Smiling Sun History
Article published on 9 March 2012
zuletzt geändert am 10 March 2012
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In April 1975 the “Smiling Sun” logo was designed by Anne Lund in dialog with fellow activist Søren Lisberg, then 21-year-old activists within the OOA (Organisationen til Oplysning om Atomkraft = Organisation for Information on Nuclear Power). The Logo features a smiling sun surrounded by the wording NUCLEAR POWER? NO THANKS, or the similar message in any other language, in colours yellow, red and black. The intention behind the design was, as Anne Lund put it, to create a friendly and open-minded logo, expressing a polite but firm “no thanks” in response to the question raised. It is a logo calling for communication by dialogue.

The first public appearance of the Smiling Sun badge was during the 1st of May festival 1975 in Århus, Denmark’s second largest town. The logo immediately turned out to become extraordinarily popular. Anti-nuclear groups from other countries soon asked for Smiling Suns, displaying the message in their respective languages.

Within a few years the logo was translated from Danish into some 40 other national and regional languages and it rapidly became the most common worldwide symbol in the anti-nuclear power movement. It still is. The Chernobyl nuclear melt down in 1986 caused a massive set back for the nuclear industry worldwide. For many years the antinuclear campaign went into low gear. However the nuclear industry promoted a come back for nuclear power along with the growing issue of climate change, which caused the antinuclear campaign to gain momentum as well. From 2007 new language versions of the Smiling Sun were requested. The 2011 Fukushima catastrophe in Japan gave a remarkable push for additional language versions of the Smiling Sun. The number of variations has now passed 50.

From 1976 onwards the OOA organised large print runs comprising various language versions, thus keeping production and wholesale prices for campaign groups very low. This way the Smiling Sun became an important and decentralised fundraising tool, when sold as badges, stickers, T-shirts, etc. Distribution and production agreements were made with campaign groups in most Western European Countries and in the USA, Canada, Australia and Japan as well. In 1978 revenues from sales of the Smiling Sun were used to initiate, and for about 10 years partly to finance the work of WISE (World Information Service on Energy), based in Amsterdam, with relays in many countries.

In the years1975-1985 the OOA has produced some 36 million Smiling Sun items for sale, not to mention the incalculable numbers of Smiling Suns that have appeared on banners, in leaflets, magazines, newspapers, media programmes, websites, etc. From 1978 some foreign groups began producing Smiling Suns on their own. The OOA did not manage to keep track on such uncoordinated Smiling Sun activities and has accordingly no record on volume of such production.

In 2003 the Danish National Museum included the Smiling Sun in the collections of the museum. An original drawing of the Smiling Sun Logo and a collection of badges and other products are now on display at the museum. Also major museums and institutes in Berlin, Amsterdam and London have included the Smiling Suns to their collections. A Basque group of mountaineers placed a flag with a Basque version of the Smiling Sun on top of Mt. Everest. In Århus an 8 metre high mural of the Smiling Sun is still kept in good shape, right around the corner from the flat where the Smiling Sun was first drawn in 1975. The Smiling Sun saw its entry in Wikipedia in 2010.

In 1977 the OOA registered the logo as a trademark in Denmark and a number of other countries. By December 2004 the Logo was registered as a Trademark within the countries of the European Community. Registration in the US and Switzerland followed in 2008.The trademark protection serves the purpose of securing the integrity and independence of the logo by reserving its use and profit from sales to the anti-nuclear power movement worldwide and enabling action to be taken against abuse and alteration of the logo by commercial interests, as well as against counter use by pro-nuclear power campaigns and against political parties attempting to take possession of the Smiling Sun.

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