Keep Calm. The Poster Equivalent of Herpes.

Pass the Valtrex.

It was pre-war 1939. The British monarchy, in the event of an invasion (turns out they were right) sought to boost public morale.  Since the internet didn't exist at the time and they couldn't viral post pictures of kittens hugging to every British citizens' Pinterest pages, the government resorted to the next best thing. Posters.

This wasn't just any poster.  No, Bon Jovi was not present and there was no one dancing on White Snake's car. Not even Pamela Anderson in all her... um... glory would appear on this poster.  Instead, an unknown designer (who is now rolling in his or her grave) coined a simple five word phrase meant to be a sort of hug from the King. Keep Calm and Carry On.

Fast forward about sixty years when one of only two known copies of the poster surfaced in a second hand bookshop in Northumberland.  Seeing that copyright had expired (dammit) about a decade before, the owners, innocently enough, sold copies of the poster. Turns out between 2001 and 2009 some 40,000 copies were printed and sold.

Let's not get out the pitchforks just yet. Actually, maybe you should dust them off because at some point people stopped Keeping Calm. You got it.  I'm all for a version or two but somewhere, someone thought that changing it up a little and using most of the words from the Oxford English Dictionary (and some that might not have been appropriate for the OED) they could make a little spending cash.

Keep Calm and Call Batman

Keep Calm and Potter On

Keep Calm and put Bacon On (a personal favorite)

Keep Calm because I'm Legal

The list goes on and no, it doesn't get any better.  The question is who the hell took what was a great example of War-time British propaganda and turned it into the Herpes of the graphics world?  Seriously.  I think we've seen more versions of this poster than were meant for human consumption. You know that somewhere, six feet under British soil there is a graphic designer turning in his or her grave. Poor soul.

Do you think he (or she) dies a little every time someone "thinks" up a new version?

Anyway, readers, dear readers. Keep the original; burn the rest. Enough is enough and like the newest "Shit *insert boring person here* Says" fad, this one needs to die a quiet death.  No more Pinterest pins of "Keep Calm and Go Shopping".  Erase "Keep Calm and Fake a British Accent".  Kill the "Keep Calm and Plan to Marry Harry".  Actually... send me a copy of that one first THEN you can burn the rest.  Cause Harry is a hottie.

I'm stepping off my soap-box now.

Images via Wikipedia, MareleGenius in the Making