This is a very small project I completed several wks ago. I ordered this Keep Calm and Carry On poster a few months ago. Yes, I read design blogs. And yes, this poster has been featured on many a one. I, along with everyone else, turned out to be a sucker for its simple and effective message (addressed in the article below). I first saw it in one of the last domino issues. Interesting article on its recent resurgence into popular culture/phenomenon here (or below):
‘Keep calm and carry on:’ The greatest motivational poster ever?
British wartime poster is red-hot
By Colleen Mastony
March 21, 2009
A British World War II propaganda poster discovered a decade ago at the bottom of a box has become the latest craze among shoppers scrambling to buy anything and everything emblazoned with the poster’s wartime motto: “Keep Calm and Carry On.”
Printed on a bright red background and topped by the crown of King George VI, the posters have sprung up everywhere lately, from an art show in New York City to Buckingham Palace and now in shops around Chicago. T-shirts, mugs, aprons, rugs and key chains are all selling briskly. Even soccer star David Beckham reportedly has the T-shirt.
“At the end of the day, whatever may happen, all you can do is keep calm and carry on. You can’t panic,” said Mark Coop, 34, of Surrey, England, who runs the Web site keepcalmandcarryon.com. “It appeals to everyone from young mums with screaming babies to people in the big financial institutions who are going up the walls.”
Commissioned by the British Ministry of Information in 1939, the original poster was meant to be distributed in the case of a catastrophic event, such as a German invasion. That invasion, of course, never happened. The 2.5 million copies of the posters were never distributed, never seen by the public and were eventually pulped.
The inspirational message was lost to history until nine years ago, when Stuart Manley, a seller of used books in Northumberland, England, found a folded paper at the bottom of a box of books. He pulled out the paper and, to his surprise, discovered the vintage poster. It is believed to be one of only two in existence. The other belongs to the Imperial War Museum.
Manley framed the poster and hung it in his bookshop. After scores of people asked to buy it, Manley decided to have a few copies printed. Since then, he and his wife, Mary, have sold 40,000 reproductions (to buy one, go to: barterbooks.co.uk/catalog). That doesn’t include thousands more peddled by entrepreneurs capitalizing on the Manleys’ find.
“What I love, right along with everyone else, is how that poster itself would be, against all odds, a survivor of war,” Mary Manley wrote in her blog this month. “Its message—so simple, so clean, so without spin — has turned out to have meaning not just for a single people in a time of trouble, but for all of us, wherever we live, whatever our troubles.”
Anyway, so I joined in the trend and bought this poster on etsy here, finding this to be the most reasonable price for one. The size seemed kind of wonky, so I didn't know what I would do about framing and matting it on the cheap. I ended up buying a standard 16"x20" black poster frame at Target for $9.99 or somesuch. The wall in my kitchen where I wanted to hang this, close to the dining room table, did not really have any black on it. So I spray-painted (shocker) the frame grey. Then, at my crafts-savvy mother-in-law's suggestion, purchased some fabric (from Jo-Ann of course) for the background. You can't really see it in this picture, but it's a cream-colored fabric with very faint monochromatic floral pattern on it. I think the colors work nicely, no? Again, apologies for the crummy pictures. I sound like a broken record.