I popped into Clinton Cards on the weekend to get a couple of birthday cards. Aside from the fact that it's the bleakest shop in town – why are card shops so depressing? – I noticed a couple of odd things. First of all, the specificity of greetings cards these days is incredible. Think of any possible connection between two people, and there'll be a card for it. "Happy birthday from son-in-law", "To a fantastic step-sister", "Merry Christmas from Margaret at number 42" – that sort of thing. I even found a "Happy Easter from your cat" card. I didn't even know we were meant to send cards at Easter, now we have to send them to ourselves on behalf of our pets?
Secondly, York appears to be the epicentre for royal wedding tat. There are plates, figurines, teapots, t-shirts, cards (that you can send to the happy couple using Clinton's own royal wedding postbox – it was empty) and, rather bizarrely, there are commemorative "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters. Given that the poster was originally designed for use in the event of a German invasion, it doesn't really seem appropriate for commemorating a wedding, does it? Particularly when the groom's family have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from their German past.
Still, maybe it's just right. Despite its ubiquity, I rather like the fact it's been adopted as a kind of national flag. It's utter Britishness – with the Gill Sans type and the crown emblem and the stiff-upper-lipped sentiment – makes for a nice alternative to the sullied-by-the-right Union Jack. If only people would bother replicating it with some care. Shortly after Clintoning, I spotted "Keep Calm" print in town, set in Arial. Of all things, Arial.
Keep calm Daniel, keep calm.
Having given the original Keep Calm poster a second look – that isn't Gill Sans at all, is it? In my head it was, but those R's are just wrong. There's an old chat on Typophile that basically comes to the conclusion that it's a hand-drawn mishmash of various typefaces. I guess Macs worked differently in 1939.