Stay positive. 50 years of Smiley.

A new animated short from The Smiley Company aims to show why optimism is the way we manifest a better future in 2021 – and beyond

The yellow smiling face’s iconography is a symbol of interest for both popular culture and the subversive underground. An image of positivity and resistance that has endured economic, political, and social unrest across five turbulent decades.

From the hippie opposition to the Vietnam war to the most recent revolts for climate action worldwide, the Smiley is an expression of hope, resistance and comfort across the last 50 years. Its birth is connected to a Franklin Loufrani design that appeared first in the 1972 edition of French newspaper France Soir, as a symbol of good news and became a universal language of emojis that captured our emotions in an age of new digital connectivity.

The Smiley Company has recently released an animated short film written and co-directed by filmmaker and journalist Liam Aldoustracing on the eternal life of this symbol and its positive and emotive presence in moments of historical doom as war, failing government, global pandemic, or otherwise. Smiley’s technicolour history is a roadmap through our turbulent times, and a reminder that our collective, radical positivity has power.
The film precedes The Smiley Company’s 50th anniversary in 2022, with plans in motion to launch 50 collaborations with brands and artists.

In a prolonged period of uncertainty, these three minutes remind watchers that there’s always a way out to the world’s worst-case scenarios.