Got a mountain of clothes growing on your closet floor? Fine. Are boxes of half eaten leftovers exploding out of your fridge? Sure. But please, for the sake of your sanity and ours, keep your digital files organized!
How to do it right:
Naming and categorizing every file that is connected to your website or project may seem like no big deal but how well you do it is essential in laying a solid foundation for your web development or project management experience. The more detailed and regularly done, the easier it is to retrieve files without a headache. Here are some tips for organizing your files:
- CLEAR & CONCISE NAMES: Get in the habit of naming your files clearly as soon as you create them. It will save time down the road if your files are named with specific details of exactly what the image is or copy says.
- CONSISTENT PREFIXES: By using the same name prefix for similar files, all your logos, headers, backgrounds, etc. will appear next to each other in an alphabetically sorted list. If you use the same file name scheme consistently for multiple projects, you’ll know quickly where to find the right files.
- KEEP EVERYTHING ARCHIVED: Don’t lose, delete, or give away your original image working files! A designer will typically create an image file in Photoshop or Illustrator. They’ll use the extensions .psd, .ai, .tiff, or .eps. These files almost always have editable components, so if another designer or web developer needs to adjust something like a color or the text in the image, they’ll be able to do so easily. If all you have are .jpg, .gif, or .png files and you want to change something – or even display it at a larger size than what you have – another designer will have to recreate the file from scratch.
Here are some examples of good and bad file names:
- Good: “Logo – Dark Red with Heart.psd” and “Logo – Blue with White Heart.psd”
- Bad: “red heart logo FINAL version.psd” and “bl & w logo for web.psd.”
Not only do these methods help the overall experience of project management and web development, but forming good organizational habits like these will come in handy for any digital deliverable you are working on, whether it be at the office or on your personal device.
Plus, with all the time you’ll save not having to search for badly named files you can finally get around to throwing out that moldy sandwich from two weeks ago…well, maybe.