Happy Human

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Richard Dawkins speaking at the British Humanist Association annual conference.

The Happy Human is an icon that has been adopted as an international symbol of secular humanism.[1] Created by Dennis Barrington, the figure was the winning design in a competition arranged by Humanists UK (formerly the British Humanist Association) in 1965.[1] Various forms of it are now used across the world by humanist organisations of all sizes including Humanists UK, Humanists International and The American Humanist Association (AHA).[1][2][3]

The trademark is still held by Humanists UK, which freely licenses use of the symbol by bona fide Humanist organisations worldwide.[1]


The Happy Human was created in response to a Humanists UK competition in 1965, after many years of discussion as to what a logo should look like. After some time without progress, radio presenter Margaret Knight backed a popular movement among Humanists UK's membership to commission such a logo, triggering publicity officer Tom Vernon to announce the competition. Of the several hundred designs from a number of countries that were considered, Dennis Barrington's simple design was favoured for its perceived universalism. Within the space of a few years, the logo had emerged as a symbol of Humanism, not just of Humanists UK and was adopted by humanist organisations around the world.[4]

Since the 1990s, humanist groups have taken on looser, more figurative versions of the Happy Human logo, such as the logos used by Humanisterna (Sweden), Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands (Germany), Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (Italy), and the European Humanist Federation. In 2017, the British Humanist Association, which originated the Happy Human, debuted a new, single line-drawing style Happy Human when it renamed as Humanists UK.

The Humanist Emblem of Spirit is an authorized inscription on Government headstones and markers in cemeteries of the National Cemetery Administration of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs[5] and in Arlington National Cemetery.[6]

Variations of the Happy Human symbol[edit]

Organisations using the Happy Human[edit]

Organisations using similar symbols[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "The Happy Human Symbol". BHA. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Happy Human Symbol". IHEU. Archived from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  3. ^ "American Humanist Homepage". Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  4. ^ Whitton, Liam (7 July 2015). "A 'Clash of Symbols': 50 years on from the design that carried Humanism around the world". HumanistLife. British Humanist Association. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  5. ^ https://www.cem.va.gov/hmm/emblems.asp. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Portals/0/Docs/emblems.pdf. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)