First, a note from Preston: Hey GDB Readers, you may have noticed a few articles recently from April Greer here at GDB. She’s an excellent entrepreneur, designer and writer (as you’ve probably already noticed) and I’ve asked April to join the GDB team for the next few months (and hopefully longer into the future) as a once-a-week writer. April has some great experience as a freelance designer and I’ve asked her to write about the things she experiences on a daily basis–which is going to be awesome for the GDB community! Join me in welcoming April to GDB by leaving a comment on this post.
In the midst of a project, it gets hectic. Everyone knows what it’s like: The deadline is looming and you’ve got files final_v1 through final_v13, and you may even have final_final!
You intend to sort it all out after the project is finished, but if you’re anything like me, those good intentions go right out the window in favor of the next new project.
However, it’s little mistakes like these that will most certainly waste your time and might end up costing you your reputation! Follow these tips to keep your files, and your reputation, in order.
#1: Name Your Files Appropriately
Naming your files appropriately saves you both time, money, and face. Instead of an exhaustive search, you can reasonably guess what you would’ve called the project and use your search bar. Furthermore, you don’t have to send your client multiple images asking if any of them are the correct file.
#2: Organize your File Structure
Have you ever had a client ask for a file months or years after a project was completed and then you’re scrambling to figure out what you might have named “the ad we did for X magazine in October of 2009?”
Keeping your files organized by client, project, and/or date helps you quickly and easily deliver the appropriate file when necessary, and makes you look professional and well-organized to your client.
#3: Be Consistent
Determine a naming convention that works for you and stick with it.
For example, I like to name my proof files that are sent to the customer as filename[PROOF] while naming the actual file sent to the printer filename[PRINTED].
This way, if I need to send the file for reprint, I know exactly which file to send, and I know what to look for when searching as well.
#4: Back Up Your Files Regularly
Losing files is the absolute worst feeling, especially if you need it to send to a client.
#5: Save your Contract in the Project Folder
A good contract is not only a binding piece of paper, it is the most important file in any project. Use it as a tool to stay within the scope of the project as well as a guide and a reference when you present your proofs to your client.
How has your naming convention or file organization benefited your business?
How do you name your files? What tricks have you learned over time that help you be more organized? Share your tips and stories in the comments on this post.