I am an adman, product designer and entrepreneur. I’ve been in the creative advertising industry for over 15 years with international experience working in multinational agencies like TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles, Saatchi Los Angeles, Leo Burnett Dubai, BBDO Beijing and MRM/Mccann New York.
I’ve built local and global integrated campaigns for major brands like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, General Motors, Toyota, Emirates Airlines, Cartier, VISA, Enfamil, Tencent, etc.
It started out with a need for a creative outlet and time away from my daily advertising job back then. I wanted to create a company that allowed me to come up with products which I have complete creative control of.
What started out as a passion project became a steady business for me. That’s how Makina Watches was born! And ever since then I’ve been designing our own products since 2017 until this very day!
Makina Watches is a watch brand from the Philippines. All watches are designed, engineered and made in the Philippines with movements coming from Switzerland and some parts from Hong Kong.
Although it is a business, our intent is to maintain a passion project mindset when developing products and building our brand; we release products based on what we like and not popular trends or what sells more.
Even though Makina primarily targets the niche world of watch enthusiasts, we are comfortable in pushing watch design archetypes towards directions that may not sit comfortably well with watch purists whom Makina intends to speak to.
A good design is one that looks good, answers the brief, adapts to users and fits in this day and age.
A great design is one that has a defining personal touch, goes beyond the brief, one that users are willing to adapt to and is timeless.
I will say that minimalism, personally, is not my go-to approach because minimalism strips away character. Character is important to me because it’s what gives non-living things that human-touch. I also think “perfect” is boring. When designing, I usually like to add imperfections or design cues that wouldn’t normally be considered popular design decisions.
This changes all the time for me too. One thing that doesn’t change in my process is making sure that I stay away from the computer, from the internet for several days and draw inspiration from my own brain first and mentally dig up things I’ve seen and experienced in the past.
If it is inspiration in the form of an object, design or architecture that I remember, it must mean something to me and therefore will have a better influence in the final design to have more of a personal touch.
We wanted to design a black sheep in the 3-handed rectangular watch category that’s known to have a plethora of art deco inspired dress watches. That’s pretty much why Makina Andras_I was born as a rectangular sports watch with a more modern and more aggressive approach.
Its intense black shell is composed of angular shapes that make up its multifaceted design and pronounced edges with gloss and brushed finishings. Its dial is multi-layered and full of depth. Its strap is muscular and shapely, echoing its chiseled case and 3-dimensional dial. We intently designed it in a way that looks photogenic from every angle.
The part where you’re exercising your brain 24/7.
The never ending search for new.
The idea that the objects you make can evoke an emotional response.
It is more and more difficult to predict nowadays than ever before with new technologies and new trends that come and go faster than ever. What I do want to say is: even though designs will change in terms of what they will look like and how they will get crafted, what will not change are the fundamentals. The importance of Insight, idea and purpose will never change.
Sometimes these new technologies and new trends distract from these things; they should not distract from remembering who we’re designing for, how they will use our designs, and what we want our designs to say to them.
What success means to one person may not mean the same to another. One’s definition of success may not be the popular definition as society would dictate but that’s ok. Having said that, anyone can achieve success in their own vision of it which is what matters.
One thing that is consistent with those who achieve success, whatever that may be, is ambition. It’s about where you are now, where you want to be, and how hungry you are to get there. Ambition is important and should always be moving just like the person chasing it. Everyone should have one. The bigger the better.
Danilo Villanueva, an experienced professional in advertising, product design, and entrepreneurship, has over 15 years of international experience with agencies like TBWAChiatDay, Saatchi, Leo Burnett, BBDO, and MRM/McCann.
Read more about this interview with Kaj Ransvi EF from Sweden, the Silver Winner of the 2023 NY Product Design Awards.