Thursday, October 29, 2009

Keep Calm and Carry On

At the onset of World War II, with fears of German invasions on the horizon, a series of three morale boosting posters were printed by the offices of the Ministry of Information in 1939. The first "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory" (800,000 copies printed) and the second, "Freedom is in Peril" (400,000 printed) were issued and hung in prominent places across the country. Two and a half million of the Keep Calm and Carry On posters were printed, but were never distributed. They were held back to be released in a time of crisis or invasion. The bold typeface and the crown of King George VI were designated to draw attention to the message and to give reassurance. Fifty years later, a copy of the Keep Calm poster was found in a dusty box sold in auction and the public got their first view of the poster. Since the Crown copyright expires on artistic works after 50 years, the slogan is now in public domain and has been reproduced in many ways.

Today it seems to be a slogan for a new generation and can be found at every turn as you look around the country. Holly found this tea towel at Selfridges.

You could put your feet up a spell and meditate on calm thoughts.

You'll see it on books like these I saw at the V&A museum

and on coffee mugs, or would that be for tea? I think a cup of tea would have a more calming effect than a cup of coffee.

How about on your bag?

Of course, any good slogan has room for improvement as seen on this bag which spoke to me.

And on the flip side, you can also buy the mugs saying "Now Panic and Freak Out" with an inverted crown on the top. Which one would you prefer?

If you choose to see a big selection of Keep Calm and Carry On products, such as these note cards, you might shop at the Keep Calm Gallery.

Or how about these lunch bags at this Etsy shop?

Or my personal favorite Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake poster at Jenny's Bake Shop. I ask you, what could be any more calming than that?


  1. Fascinating history and a good slogan for us all in both good times and bad.

  2. Great post and fabulous slogan!

  3. Thanks Cathi! I appreciate you stopping by.

  4. I love, love, love the posters and stuff with that saying. I saw it last year for the first time, at The Beautiful Life online store. I had no idea they sold that saying on so many other things. How cool.

    I can't believe our matching Halloween villages. My husband got a kick out of that! Now even he thinks we are destined to meet!

    Check out my blog when you have time. I left a surprise for you there!

    :) Teri

  5. That first shop looks fantastic!! Wow. I have seen this poster in many different reproductions as well. It is very popular "across the pond" too. Kelly

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  8. Just what I needed! Finally an explanation as to where this ubiquitous phrase originated! I have been wondering...I just love all the clever variations, too!