It feels like these posters are everywhere lately – coffee mugs, bumper stickers, and they’ve all but taken over Pinterest. It got me wondering where and how it originated.
It turns out that “Keep Calm and Carry On” was a slogan created to spur people to continue living in spite of Nazi Germany’s bombing raids; a propaganda piece produced in the late 1930’s but was never seen by the public until 2000. Owners of a Northeast British book store discovered the old print in a box bought from auction.
After hanging the print up on the shop floor, customers wanted to have a copy of their own, and the phrase’s popularity took off.
In the aftermath of Kony 2012, “Keep Calm and Catch Kony“ popped up around the internet. The subject matter of these posters has proved to be interchangeable and are consistently catchy. Like Weird Al songs, sometimes the spoof is better than the original.
Have an idea for one that you haven’t seen yet? Check out The Keep Calm-O-Matic. Everyone’s a designer.
Below is a video that goes deeper into the story of the iconic poster and phrase.