As the national conversation turns to safely getting back to school and work, the need for comfortable, attractive face coverings is gaining momentum. Although there are lots of options available, there’s nothing better than making something that is unique to your personality and allows you to express yourself even when the world can’t see your smile.

Just in time for fall, Walgreens Photo has rolled out a new, easy-to-use digital tool that lets customers make personalized face masks. To learn more, we caught up with Laura Ruff, senior manager of digital commerce merchandising, whose team spearheaded the offering.
Design your own mask by uploading a photo, message or iconography – or, choose from a variety of ready-made designs.

Walgreens News: So, tell us a little about how this new personalized face mask option came about.

Laura Ruff: I love working in photo because we're able to make so many everyday products more fun and personal, which can elicit an emotional happy response. We already offer the ability to personalize with photos or monograms or fun designs on everyday items ranging from mugs and pillows to key chains and playing cards, so it was just obvious to do the same for face masks. Of course, we have seen a lot of very creative people designing their own unique masks, so our site will now enable anyone – even those who are not artistic or designers – to create a mask that lets their personality shine through.

WN: It seems like it’s more important than ever to make masks fun and personal.

LR: Absolutely. Many people dread wearing a mask, but I hope this makes it fun for people to do so and encourages more people to do so. My personal experience during this time has been that I miss seeing people’s smiles – even strangers walking by on the street. This simple form of connecting with others even unconsciously, is now missing to a large extent. Designs that make others smile – or are literally a photo of a smile! – may help bring us closer.

WN: So I have to ask  – what’s on YOUR personalized face mask? 

LR: I took a close-up picture of my fur baby’s “smile”. I really just wanted to make people laugh.  There are some masks out there that you can buy with a generic dog face, but I love that I'm wearing my dog’s face! So silly I know …
This is Ruff's pup, but you too can take your fur-baby with you wherever you go… and help keep your community healthy while you’re at it!

WN: Not silly at all. I’m already thinking about which of my two dogs’ faces to feature.

LR: You could do one of each! There are not many places to create a customized mask as easily as on Walgreens' photo website. In addition, we offer shipping to your local store for easy pick-up and it is free! No shipping charges.

WN: That’s awesome. What are some other ways people could use these masks besides the obvious?

LR: In the early stages of the pandemic, I read articles about how doctors and nurses were trying to maintain personal connections with people while now having to wear a mask all the time. As mentioned before, you don’t realize how reassuring and uplifting it is to see someone smile until you no longer can. So I think taking a close up picture of your smile or someone else’s funny face or smile (in my case my dog’s) is a fun and clever way to still be able to spread cheer and make a connection while wearing a mask. In addition, if and when kids go back to school, personalizing their mask with their name will be helpful to keep track of it – as we all know young kids are bound to lose many. A fun design will also help encourage children to wear and keep them on – it’s like Halloween all year round!

Visit the Walgreens photo site to bring out your inner artist and design your own mask today, or choose from tons of fun ready-made designs.