I think it is rather curious how a phrase gathers momentum and becomes popular. One of these sayings is, “Keep Calm Carry On”. It would not be surprising to hear this from a chap in England, but how does this line, “carry on” across the country and become a critical mass? The original origin of “Keep Calm and Carry On” was the third British propaganda poster commissioned by the British Government in 1939 during World War Two, the first two designs looked like this:
The Original British Government Posters
They used the crown of King George IV as the only graphic device and only two colors. The final designs were to be uniform in style and used a Special & Handsome typeface making it difficult for the enemy to conterfit. The third poster was never officially used, “Keep Calm and Carry On”, was held in reserve and only to be used in crisis or invasion, and remained unseen by the public .
The poster was discovered 50 years later in a second hand bookstore called Barter Books Ltd, in Northumberland, England. Opened in 1991 by Mary and Stuart Madley. The bookstore was originally an old Victorian railway station. It was in the year 2000, that Stuart found the poster in a pair of dusty old books sold at auction. Mary liked it so much she had it framed and sold copies in their store.
“The design has become simple and timeless and commonly recognizable. Like a voice out of history, it inspires confidence in others during difficult times.”
This post is dedicated to my father, John Tomson, who served in the Royal Air Corp as a pilot during World War I and II, in London England.