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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Painted Masks  
  Children choose to decorate otherwise uniform equipment masks.  

The tiger stripes on Jim's mask, the war paint on Frank's, and a rainbow motif on Phyllis's made the young people easy to identify. The adults could be told apart only by size, shape, and manner; there were two extras, Doctor MacRae and Father Cleary.

He [headmaster Howe] poked his head inside, seemed about to leave, then came inside. He pointed to their outdoor suits, hanging on hooks by the clothes locker. "Why haven't you removed those barbaric decorations from your masks?"

The boys looked startled; Howe went on, "Haven't you looked at the bulletin board this morning?"

NOTICE TO STUDENTS

1. The practice of painting respirator masks with so-called identification patterns will cease. Masks will be plain and each student will letter his name neatly in letters one inch high across the chest and across the shoulders of his outdoors suit.

From Red Planet, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Scribner in 1949
Additional resources -

Compare to the opposite idea, the moon moth mask from Jack Vance's eponymous story of 1976. Also, see the Ixian sight mask from Children of Dune (1976) by Frank Herbert.

Thanks to @nyrath [Winchell Chung of Atomic Rocket] for the quote; see his extensive page on heraldry.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Red Planet
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Red Planet
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Painted Masks-related news articles:
  - Personalized Masks Appear

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