One of the most iconic images to come out of World War 2 propaganda is the bright red poster, simply stating ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ – now, i’m not a fan of the overuse and exploitation of the image by every bloody high street home-wares store, plastering it on tacky mugs and pillows galore for the style deprived masses to swallow. But I do love a good font and clean design, not to mention a little bit of harmless nostalgia.
With a bold coloured background, the poster was commissioned as 1/3 of a 3 part series intended to boost morale during war times. They were required to be similar in style and feature the crown of King George VI along with a simple effective font. The first two posters, ‘Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution will Bring Us Victory’ and ‘Freedom is in Peril’ were produced for use during the war and we’re hung in train stations and shop windows. “Keep Calm and Carry On’ was commissioned to be used only if Britain was invaded by Germany – so never saw full scale distribution.
Below is a short film produced by Barter Books, where the first printed and distributed ‘Keep Calm’ poster was found in 2000 – almost 60 years after it was originally produced.