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The story of Keep Calm and Carry On

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In the spring of 1939 during the build-up to war with Germany the British government commissioned a series of propaganda posters. These posters were intended to offer the public reassurance in the dark days that lay ahead. They were required to be uniform in style and would feature a special and handsome typeface making them difficult for the enemy to counterfeit. They used the crown of King George VI as the only graphic device and had just two colors. Of the three final designs that went into production, the first poster carried the slogan "YOUR COURAGE-YOUR CHEERFULNESS-YOUR RESOLUTION WILL BRING US VICTORY",

the second poster had the words, "FREEDOM IS IN PERIL - DEFEND IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT". But the third design, of which over two and a half million posters were printed simply read, "KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON". The first two designs were distributed in September of 1939 and appeared up and down the country in shop windows and railway platforms but the Keep Calm posters were held in reserve intended for use only in times of crisis or invasion. In the end the poster was never officially issued and it remained unseen by the public until a copy turned up more than 50 years later. It was found in a second hand book shop called Barter books in the north east corner of England. Barter books was begun in 1991 by a couple, Stuart and Mary Manley. The building used to be an old Victorian railway station. Huge rows of stacked shelves now stand in the place where the tracks would have been but the station's old tea rooms and waiting rooms are still there. It was in 2000 that Stuart found the poster in a box of dusty old books that had been bought at auction. Mary liked it so much she had it framed and put up near the shop till and it proved so popular with the customers that a year later they began to sell copies. Since that time the poster has been reproduced, parodied, and trivialized and has become a truly iconic image of the 21st century. It is hard to say exactly why such a phrase from a by-gone decade would have so much appeal and resonance now. Its design is considered simple and timeless and now commonly recognizable However it is perhaps the words on the poster that people find most enchanting. Like a voice out of history it offers a very simple warm-hearted message to inspire confidence in others during difficult times. And it's something that should never fade from fashion.

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 1,075
Posted by: totleigh on Feb 28, 2013!

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