Who is making DeFi tokens & what are projects?

DeFi tokens can be created by anyone. As long as you have the technical knowledge to write a token smart contract, deploy it on the blockchain, and create a liquidity pair in an exchange, you can create a token.
Those who decide to launch a token are called developers or devs. When multiple people work together to launch a token, you’ll see them referred to as the development team, or dev team for short. Just because someone is in a development team does not necessarily mean that they are writing code, though. There are many development teams these days that feature developers who are taking on a variety of other roles, such as marketing.
Development teams build projects. Yes, the token is part of the project, but usually there is a larger use case for the token which also needs to be created. Oftentimes, these are apps since this is crypto. However, it is not impossible to find projects that also offer goods and services on top of their token.
When you buy a token in DeFi, you’re not just trading an asset. Buying a token means you're buying into a project, supporting their ultimate goal, and benefiting from the use case that they aim to deliver in the long run. It’s up to you to decide which projects match your interests and which you think will gain value over time. If you choose well, your token value will increase, and you might even gain some other cool benefits from those tokens' use cases along the way.