Monday, January 9, 2012

Word play

Top of the most-read list on the Guardian's website today is Charlie Brooker's suggestions for New Year's resolutions. He writes: "These are the things I want humankind to stop doing immediately, on the grounds they've been doing them too long." First on his list is an appeal to stop creating 'Keep Calm and Carry On' variants.

WAR OF WORDS: An original copy of the 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster at Barter Books,  Northumberland, England. Image via Wikipedia

The iconic WWII poster, aimed at motivating the British public during those dark days (according to Wikipedia it was intended to boost morale in the event of invasion), has found itself brought back to life from fridge magnets to undies and subverted into other catchphrases *inspired* by the original. Even Amazon sells a copy of the ubiquitous poster.

In his typically cynical and humorous piece, Brooker draws his readers' attention to the fact that the design belongs to a second-hand book shop in Alnwick, Northumberland, England, called Barter Books, where an original copy of the poster was discovered some years earlier.

"It belongs on a poster, or a mug, or a tea towel sold by Barter Books. But not on a packet of condoms or a soft drink. Or a cushion. Or engraved on your baby's face. Every bastard's churning out "Keep Calm" merchandise these days. Check your attic. Someone's probably up there screen printing it on to a hammock right now."

WHAT A CARRY ON: Unfunny variations on the 'Keep Calm and Carry On'  slogan. Image from All Posters.

But there has been one positive to this nostalgia-driven commercial-athon: the rise in interest in catchphrase and slogan-based designs.

Irish designers have created their own striking typography-driven posters which are original in their own right. Here's a selection of my favourites:

PRINTS CHARMING: This beautiful 'Come Here to Me' poster (approx €15.32 plus delivery) is one of many designs available at Irish Etsy shop FunkyGibbo

TEA-MENDOUS: Mrs. Doyle's cuppa catchphrase has never-ending appeal in this poster by Jane Steger-Lewis of I Love Mayo (€22 plus postage and packaging). It also fits nicely into IKEA's Virserum frame, which is handy.

AP-PEEL TO YOUR BETTER SENSES: A line uttered by many mammies over the years. Available on sale for €50 with free delivery from Grand Grand Grand Grand

BLESS SUCCESS: A classic Irish blessing is immortalised in this poster (from €9.95 plus postage and packaging, available in two sizes and three shades) by I Love Mayo

COP SHOP: This motivational poster (€20) from Grand Grand Grand Grand comes in the appropriately named Guard Blue shade.

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