The “Keep calm and…” trend is going strong everywhere. We see T-shirt and bags on the street with “Keep calm…” messages, mugs and notebooks in stores and the internet is full of similar memes. Even the Zombie apocalypse,not to mention various shows and books have their fair share of such messages, . But, where did the initial “Keep calm and carry on” message come from?
“Keep calm and carry on” was, originally, a motivational posted made by the British government in 1939, several months after the start of the Second World War. These posters were meant to boost the morale of the population in the testing times that were ahead of them. The motivational posters were supposed to be plastered all across the British Isles, for everyone to see and take comfort from them.
The posters had to use a bold, colorful background. The font had to be simple and effective. Moreover, they had to feature the symbolic crown of King George VI. Faced with this challenge, His Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) created two models: ‘Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Us Victory’ and ‘Freedom is in Peril’. These posters were placed in public transport, on shop windows and upon notice boards across the United Kingdom. A third poster was made soon after. Its motto was ‘Keep calm and carry on.’ However, this poster was never officially seen by the public during those times.
At the end of the war in 1945 most of the ‘Keep calm and carry on’ posters were destroyed. However, some survived. Almost sixty years later, a bookseller from Barter Books came across a dusty poster among a pile of books bought from an auction. Others can still be found at the National Archives and the Imperial War Museum in London.
The recent popularity of these posters is owed to the above mentioned bookseller. Stuart Manley and his wife Mary framed the poster they had found among the books and hung it in their bookstore. The poster attracted so much interest that the two started producing and selling copies. Other companies followed and the design became known world wide.
Did you know that despite the “Keep calm and carry on” motto’s new found popularity, the campaign during the Second World War was in fact a relative failure?
Source: keepcalmandcarryone.com; Images: wikipedia
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