Origins of the Happy Human Symbol

February 1996

I found this article while surfing on the world wide web one night. It is from a home page maintained by the Victorian Humanist Association in Melbourne, Australia.

Members have often asked: "Where did the Humanist icon--The Happy Human--come from?"

The story began thirty years ago in the London office of the British Humanist Association, (BHA). In 1965 Tom Vernon, then the Press and Public Relations officer of the BHA, proposed that a competition be held to find a symbol, logo or icon for the Humanist Movement.

During the following months entries flowed in and opinions were canvassed. "What do you think of that?" The uniform reply was, "Not much." More than 150 drawings were submitted from around the world including Australia, Mexico and one from a Canadian firm of undertakers! They varied in size from one square inch to one 20 by 15 inches. The file of rejects continued to grow. Until one morning arrived what became to be known as the Happy Human symbol.

The effect was electric, the common reaction of most who saw it for the first time. The artist was Dennis Barington of North London. News of the competition results was reported in the June 1965 issue of Humanist News.

Today, wherever humanism is to be found in the world, the Happy Human is to be found. It has become the link that identifies the Internationalism of the Humanist Movement and highlights the humanist teaching: "There is but one life that we know of and we should influence that life by being happy, and the best way to do that is by making others so!"

--Wayne Wilson

Happy Human in Utah

Happy Human in Utah