Scenario. You’re a graphic designer working at a Y&R, BBDO or FCB Global - basically any ad agency. Your day-to-day includes working on campaign designs, lock up images, pitch presentations, social media posts and possibly web page mock-ups. All for different clients and their various brands. You more or less know where your graphic design files are saved and can easily access it from your desktop, server or free file storing cloud service/s. Nice, you have a filing system for your design files. Or so you think.
Work for you is pretty fluent – up until that point where that one design file, only that one design file you’re looking for, has gone missing. Work is called to a halt because without that file, you can’t do anything else. Sozs. And here you thought you were having a good day.
It happens, right? Files get lost. Or maybe you didn't save the last version because it was agency bar night. Or did you? Thing is, you lost work that you worked hard on. And you lost valuable time. Good luck explaining to your traffic manager why you’ll need an extra 3 hours on the job, or asking your partner to move date night out - again. Hey, it was nice knowing you.
Let’s hit the panic killswitch. There are ways to prevent this from happening – graphic designers – like having an organized filing system for your design files that works. The first system is simply a super organized folder algorithm (that is sometimes also agreed upon internally by your agency), and the second system is called a Digital Asset Management solution. Let me break it down
The folder algorithm filing system
“You said algorithm!” Relax, it has nothing to do with numbers. The folder algorithm filing system works two-ways. 1. Your folder structure, 2. Your naming conventions. I’m saying “algorithm” because it needs to look the same for each client. Consistency is key (amiright?). Let’s start with the folders first.
Your folders - What it looks like:
Filing system for design files: The folder algorithm.
Your folders - How it works:
- Create a “work” folder” on your desktop, or on your free cloud solution, separate from your private folders and files
- In the work folder, create client folders (I.e.: Pernod Ricard, P&G, Toyota)
- In client folders, create brand folders (I.e: A Pernod Ricard client folder could have The Glenlivet, Olmeca tequila, Ballantine's)
- In brand folders, create project folders (I.e: For The Glenlivet you might have two projects you’re working on, like The Glenlivet Guardians and a Website Rebuild)
- In your project folders (which is the most granular) - you’ll have everything needed for that project and could include:
- Project brief
- Project timeline
- Client assets
- Internal assets