Berg London’s Matt Jones discusses his more positive take on Keep Calm and Carry On, which captured the design community’s imagination.
For many designers and artists, the response to the recession was to batten down the hatches and wait for things to change.
This feeling was perfectly summed up by the Keep Calm and Carry On poster, a Second World War propaganda
poster (although it was never used) that epitomises the stoic, stiff-upperlippedness of the British in the face of adversity. Over the past year, the poster has been displayed on studio walls, and printed onto T-shirts – it’s even available in cufflink form.
The poster also provoked a reaction from artists who objected to its dour outlook, some of whom took to revising it. One of the most successful of these was Get Excited and Make Things by Matt Jones, director of digital at consultancy BERG. This put a much more creative, positive spin on Keep Calm, even replacing the tips of the crown with spanners.
“The various messes that we’re in won’t go away if we carry on, keeping calm,” says Jones. “We have to invent our way out of them.”
Jones says that he believes “it’s just important to keep making,” adding: “My favourite quote is from Linus Pauling: ‘to have a good idea, you have to have a lot of ideas’ – so to keep doing and making is the main thing.”
Available initially as a T-shirt from Howies (above) and a limited-edition poster, Jones has now released Get Excited and Make Things as a vector file under a Creative Commons licence, on his blog Magic Nihilism.