The man behind the iconic smiley face logo, which is worth millions, was paid $45 for the original design

The story of the iconic logo “Smiley” with humble origins that is now worth millions

 When Harvey Ross Ball was hired by an insurance company in 1963 to create a morale-boosting icon for its employees, he whipped up a yellow-and-black smiley face with a wide, dimpled grin. He was paid $45 for his 10 minutes of work.

“I made a circle with a smile for a mouth on yellow paper, because it was sunshiny and bright,” the late graphic designer from Worcester, Massachusetts later told the Associated Press.

The company slapped the simple design on posters and buttons for employees, and it was an instant hit — but it didn’t just stay within the office.

Neither Ball, nor the insurance company, trademarked the logo — it was a French journalist named Franklin Loufrani who first registered the mark, dubbed it “Smiley,” and formed a business around it by licensing it to companies like Levi’s and Mars candy. 

Today, The Smiley Company is run by Loufrani’s son, Nicolas, and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue a year by charging brands like Zara and Fendi a fee to put the recognizable grin on apparel and other merchandise.

Ball, on the other hand, only collected his payment of $45, which is worth about $375 in today’s dollars.

 Read the full article at CNBC Makeit