Keep Calm and Carry On: Production Numbers

I’ve been talking to the New York Times, as Rob Walker’s Consumed Column will be discussing the Keep Calm and Carry On poster on 12th July (I’ll have a link once I know), and in going through the Fact Checking today, we were talking about the numbers of posters produced. Keep Calm and Carry On was produced alongside ‘Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution’ and ‘Your Freedom is in Peril: Fight for it Now’. In my thesis, when only the ‘Your Courage’ poster was really known, there was some reference to the ‘Keep Calm’ poster, but it’s only truly come into the public consciousness late 2008 as the recession truly started to bite (although Barter Books had been producing the design for 10 years), although more of the Keep Calm posters were produced than any of the other 2… and I wonder how many of them now exist, as they will now be worth much more than they used to be!

By 23 August the proportions to be printed were decided. The percentages were: ‘Freedom is in Peril’ (for remote areas), 12%; ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’, 65%; and ‘Your Courage, etc.’, 23%.

Demand for Printing Slip for HMSO, 31/8/39 for MOI. ‘Keep Calm’, ‘Your Courage’ and ‘Freedom is in Peril’, from The National Archives, INF 1/226 Keep Calm and Carry On

Quantity Description ‘Keep Calm’
1,800 20’ x 10’
2,100 13’4 x 10’
11,000 6’8 x 10’
1,000 6’8 x 5’ Broadside
2,500 60” x 40” Upright
9,000 60” x 40” Broadside
875 30” x 40” Broadside
700 40” x 25”
496,500 30” x 20”
427,600 20” x 15” Upright
1,486,000 15” x 10” Upright
8,000 22” x 22”
Quantity Description Your Courage…
950 20’ x 10’
1,250 13’4 x 10’
5,600 6’8 x 10’
2,500 6’8 x 5’ Broadside
3,750 60” x 40” Upright
4,500 60” x 40” Broadside
375 30” x 40” Broadside
300 40” x 25”
137,500 30” x 20”
130,000 20” x 15” Upright
550,000 15” x 10” Upright
Quantity Description Freedom is in Peril
200 20’ x 10’
300 13’4 x 10’
2,500 6’8 x 10’
1,750 6’8 x 5’
3,500 60” x 40” Upright
66,000 30” x 20”
62,400 20” x 15” Upright
264,000 15” x 10” Upright
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Second World War Posters
Mass Communications Academic, @MMUBS. British Home Front Propaganda posters as researched for a PhD completed 2004. In 1997, unwittingly wrote the first history of the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, which she now follows with interest.

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