Keep Calm And Carry On

This afternoon started with an introduction on the history of the ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ design. I personally really like it when I first saw it, but as time has gone on, it has become more popular and is absolutely everywhere and everyone has created their own version. It has been a good year for Britain, first with the Diamond Jubilee and then the 2012 London Olympics, and over summer it had become fashion to have patriotic memorabilia, and accessories. ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ is a typically British design, and the slogan itself describes the majority of our nations outlook, we are a naturally reserved nation. Well compared to some other countries in the world, for example the U.S.

I was completely and utterly shocked to then find out that this poster design was in fact a propaganda poster designed to keep up morale and the nations spirits incase the German’s won World War II. ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’. When saying it with this in mind, it makes perfect sense. But what was upsetting to hear was the fact there is NO copyright. This is why so many people have created their own versions and used similar slogans like ‘Keep Calm and Eat A Cupcake’ etc. What’s worse is that the designer, who most likely long passed away, hasn’t earned a penny from this famous design. There is no record of who the designer was. There were also other propaganda posters of the same style to be used in the same way. These slogans were ‘Freedom Is In Peril, Defend It With All Our Might’ and ‘Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution’. Another interesting fact, is the font used in the original posters were created by the same designer specifically for the posters. The majority of the modern posters are in fact in Gil Sans because it is the nearest font.

2 Comments

  1. I would argue that the lack of copyright is not necessarily a bad thing. Rather, by allowing this work to be shared and recreated it has evolved from a simple wartime poster designed to encourage to a great piece of design with a deeper meaning.
    I agree, it is sad that the designer may not have made much money off this. It may have been part of her/his day job. But what would be even sadder is if a big company or ‘estate’ starts throwing lawsuits around at these derivative works for the sake of protecting copyright.

    • I agree that it isn’t pleasant to have lawsuits here there and everywhere over this design, but what I forgot to mention in my post was that because of the lack of copyright, there is a company called ‘Keep Calm and Carry On Ltd’ that have tried to trademark it, but were turned down by the UK. However they succeeded in the EU and are trying to trademark it in the US and Canada. I don’t agree with this because they would be unfairly making money on somebody else’s hard work.

      Thankyou very much for your comment. It’s nice to hear someone else’s opinion on the matter.

      J

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