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Keep Calm and Carry On - what is all the fuss about?

The history of the "Keep Calm And Carry On" slogan and subsequent trend is an interesting one: "Keep Calm and Carry On" was a poster produced by the Government of the United Kingdom in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War. The "Ministry of Information" (MOI) was appointed by the British Government to design a number of morale-boosting posters that would be displayed across the British Isles during the testing times that lay ahead.

With a bold coloured background, the posters were required to be similar in style and feature the symbolic crown of King George VI along with a simple yet effective font. The first two posters, "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory" and "Freedom Is In Peril" were produced by His Majesty's Stationery Office. These two were posted on shop windows, public transport and notice boards across Britain.

The third and final poster of the set was again very straighforward and to the point - it simply read "Keep Calm And Carry On" - original poster pictured above. The plan in place for this poster was to issue it only upon the invasion of Britain by Germany. As this never happened, the poster was never officially seen by the public, despite over 2 500 000 copies being printed. It is believed that most of the Keep Calm posters were destroyed at the end of the War in 1945. However, nearly 60 years later, a bookseller from Barter Books stumbled across a copy hidden amongst a pile of dusty old books bought at an auction. A small number also remain in the National Archives and the Imperial War Museum in London, and a further 15 were discovered in the BBC's Antiques Roadshow. 

Sadly no record remains of the unknown Civil Servant who originally came up with the simple and quintessential Britishness of the Keep Calm and Carry On message.

Since Crown Copyright expires on artistic works created by the UK Government after 50 years, the image is now in the public domain - and the owners of Barter Books, Stuart and Mary Manley, were thus able to reprint copies at customers' requests, as did others, inside and outside Britain. It has since inspired ranges of stationery, clothing, mugs, doormats, baby clothes, iphone covers, tableware and other merchandise from various vendors - as well as a book of motivational quotations! Many other versions of the original slogan have also been sold - amongst others: Keep Calm and Drink Tea; Keep Calm and Ride On; Keep Calm & Bake Cupcakes; Keep Calm It's Christmas; Now Panic and Freak Out (with an upside-down crown) and one of my personal favourites: I Cannot Keep Calm, I am Italian!

Given it's enormous popularity, Macaroon has also hopped on the "Keep Calm" bandwagon so to speak, and our recent range of "Keep Calm and Make Lists" personalised journals and notepads have been a smash hit! Fully personalised on both the cover and on every inside page, and featuring the iconic Crown, these personalised notebooks (R240) and notepads (R150) make a fun, yet useful gift. We recently designed a pretty pink personalised range for a fabulous corporate client taking guests to the Ballet, using the slogan "Keep Calm and Dance" with a beautiful ballerina as the icon. 

Our set of "Keep Calm And Carry On" gift tags are also a firm favourite, featuring a range of  slogans playing on the original: Keep Calm And Carry On, Save Water Drink Wine, Save Water Drink Champagne, Keep Calm And Carry On Shopping, Keep Calm And Eat Chocolate,  and Keep Calm And Buy Shoes - these fun gift tags are a must-have in your pressie cupboard for tying on a girly gift, a bottle of bubbly or wine, or a box of choccies - and, at R100 for a set of 12, they make a great gift themselves.

An interesting little look at a snapshot of history this week and if you didn't know the story behind the "Keep Calm" trend already, we hope you have found it insightful and delightful! So, until next Tuesday, from the Macaroon team, quite simply, "Keep Calm And Carry On"! 

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