Video story

The Truth Behind Keep Calm and Carry On

The iconic 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster was designed months before the Second World War began. Its message was supposed to boost morale and ensure the public could bear the sacrifice and burden required of them.  

However, the striking red and white poster was never officially sanctioned for display and only achieved its prominent position in the public imagination after its rediscovery in 2001. 

Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster is a new book from IWM which reveals the truth and history behind the iconic poster and its resurgence in recent years.  In this video, IWM art Curator Claire Brenard explores and explains the process behind the design of the poster and why it never made it into public circulation.

Bex Lewis, author of Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster, said 'The design of ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ has penetrated into our everyday lives since its rediscovery in 2001. In this new book, the life, death and resurgence of the design is placed into the context of posters in the wartime period, whilst tapping into why the poster has become such a cultural phenomenon.'

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