Team Manila

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Team Manila is a multi-disciplinary graphic design studio based in Manila, Philippines. It was founded in 2001 by college friends Jowee Alviar and Mon Punzalan and is known for designs with a uniquely Filipino influence. Team Manila has also extended their line of work to Graphic Designed Lifestyle, a lifestyle store selling t-shirts, bags, and accessories with designs inspired by Filipino culture.


Team Manila founders Joseph Lee Alviar and Raymund Punzalan met while in college at the University of Sto. Tomas, both studying advertising fine arts. Even then, the two had already shared design taste and sensibilities, liking the same designers and building up a list of clients they would like to have in the future.

After graduation, however, Mon and Jowee took different paths. Jowee went to the USA to study in the California School of Arts and later on went to work for Gr8 in Baltimore. Mon on the other hand worked for a small advertising company for a few years before becoming art director for the magazine MTV Ink. After a few years, Jowee came back to the Philippines and the two started their plan to form their own graphic design studio.

At first, the two started out accepting projects from some of the Philippines' top companies like SM Megamall and Rustans Department Store. At that time, they also started designing logos for various companies, from the trendy to the corporate. Their design for branding was characterized by simplistic yet very identifiable images which worked well for such companies as events group Big Fish, outdoor sandal Tribu, and clothing line Human.

It was however their win for Best Director in the 2003 MTV Pilipinas Awards that first garnered attention for their work. Their entry was the music video "Numb" from the heavy rock band Slapshock, co-directed with friend and fashion photographer, Xander Angeles. The video was Team Manila's first shot at directing, but already displayed their characteristic style: use of typography, interestingly skewed images, and playing with textures and colors.

Team Manila's work on fashion layouts opened many doors for them, catching the attention of many industry players by sprucing up shoots for various magazines and dailies with their edgy and fresh graphic design ideas. They are also known for providing quality work for events, from non-traditional invitations to spectacular presentations. They have done such for Shu Uemura, Motorola, and a host of other top-of-the-line companies.


The launching of Graphic Designed Lifestyle or GDL, their other creative outlet, was also a big contribution to their success. GDL is a lifestyle store that sells t-shirts, bags, and accessories, all with a distinctly Filipino influence. Though it started out as a way for Team Manila to create shirts that they wanted to wear, pretty soon many other people were wearing their merchandise: shirts with the national hero Jose Rizal wearing shades, katsa (a kind of white sack used for carrying flour) and camouflage bags with typography, and even denim bean bags. Launched in 2005, GDL currently has one store in the Power Plant Mall in Makati, one in Team Manila's headquarters in Jupiter Street (also in Makati), and numerous consignments in stores all over the Philippines.

Team Manila has also created two other lines, both with distinct aesthetics. The first is Republic which is a more stylized and urban line of shirts and bags. It carries messages and images to help "re-invent the public." The other is Ang Pambansang T-Shirt (The National T-Shirt) which is a simpler approach to using Filipino culture on shirts. The designs are meant to be more straightforward and with the ability to appeal to people from all walks of life.

Influence and style

Team Manila is influenced by anything and everything they see. From street vendors to a great piece of art, they draw inspiration from the mundane to the extraordinary. Most of Team Manila's designs incorporate iconic images of everyday Filipino life, like jeepneys and common street food. Their work can also be described as modern, with a fusion of formats like illustration and typography; and always with an edge and character.

The Team


  • Print
  • Branding/identity
  • Web design
  • Music video production
  • Merchandise
  • Packaging