Smiley face

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Friendly smiley, as an emoticon :) Winking smiley, as an emoticon;) Surprised smiley, as an emoticon: O
Sullen smiley, as an emoticon: / Sad smiley, as an emoticon :( Crying smiley, as an emoticon: '(
Grinning smiley, as an emoticon: D Devilishly grinning smiley, as an emoticon>: D Cheeky smiley, as an emoticon: P
Innocent (angel) smiley, as emoticon O :) Embarrassed smiley Kissing smiley, as an emoticon: *
Frequently used smileys, here in an implementation of the Tango Desktop Project (touch with the mouse for a description)

A smiley [ ˈsmaɪ̯liː ] (from English to smile 'smile' ; plural smileys ) is the graphic representation of a facial expression . A smiley face is often used to convey or clarify a specific emotion. Smileys are among the emojis or emoticons .


Signature of Bernard Hennet, abbot of the Cistercian monastery Žďár from 1741 with a smiley-like drawing
Smileys in the circular sheet for the Malmedy district, 1893
Smiley on the superstructure of the Mosel tender

As early as the 19th century, there were typographic games with faces in newspaper printing. In 1938 Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote that simple facial expressions could be used to describe more flexible and varied descriptions than just adjectives . A noseless variant of the smiley, drawn by the American commercial artist Harvey Ball , became popular in the 1960s. In December 1963 he drew two points and a curved line in a circle on a piece of yellow paper. Ball's client was State Mutual Life Assurance Cos. of America , who wanted to raise the working atmosphere with the pins . Ball received $ 45 for the design. The sign was not legally secured, but quickly found greater popularity.

At the end of the 1980s, the acid house music movement made the smiley a distinguishing mark. During the “ Second Summer of Love ”, the intoxicant ecstasy also became popular and caused hysteria, especially in the European media, whereupon many department stores removed all smiley items from their range for fear of damage to their image.

The graffiti sprayer Walter Josef Fischer, who became known as Oz , sprayed tens of thousands of smileys in Hamburg's streets from 1992 onwards. He describes his motivation as "wanting to make people smile."

In 1996, the French journalist Franklin Loufrani registered a design for the stylized smile in France , which, with its oval eyes and the proportions that have changed compared to Ball's design, comes closest to the current variants. According to his presentation, he invented the graphic to loosen up a newspaper article. Loufrani is now an income millionaire and holds usage rights for the smiley in over 80 countries. Harvey Ball then fought for his recognition as the true father of the smiley face and founded the World Smile Foundation , which aims to propagate the original spirit of the smiley face. He died on April 12, 2001.

In 2005 Microsoft wanted to protect the conversion of ASCII characters into smileys, but it did not succeed.

In 2010, the German consumer protection ministers proposed using smileys to illustrate a “ hygiene traffic light ”.

On the German naval ship Mosel there is a large smiley on the superstructure.

Electronic form

emoticon constructed from punctuation marks results in a smiley face

The original form of the electronic smiley consists of ASCII characters and can thus be used in all message forms, regardless of support for graphic formats. The basic forms :-)for positive feelings and jokes and :-(for negative feelings were proposed on September 19, 1982 by the later computer science professor Scott E. Fahlman , who is considered to be the inventor of electronic smileys. These graphics suggest faces tilted to the left that look happy or sad.

In Unicode there have been three characters with the representation of a stylized frowning or smiling face for a long time:

code decimal character Surname
U + 2639 & # 9785; WHITE FROWNING FACE
U + 263A & # 9786; WHITE SMILING FACE
U + 263B & # 9787; BLACK SMILING FACE

In 2011, more emoticons were introduced in Unicode 6.0, which are coded in the Unicode block Smileys from U + 1F600 to U + 1F64F:

?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??????????????????????????????

Web links

Commons : Smiley  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Smiley  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Circular sheet for the Malmedy district. (PDF) September 2, 1893, accessed January 7, 2017 .
  2. Olivia Goldhill: Ludwig Wittgenstein was one of the great 20th-century philosophers. He also invented the emoji , , April 28, 2018, accessed May 1. 2018
  3. Ludwig Wittgenstein : Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religion , p. 23, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1968, translation from English, accessed on May 1, 2018
  4. Danny Kringiel: Millions for a Smile . Mirror online. April 11, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011: "The smiley made many people rich - just not its creator"
  5. A design for life of February 21, 2009 (English).
  6. Bruno Schrep: As if it were dirt . In: Der Spiegel 48/1999.
  7. Annika Stenzel, Kai von Appen: Spraying against commerce. STRASSENBILD The sprayer Walter Fischer alias "Oz" is back on trial in Hamburg. He is charged with property damage, for him the tags and colorful pictures are a form of urban design. In: TAZ (the daily newspaper) Nord , July 15, 2011, page 23; Quote: “Is that why he prefers to express himself with smileys instead of words? Fischer says he wants to make people smile. 'If there is a smiley on the corner, even the police are happy or annoyed, there is one again.' Children in particular would be happy about the smiling faces, which is why he sprayed one on a gray school wall. "( , accessed on January 11, 2014.)
  8. Millions for a smile . Mirror online. See text for Fig. 19 / April 22, 2011. Accessed October 22, 2011.
  9. ^ Claudia Fuchs: Criticism of the smiley as a hygiene seal. In: Berliner Zeitung , October 12, 2010.
  10. Unicode 6.0 Standard: Emoticons (PDF, English; 129 kB)