Keep Calm and Carry On
Keep Calm and Carry On was a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the aftermath of widely predicted mass air attacks on major cities. It had only limited distribution with no public display, and thus was little known. The poster was rediscovered in 2000, has been re-issued by a number of private companies, and has been used as the decorative theme for a range of products. It was believed there were only two known surviving examples of the poster outside government archives until a collection of 15 originals was brought in to the Antiques Roadshow in 2012 by the daughter of an ex-Royal Observer Corps member.
The poster was initially produced by the Ministry of Information, at the beginning of the Second World War. It was intended to be distributed in order to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster, such as mass bombing of major cities using high explosives and poison gas, which was widely expected within hours of an outbreak of war. Over 2,500,000 copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers, and never saw public display.
The poster was third in a series of three. The previous two posters from the series, "Freedom Is In Peril. Defend It With All Your Might" and "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory" were issued and used across Britain for motivational purposes, as the Ministry of Information assumed that the events of the first weeks of the war would demoralise the population. Planning for the posters started in April 1939; by June designs were prepared, and by August 1939, production had begun, and the posters were ready to be placed up within 24 hours of the outbreak of war. The posters were designed to be a design associated with the Ministry of Information, and to have a unique and recognisable lettering, with a message from the King to his people. An icon of a "Tudor" crown (a widely used symbol of government authority) was chosen to head the poster, rather than a photograph. The slogans were created by civil servants, with a career civil servant named Waterfield coming up with "Your Courage" as "a rallying war-cry that will bring out the best in everyone of us and put us in an offensive mood at once". These particular posters were designed as "a statement of the duty of the individual citizen", un-pictorial, to be accompanied by more colloquial designs. The "Your Courage" poster was much more famous during the war, as it was the first of the Ministry of Information's posters.
In 2000, book shop owner Stuart Manley was sorting through a box of used books bought at auction when he uncovered one of the original Keep Calm and Carry On posters. "What seemed to the Manleys as just a bit of quintessential British nostalgia has morphed into an international industry."
Trademark claims 
In August 2011, it was reported a UK-based company called Keep Calm and Carry On Ltd had registered the slogan as a community trade mark in the EU, after failing to trademark the slogan in the United Kingdom. They issued a take-down request against a seller of Keep Calm and Carry On products. Questions have been raised as to whether the registration could be challenged, as the slogan had been widely used before registration and is not recognisable as indicating trade origin. An application has been submitted by British intellectual property advisor and UK trademarking service Trade Mark Direct, to cancel the trademark on the grounds that the words are too widely used for one person to own the exclusive rights. The company is now trying to trademark the slogan in both the United States and Canada.
In early 2012, Barter Books Ltd, debuted an informational short "The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On." The video provided visual insight to the modernization of the phrase as well as details surrounding the commercialization.
As the popularity of the poster in various media has grown, innumerable parodies, imitations and co-optations have also appeared, making it a notable meme. Messages range from the cute to the overtly political, typically with references to other aspects of popular culture ranging from the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton to the Mario videogames. Examples have included "Now Panic and Freak Out" (with an upside-down crown), "Get Excited and Make Things" (with a crown incorporating spanners), "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake" (with a cupcake icon), "Don’t Panic and Fake a British Accent", and "Keep Spending and Carry On Shopping", In March–April 2012 the British pop-rock band McFly undertook a theatre tour entitled "The Keep Calm and Play Louder Tour", promoted with a poster closely based on that of 1939. In late 2012 and early 2013, the "Save Lewisham Hospital" campaign (a protest against proposed cuts in services at University Hospital Lewisham) made widespread use of a poster with the slogan "Don't Keep Calm Get Angry and Save Lewisham A&E".
See also 
- British propaganda during World War II
- Don't Panic (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)
- We Can Do It!, an American World War II poster that was also rediscovered years later
The meme as merchandise in British Columbia
A parody featuring the similarly iconic bowler hat
A satire of the 2008 policing pledge initiative in the U.K.
- "Keep Calm and Carry On Poster". IWM Shop. Imperial War Museum. 2011. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- Lewis, Rebecca, Ph. D. (5 April 2009). "1939: The Three Posters (PhD Extract)". Keep Calm and Carry On and other Second World War Posters: British Home Front Propaganda Posters of the Second World War.
- "One of only two surviving posters in the public domain". WarTimePosters.co.uk. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- Slack, Chris. "Keep Calm and Carry On... to the bank: Original wartime poster shows up on Antiques Roadshow". Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 13 May 2012.
- Hughes, Stuart (4 February 2009). "The Greatest Motivational Poster Ever?". BBC News.
- Rees, Nigel (20 July 2011). "Cheer up, the worst is yet to come". Today programme (BBC Radio 4).
- "About Keep Calm and Carry On".
- "Keep Calm and carry on ... into a feud". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 May 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- Keep Calm and Carry On Ltd
- Bustillos, Maria (5 October 2011). "The Vicious Trademark Battle Over 'Keep Calm and Carry On'". The Awl.
- Phillips, Jeremy (22 August 2011). "Monday miscellany". IPKitten blog.
- Rayner, Gordon (24 September 2011). "Battle rages over 'Keep Calm and Carry On' souvenirs". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- "Keep calm and carry on items removed from my ebay account". justanswer.com. August 2011.
- "IP group aims to reclaim 'Keep Calm & Carry On'". freelanceuk.com.
- "Serial Number: 85297485 Keep Calm and Carry On USA Trademark". Official Gazette. USPTO. 20 September 2011.
- "Canadian Trade-mark Data". IC.GC.CA. 13 October 2011.
- "The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On" on YouTube
- Walker, Rob (5 July 2009). "Remixed Messages". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2012.
- Little, Mandy (21 December 2012). "Protestors show unity". South London Press (London). Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- "Save Lewisham Hospital!". Save Lewisham Hospital campaign. 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Keep calm and carry on|
- Photographs displaying examples of the poster's popularity, as printed in The Guardian
- Serenity now : World War II-era Keep Calm and Carry On posters, currently enjoying a comeback? , as printed in The Globe and Mail March 2009
- Photo of the original poster on the Barter Books website
- First person: 'I am the Keep Calm and Carry On man'
- Dr Bex Lewis, Original history of the poster, and blog tracing its 21st Century renaissance
- Video explaining the basic history of the poster