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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Smiley face rakes in big bucks for creator

Frenchman Franklin Loufrani created the 'smiley face' logo over 45 years ago, which has gone on to spawn a multimillion dollar merchandise business 

Frenchman Franklin Loufrani created the 'smiley face' logo over 45 years ago.
Frenchman Franklin Loufrani created the 'smiley face' logo over 45 years ago.

It's the multimillion dollar smile known and used the world over.

Frenchman Franklin Loufrani created the 'smiley face' logo over 45 years ago, which has gone on to spawn a multimillion dollar merchandise business and now a Hollywood film, starring award-winning actors, Patrick Stewart and Maya Rudolph.

The movie, which is released in UK cinemas on Friday, imagines a world inside cell phones where emojis rebel against portraying just one emotion all their lives.

Loufrani's son Nicolas helped expand the smiley face logo, originally created to go next to positive news in a French newspaper, to include a whole group of expressive facial expressions used on smart phones around the world.

"I realised that they could become a language on their own or a way to communicate," Nicolas told Reuters.

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"A language of pictographs that can be recognised by anyone, anywhere in the world without anyone having to learn it and be used for digital communication."

Loufrani runs Smileyworld Ltd., a company that sells stuffed toys, key rings, mugs, handbags and many other products based on smiley faces or 'emoji'.

It generates a $265 million turnover at retail, Loufrani said, with over 23 million spin-off products sold year round.

* Reuters