Face Mask designs for a surreal future where wearing masks is humanity’s new norm

2020 has surely brought about a change in our priorities. Where Instagram was earlier filled with people jet-setting across the globe to exotic, unseen locations and inspiring wanderlust for everyone else, our mindless focus on self and not caring enough about the natural resources that quietly supported us led to this COVID-19 pandemic. The question that arises here is humanity learning from its mistakes? History shows that we rarely do and a dystopian future where wearing a mask is a part of our daily life might just happen, sooner than later. So what can a mask do? With the design world’s unending creativity applied, they can do a lot of things – from being inclusive, supporting audio output to even supporting your favorite organization, Render Weekly’s ongoing face mask challenge has us excited! These renders are sure to form the foundation of some exceptional designs in the future.

Michael Soleo created a stylized version of the original face mask by Ashley Lawrence that allows those who are hearing impaired to still read lips! Everyone is equally affected by the crisis and what is now the new normal for us might be severely distressing for the differently-abled. Inclusive design is now more important than ever. Masks have become a global icon for COVID-19 and we are glad someone stopped to think “Okay, but how will people who rely on reading lips communicate for the next 6 months?” – it’s the little things, the simple designs that can have a deep impact.

Inspired by the audio leaders AIAIAI, this modular mask by David Olivares can be easily opened up and detached for the user’s choice of personalization. “Modularity is key to deliver products with top quality, reducing the number of disposable pieces, and providing great user experience. In this case, you can change the cover to match your outfit, the bands to adjust to your head, or a different filter to suit your routine demands.” says David. And seeing how masks have become a part of everyday life across the globe, we agree that customization is the key to improve the sustainability of the usually disposable product.

Inspired by the AIRPOP masks, designer Oliver Perretta created a multifunctional mask. With usability being the keystone of any design, the mask not only filters the air but also acts as an air quality monitor! The quality monitor accurately transmits data to your smartphone, helping you be aware and keep yourself safe.

Speaking of multi-functional designs, we are totally geeking out over this design by Zack Massos and Eitan Adika that merges a reusable face mask with headphones! How do you ask? The answer is bone conduction tech! Dystopian as it may sound, but in a future where wearing masks is the norm, this face mask-headphones hybrid could help you commute and stay connected all while staying safe!

Another gem by Oliver Perretta, this mask takes the AIRPOP-inspired masks to the next step. We know that germs accumulate on the outside of your mask, creating a potentially loaded situation for when the mask is removed. Based on the ‘G Volt electrical sterilization breathing masks’ this interpretation utilizes a graphene-based material combined with an electronic textile. Activated by an electrical current, it sterilizes the surface of the mask preventing contamination and repelling viruses and bacteria. The concept works by utilizing a rechargeable power supply connecting to the e-textile to activate the graphene sterilization. A single mesh filter has been incorporated for extra precaution.

Ugo Fontana and Matt K (of Itiwit) have taken the humble face mask to the next space-worthy iteration with this soft full face mask. Initially designed for welding, this version lets the user breathe with ease in a relatively enclosed space, with an extensive array of functions to help the user stay in comfort while navigating their surroundings.

Roshan Hakkim aims to solve a nasty consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic – the non-reusable elements that are the necessary evil medical world needs to fight this. His solution? Using recycled PET bottles to create reusable plastic face shields! Hitting 2 targets at one time, this Nike-inspired sustainable mask can lay down the guidelines for future pandemics, which is guaranteed if humans don’t clean up their acts.

From the team at RenderWeekly comes another mask with the ability to be personalized. If you are going to wear a mask to cover your face, the most identifiable part of you, it makes sense that the mask speaks your language. I can truly imagine users customizing the strap from homemade to buying them from their favorite brands, just to make an impact.

Have we considered how this normalization in the usage of masks will affect the kids? Coming from the complete freedom and joy they are accustomed to being in, this new world with masks and instructions to not touch anything is a scary change. Oliver Perretta wants to make this process more comfortable for the kids by creating this child-friendly mask that lets the kid dress up as their favorite animals and have fun while staying safe!

Wear your colors across your face, or at least your brand colors as shown in this New Balance-inspired face mask designed by IJ! Now we can literally see the Instagram influencer market jumping at the bit to get these if any brand launches them. I would like one in support of my favorite charities please!