CreativeMornings with Dan Matutina

CreativeMornings with Dan Matutina | Design Made Happy

If you’re looking to get more involved in Manila’s creative community, then CreativeMornings is something you might be interested in joining. CreativeMornings is a monthly breakfast lecture for the creative community created by Tina Roth Eisenberg (also known as the designer Swissmiss), the founder of swissmiss, Studiomates, CreativeMornings, TeuxDeux and Tattly . The concept was simple: have breakfast and a short talk for one morning in a month. The event is also free of charge and open to anyone.

CreativeMornings with Dan Matutina | Design Made Happy

CreativeMornings with Dan Matutina | Design Made HappyThis concept was then brought by Patch Silva, and the first CreativeMornings session was held last June 26, 2015, at A Space Manila. This November was their 6th CreativeMornings and the theme is all about WORK, so they’ve invited the talented and self-proclaimed workaholic Dan Matutina to discuss his life as a designer and illustrator. Dan Matutina, commonly known as Twisted Fork, is a well-known creative in Manila. His long list of clients include big companies and publications such as WIRED, The Wall Street Journal, Havaianas, Uniqlo, Nike, Heineken, Mediatemple, Google, Pinterest, Airbnb, and Samsung. Currently, he is the co-founder of Plus 63 Design Co., a design studio that creates brand identities, and designs for web and print.

During the 20-minute talk, Dan Matutina shared a lot of things — his routine, the process and challenges of working as a designer and illustrator, and his insights and learnings in some of the projects he did in the past. Here’s what went down at the talk:

CreativeMornings with Dan Matutina | Design Made Happy


Dan began his talk by sharing his daily routine. He said that he would often wake up around 6 AM to prepare for the day and check emails. He jokingly admits that checking your email the first thing in the morning is a bad habit, but he does it anyway. By 9 AM, he goes to the studio he co-founded to work, read stuff, attend meetings, and answer more emails, and this goes on until 6 PM. By 7 PM, he would think of things to do that are illustration-related. Dan admits that he’s also a morning person, so he easily falls asleep by 11 PM or earlier. A self-proclaimed workaholic, Dan admits that his routine sounds a lot of work, but it’s a work that he truly loves and enjoys.

CreativeMornings with Dan Matutina | Design Made Happy


Aside from his routine, Dan shared the process of how he works , as well as the challenges creatives face in the field of design. Like any other design agency, they do the following steps: listening/researching by talking to the clients, identifying the target audience and stakeholders, idea generation through brainstorming and sketching, execution by designing the product in the computer, then production and iteration of the product outcome.

Plus 63 Design Co. is a small design firm, and it has no plans of expanding at a rapid rate. Dan believes that keeping the studio small allows the company to be sustainable. Of course, Dan admits that having such a small firm does have its drawbacks, like losing demanding projects from companies, but that’s okay as long they’re able to continue creating quality work to their clients.


In the evening, Dan continues his pursuit of creative work through illustration work. The process of creating a wonderful illustration is quite similar to the design process, minus the production and iteration. All the magic happens during the execution stage when he turns his sketches into a digital masterpiece. While illustration is said to be easier than design, it still has its own setbacks.  Evolving one style’s and meeting deadlines are some of the challenges Dan would constantly face for illustration work. But his biggest challenge is working with local clients as they would sometimes approach him and ask him to do an illustration that is very different from his style.

CreativeMornings with Dan Matutina | Design Made Happy

Thank you, Freshbooks!

Since the theme is all about work, Dan ended the talk with a very powerful quote said by one of his favorite designer from Pentagram, Michael Beirut: “If you do good work for good clients, it will lead to other good work for other good clients. If you do bad work for bad clients, it will lead to other bad work for other bad clients.

The 20 minutes spent with him and other creatives from different fields was nothing short of inspiring and motivating, and despite it being held very early in the morning, I’m glad I attended. I met new people and I learned something new. What better way to start the day, right?

CreativeMornings with Dan Matutina | Design Made Happy

For more inspiring mornings like these, follow CreativeMornings Makati on Facebook. Their next session is on December 18th, 8:30AM, at A Space Manila, featuring Reina Reyes, an astrophysicist and data scientist who will explore the concept of TIME.

Photo credits to CreativeMornings MKT

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