Okay, so I know that it is a good thing to keep the blog posts in a positive vein (and most, if not all other design bloggers do this), but I just can’t help myself. Enough is enough… if I see another Keep Calm, Carry On “product” I might just hurl. There is something to be said for quirky trends, but this one has gotten COMPLETELY out of control.
If you are not a crazy design blog/magazine reading freak like I am, you may not even know that this is even a trend at all… but words from the wise… it’s played out. Don’t get sucked in, no matter how cute you think the message is.
During WWII the Brits were getting hit hard by the Germans and lots of folks were naturally scared and nervous about getting bombed and all that. So in 1939 the British Ministry of Information produced a propaganda poster that looked like this:
The intent was for the poster to be distributed if the Germans succeeded in invading Britain – fortunately for the Brits and history, that never happened. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Information had already printed two and half million of these cheeky little posters and some (very few) were distributed after the fact. They were meant to be motivational and to strengthen resolve during a very difficult time in British history.
Sidenote: The poster was third in a series of three. The first one said “Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory” – oh, those Brits! The second one said “Freedom is in Peril”… I’m surprised G.W. B. didn’t adopt this one to drum up more support for the wars in Iraq and Afganistan (I mean… he could of used some more propaganda, ya know?) I digress…
The real story starts in 2000 when a copy of the original poster was found in a second-hand bookstore in Alnwick, Northumberland, UK. Because it had been longer than 50 years (the statutory copyright period for artistic works created by the UK government) the shop owners re-printed copies of the poster at customer’s requests as did hundreds of others when the image and message resurfaced. And thus began the wild-fire trend storm that is “Keep Calm and Carry On” message.
There was a time when I really loved this poster – I saw a photo of a room in Domino Magazine with the poster hanging in the background.
Granted, this wasn’t the first time “KCCO” has appeared in Domino… and even at the time of this issue (the final one … March 2009) it was a little too trendy. Yet, I bookmarked it and the designer’s page on Etsy (blogger and designer sfgirlbybay). She’s got the poster in every color.
But then… slowly the KCCO phenomenon took hold and soon the message was everywhere:
These are available through my beloved Paper-Source of all places… depressing.
Like I really want a rug with KCCO emblazoned on it… messages were not meant for rugs.
And then came the “play on words” versions… like these:
Now there is a central place where you can find your KCCO wares…. Keep Calm Carry On the store. Mugs! T-shirts! Tote bags! Cufflinks! Deck Chairs! Chocolate Bars!
It’s all just too much…. that it is definitely making me not calm and not wanting to carry on.
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