Masks For All: Creatives Team Up To Design Accessible 3D Printable Protective Equipment

Submitted by Tito Melega, Chief Creative/ECD.
How an international team of a creative director, a roboticist and a 3D print innovator created an ergonomically-sound 3D printable mask design in less than a week.

Now more than ever, in addition to doctors, nurses, researchers and a vaccine, we desperately need collaboration and creative problem solving. Fortunately, creative thinkers are rising to the challenge and making a meaningful difference in people’s lives. We understand that (to put it in ‘industry terms’) we are in an era of brand actions and experience; behaviour has become the message. And, this time, we are all our own brands. And that’s why we made ‘A Mask For All.’

I met Amine Arezki in an open-invite ZOOM meeting that my friend Musa Tariq – in a random act of genius – had launched on Twitter when one of his work meetings was cancelled. When Amine mentioned he had been thinking about an idea involving a 3D printable mask, I knew that he needed to meet Justin Nussbaum. Justin had invented novel 3D printing technology and is the Founder and CEO of Ascend Manufacturing 3D, a company for which I sit on the board of advisors.

The two of us thought: ‘let’s get together and design the most robust, scalable, durable, cleanable and reusable mask that we can’. We collaborated across many time zones, from three different cities, in two countries. It was important to us to make the design flexible enough for people to use everything from t-shirts to tissues as the filter, scalable enough to work for different face sizes, and, of course, 100% free to use.

Within days we had a viable design that we felt good about sharing with the world. Our hope was that others could help us to improve it. We knew we had an idea that matters when people took a moment from what must be the most demanding time of their careers to listen, comment, advise, connect and straight up egg us on to make it happen. It took TBWA\’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Schwartz all but a minute to raise his hand and ask “How can I help?”. Same with Mark Read at WPP who—in a flash—put us together with Nathan Martin at innovation studio Deeplocal.

Chris Adams at Superconductor, Tony Waissmann at Geometry, and Siobhan McCafferty at smresp.com have also been great connectors. And, people like Rob Reilly and Per Pedersen have been solid sounding boards. It’s a testament to the creative industry’s heart, warmth, and ability to pull together.

Thanks to them (and a growing list of people around the world) ‘A Mask For All’ is being downloaded and printed in Europe, UK, LATAM and across the US, and new requests continue to arrive every day.

It is not meant to be a replacement for a sanctioned N95 respirator or procedure mask. But at a time when authorities are so short on proper masks that they have been instructing doctors and nurses on the front lines to use bandanas, it’s certainly better than nothing at all.

It's not perfect, by any means, but it’s a start that is getting better each day. We are currently working on a version that will aid with hearing-impaired patients, for example. We are in this together and we are using creativity to help in whatever way we can.

A Mask For All: amaskforall.com.