted or trademarked by Mr. Ball or his client. Later someone basically stole it and trademarked it with the phrase “Have a Nice Day.” So that’s where that all came from which totally reminds me of that scene in the movie Forest Gump. Harvey never really regretted not having copyrighted it himself. He was quoted as having said, “Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time.” How can you NOT love Harvey Ball, right? In 1999, Harvey initiated World Smile Day to help improve the world, “one smile at a time.” He passed away in 2001 at the age of 79.

World Smile Day is celebrated every October 2nd. Happy World Smile Day everyone! The more current message of World Smile Day is to spread acts of kindness. So today, let’s all engage in the age-old art of kindness. Whenever I look at the “smile ball” now, I will think of Mr. Harvey Ball and remember his story and character. Today as you practice kindness, try to be mindful of the creations, large and small, that are all around you. Behind each of those creations is a creative human story. Somewhere at some time an artist, designer, engineer, or creator of some sort helped create each piece of the physical man-made world we live in. People just like Harvey Ball: a modest man who created things to help others create better businesses. A war hero who no doubt witnessed first hand our human ability to create and to destroy.

So, here’s a fun and easy Creating Exercise for you to try on this fine Friday morning! I want you to draw a smile ball. Wherever and however you want is just fine. You can even draw it on a post-it note if you want to, like I did, and stick it somewhere you will see it often.


Smile on… Start sprinkling that kindness!

Your Creativity Coach,



Bonnie Kelso is the creator of The ABCs of Conscious Creating. She uses energy healing and creating exercises to connect people to their higher “creative” selves. For more information about her services read about her ACCESS! program or to schedule a consultation please contact her at Are you ready to vitalize your creative life?

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