File management for graphic designers

I’ve always been obsessed with the way I manage all my work files, my clients folder etc. So with the end of the year dawning upon us, I need to make new folders and arrange the current folders into archives. If you plan on using my system, you should really consider following a few rules, or maybe just work on these things before planning to reorganize your whole hard drive:

  • always use relevant names for your files, not just your folder. I’m not going to get into much detail about how you should name your folders, source files and exports.
  • separate your recurrent clients from the occasional ones into different folders
  • keep a “master” file for your recurrent clients separately from all other work
  • make multiple copies of your archives and store them into different mediums

Doing all of the above helps you a lot when your trying to find old files or just a old vector that you design but never ended up on your final design. My file management is pretty straightforward when it comes to complexity, but can be really efficient when you deal with a lot of smaller projects.

As I pointed out above, I keep my recurrent clients separate  from the one timers or other small freelancing projects. I do this, because I need to split my projects further more when it comes to a single recurrent client.

This is what my main file system looks like:

  • General work folder for 2019
    • Occasional clients 
      • 01 – Project
      • 02 – Project
      •  …………….
    • Recurrent clients
      • 00 – Master files
      • 01 – Client #1
      • 02 – Client #2 
        • 01 – January
        • 02 – February
          • Project
          • Project
        •  …………….
      •  …………….

Using this month separation comes in handy whenever you need find some work that you need, but don’t really remember when you did it.  Using the 01, 02, etc. prefix helps a lot with the way that you arrange your folders in Finder or Windows Explorer. Next to this general work folder for the year in progress, always sits a mockups folder and one for unused vectors or other files that I might need at some point but never even bother to check before searching for something on the internets.

For archiving all this, I simply take the work folder and make copies over multiple places, including external hard drives and online cloud storage (OneDrive atm.), renaming it to Work – 20XX.

I hope this will help some of you to better nest your files and to better keep track of what and when you did something. Cheers!

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