Trend Alert! "Keep Calm" Mania

Lately it seems that EVERYWHERE you turn, a cheery red poster is encouraging: Keep Calm and Carry On. Where did they all come from? Well, England, as you might have guessed from the crown. But why?

Well, it might be that the British WWII propaganda message is eerily applicable to us today, what with our war and recession and all. So "chin up!" as they would say, and why not add a bit of British steely resolve to your nest? There's plenty to choose from ...

Today, the poster is available in just about every color you can imagine. And tons of spin-off products have hit the market, such as wall decals, canvas tote bags, tea towels, embroidered pillows, even mouse pads, which is taking it a bit far. Etsy alone has 73 pages of items!

I'm a bit of a purist so I think if I wasn't going to go for the original red poster, I'd do this cute rug-version available through the British shop Pedlars.

The New York Times Magazine just wrote about how the trend has inspired an array of new slogans including "Get Excited and Make Things," which is topped by a wrench-filled crown; the less encouraging, "Now Panic and Freak Out," with an upside-down crown; and the double-trendy "Keep Calm and Have a Cupcake," which would be very cute in a little girl's room.

Want to know more? Click here for a write up on the history of the poster from England's Barter Books, the second-hand bookshop reportedly responsible for discovering and reprinting the posters.

For more art and design from Carrie Culpepper visit her blog

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