San Francisco Face masks featuring a butterfly design containing an image of Taiwan created by a Taiwanese designer has been produced in the United States and has gained praise from President Tsai Ing-wen
The masks were designed by Kao I-min, 44, a freelance artist and brand designer who graduated from National Cheng Kung University’s Department of Architecture, when he was commissioned to design cardboard boxes with markings identifying Taiwan as the country of origin.
The design was made into stickers for the cardboard boxes originally meant to contain disposable gloves to be shipped to the U.S., Kao said, adding that he did not expect that the work would later be used for the production of face masks.
An important implication of the design is that “one of the wings of the butterfly is in the shape of Taiwan, symbolizing that Taiwan is the butterfly kingdom, while the words ‘Taiwan can help!’ are also printed on the masks.”
While the design was the brainchild of Kao, two of his schoolmates turned it into a product — Chen Yu-wen, an urban planning engineer in Hong Kong and Ou Mei-lan, a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ou began seeking an international platform for production and sale of the masks, Kao added.
Before Tsai was sworn in May 20, Kao said he sent samples of the mask to her and to Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung calling on the government to lift a ban on surgical mask exports.
The government lifted the mask export ban on June 1 and Kao subsequently received a letter signed by Tsai.
In the letter, Tsai encouraged Kao to continue exploring the beauty of Taiwan’s land and promoting Taiwan with his art to make more people knowledgeable about Taiwan’s culture.
Taiwanese manufacturers have been collaborating with him to mass produce the masks, which were put up for sale on an online platform in the U.S. earlier this month, according to Kao.
Kao said his mask design is not aimed at reaping economic gains but at promoting Taiwan globally.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel