Keep Calm….

Keep Calm and Carry On was a poster produced by the Government of the United Kingdom in 1939 during the beginning of the Second World War, intended to raise the morale of the British public in the event of invasion. In 2000, a copy of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was rediscovered in Barter Books, a second-hand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland.

According to the Bagehot column in The Economist, it “taps directly into the country’s mythic image of itself: unshowily brave and just a little stiff, brewing tea as the bombs fall.” Its message is also relevant to the late-2000s recession and has been adopted as an unofficial motto by British nurses, the poster appearing in staff rooms on hospital wards. The poster has also appeared on the walls of places as diverse as the prime minister’s strategy unit at 10 Downing Street, the Lord Chamberlain’s office at Buckingham Palace, and the United States embassy in Belgium.

Since Crown Copyright expires on artistic works created by the UK government after 50 years, the image is now in the public domain. Including the Hostess Awards section of Stampin’ Up’s newest catalog…. I immediately fell in love with this stamp set and claimed it as a Hostess Award on my recent order. Alas, it was not to be….

In August 2011, it was reported that a UK-based company called Keep Calm and Carry On Ltd had registered the slogan as a community trade mark in the EU, after failing to trademark the slogan in the United Kingdom. They issued a take-down request against a seller of Keep Calm and Carry On products. Stampin’ Up has ceased sales and delivery of their Keep Calm and Carry On stamp set. My order went in a day too late to get one. This, of course, only increased the desirability of owning said stamp set. An internet search revealed several small independent stamp companies selling similar stamps.

Having finally gotten my hands on this much sought after stamp, I took great delight in fashioning this card:

It features CTMH’s Superhero papers, Outdoor Denim and Cranberry card stock and red stripe baker’s twine as well as a single sparkle in the top of the crown. I believe the saying could also be re-created using CTMH’s “A Typeface” stamp set and the crown image from CTMH’s “Princess Wings” stamp set.

In the meantime, I’m delighted to play around with the stamp image I have. Who knows? Perhaps the Stampin’ Up “Keep Calm” stamp set will become available:

“Questions have been raised as to whether the registration could be challenged, as the slogan had been widely used before registration and is not recognisable as indicating trade origin. An application has been submitted by British intellectual property advisor and UK trademarking service Trade Mark Direct, to cancel the trademark on the grounds that the words are too widely used for one person to own the exclusive rights. The company is now trying to trademark globally in the United States and Canada.”


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