You see it here and there. On interesting blogs. On trend and design sites. At people’s desks around the office. I just never knew it had such a colourful origin.
And neither did the the BBC, as it appeared on their “100 things I didn’t know” list last year.
Keep Calm and Carry On was a propaganda poster printed by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of World War II. It was intended to be used in a “last case scenario” to stiffen resolve should the Nazis succeed in invading Britain.
No less than two and a half million copies of the motivational poster from World War II was printed. But it never went public.
The message, the epitome of British restraint and resolve, was left in storage and all but forgotten. It was discovered in 2000 in Barter Books, a second-hand bookshop in Almwick, England, and reproduced as a poster.
Sales were modest until it was featured as a Christmas gift idea in a national newspaper supplement in 2005, and then as Stuart Manley, the bookseller who discovered the poster, puts it: “All hell broke loose.”
The message has since been embraced by millions, appearing on tee shirts and souvenirs.
Financial firms have even been snapping up copies and placing large orders for reprints during the recent economic meltdown.
As with all good messages on the Internet, countless parodies have popped up. The Keep Calm and Now Panic in red and blue are on the wall next to my desk. They remind me of my different co-workers.
The creator of the original poster is not known. (Though many of the inspired lot can be seen below or found here.)
Tags: keep calm