Keep Calm And Carry On

Thanks to Barter Books!

“Keep Calm and Carry On,” as many of you may know, started life as a British WWII propaganda poster. What you might not know is that it was never used during the war, and only entered the public sphere half a century after the war had ended.

In the last few years, it has been viewed by countless individuals, and has taken on a fame unknown to most works of art, let alone to pieces of design that some people would be hard pressed to call art. Rosie the Riveter is the subject of another iconic propaganda poster, albeit from the west of the Atlantic. She held a similar renewed fame and freshness in the Girl Power moment of the 90s, and was an instantly recognizable icon both before and after that time. Where Rosie inspired us to respect women in eras during which respect for women was hard to find, perhaps Keep Calm inspires us to remember to maintain our composure in what has become a decade of global turmoil. Whether it’s environmental crisis, human-on-human violence, or the fact that we can’t decide what to write in our honors theses, there are plenty of good reasons to veer away from keeping calm. But we keep calm and carry on anyway.

Regardless of the origins of its fame or the myriad ways in which it may affect our collective psyche, the poster remains a classic example of how great design can inspire and impress, even from decades away. And that’s something we’re always happy of which to have a reminder.

Blog post contributed by BH