Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Read Funny Friday

You’ve seen it everywhere: that specific shade of red, that iconic 20th century typography and, of course, that timeless phrase—”Keep Calm and Carry On.” This WWII-era poster has become one of the most recognizable pieces of public art in recent history and has been transmuted into thousands of different forms with new colors, images and phrases applied to every situation you can imagine. In order to better understand this incredibly versatile piece of art and copy, let’s start with looking at where it came from.


It seems only appropriate that this “Keep Calm” poster should re-emerge into public consciousness in a bookstore fashioned out of an old train station. Everything in that scene evokes the atmosphere of an idyllic British countryside. That this poster has gone viral in the Internet age where the others in the series didn’t validates a well-written headline rendered in succinct language.

While the posters were largely unsuccessful at inspiring the public when they debuted, their resonance now may have something to do with the combination of our economic decline and our cultural nostalgia for a simpler time. When combined with the dignified spirit of the British in World War II, the poster hits all the right emotional notes, particularly if you’re an Anglophile like me.

But it can’t just be me, because a lot people have remade this classic “Keep Calm” image into their own. For this Funny Friday, let’s take a look at what some creative types were able to bring to such a flexible template.


Here’s a clever one that aims to raise support for dyslexia:


Our Space Keep Clams and Support Dyslexia


We would be remiss not to show how the poster’s been used in advertising:


Our Space Keep Calm and Shop


Inevitably, there are going to be puns:


Our Space Keep Calm and Curry on


My fellow bloggers will appreciate this one:


Our Space Keep Calm and Click edit


When two viral pieces of culture collide:


Our Space Keep Calm and Gangnam Style


And, of course, the backlash:


Our Space Keep repearting the same tired memes


Cover Photo Source: Wikimedia
Image Source 1: Wikimedia
Image Source 2: DeviantArt
Image Source 3: Flickr
Image Source 4: Wikimedia
Image Source 5: Flickr
Image Source 6: Flickr

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Kaz is a Junior Executive at SJG. He earned BAs in English Writing and Business Marketing at Illinois Wesleyan University and is currently pursuing an MA in Advertising at The University of Texas at Austin. Outside the office, Kaz consumes gobs of media including but not limited to books, magazines, music, movies and television.[/author_info] [/author]