Positive Reinforcement: This New Book Celebrates the Smiley—Prolific Collaborator and Giver of Happiness - Arts & Culture

Put together by Liam Aldous and Assouline, it compiles the most exciting collaborations with the ideogram.

While the ideogram of a smiling face or smiley has been around since the 1950s, it was only the 1970s that it was used in a global campaign.

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What started as a happiness promotion in the France Soir newspaper to draw attention to positive news stories has blossomed into a movement that has shaped the way that we share happiness and express ourselves.

MA®KET x Smiley rug, 2018; Mike Tyson comes out fighting in a limited-edition collaboration with MA®KET x Mike Tyson x Smiley, 2020 / Photo courtesy of MA®KET, Assouline

In the decades since that first Smiley appeared on the page, the brand has gone on to shape musical generations, social movements, and popular culture.

With a feel-good philosophy at their core, Smiley has partnered with some of the world’s leading brands to bring their message to life through clothing, gifts, campaigns, emoticons and other happy moments.

Smiley founder and chairman Franklin Loufrani and his son, Nicolas the CEO of Smiley, 2021 / Photo by Florence Moncenis, courtesy of Assouline

In celebration of this joyful milestone, Smiley presents an exciting look back on their first 50 years with their new book, Smiley: 50 Years of Good News, featuring a compendium of their most exciting collaborations, a look back at moments in history that gave us a reason to smile, and more.

Franklin Loufrani is the president and founder of The Smiley Company. He has spent over five decades working in journalism and senior positions within the licensing industry. It was in 1971 that Franklin Loufrani became the first person to trademark the Smiley face.

Ellesse x Smiley capsule collection, 2021 / Photo by Fraser Thorne, courtesy of Assouline

On January 1, 1972, French newspaper France Soir printed Loufrani’s ‘good news’ campaign. He used the now-iconic Smiley to highlight feel-good news in a host of Europe’s leading newspapers. He called the design “Smiley” and launched The Smiley Company, a licensing company that became dedicated to spreading good news and happiness and positivity.

Nicolas Loufrani, Franklin Loufrani’s son, joined The Smiley Company in 1997 as the vice president of marketing, and has been the CEO since 2001. Prior to working in the family business, Nicolas had an impressive career in the high fashion working with Saville Row tailor, Ozwald Boateng.

From left: Jeremy Scott’s spring/ summer 2015 collection for Moschino at Milan Fashion Week, 2014 / Photo by SGP Stefano Guindani Photo, courtesy of Assouline; MA®KET chief executive Mike Cherman and his team celebrate their partnership with Smiley / Photo courtesy of MA®KET, Assouline

His knowledge on trends, cutting-edge design and the fast-evolving world of technology helped revolutionize The Smiley Brand. As part of many philanthropical initiatives spearheaded by Nicolas over the years, he launched Smiley Movement in 2018, a not-for-profit managed by The Smiley Company.

The book published by Assouline is written by Australian-born Liam Aldous. He is a good news journalist, writer and cultural curator who is based in Ibiza, Spain. Working as Monocle Magazine’s Spain correspondent since 2011, he also collaborates with high-end fashion house Loewe for whom he has written books and directed films.

Graffiti artist André Saraiva creates the Smiley 50th-anniversary artworks in his Paris studio, 2020 / Photo courtesy of André Saraiva, Assouline

For more information, visit Assouline.com.

Banner Photo: Hering x Smiley capsule collection, 2021 / Photo Courtesy of Hering, Assouline

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