Three words in and I’m sure you can already relate.
File organization sucks. It’s worse than having hangnail, a paper cut and a twisted ankle happen all at once on a rainy Monday morning. I wish it were possible to expunge any sort of file organization from my life, but unfortunately (and rightfully so), I deal with this situation on a day-by-day basis. The countless hours that have been spent naming and renaming files and folders puts the time I spend working to shame.
A couple of years ago, I thought I found the perfect structure. The structure, which at the beginning seemed to operate in such an efficient and organized fashion, rapidly succumbed to entropy. I gave up hope for some time which resulted in stealing other people’s conventions. Unfortunately, I don’t think they knew what they were doing either.
After signing up for Dropbox last month, I finally buckled down and tried again. It’s been successful thus far (knock on wood), so I thought I would brag about it.
File naming convention:
I opted out of adding the version number to the end of the file name once the files are moved into production. The reason is that if there were multiple people working on one file simultaneously, having version numbers could get confusing and it would only be a matter of time before people started tacking on their initials. In lieu of version numbers, I find it easier to memorize dates. If there’s a file that’s drastically different from the last, I create a new folder with a new date and copy all of the existing files into the new dated folder. Of course, there are rules and regulations I put forth to keep the space on my Dropbox (or harddrive) to a minimum (like instances where there are 100+ files), but that’s just too much detail! Onward!
There was once a suggested naming string a friend offered to me that I find way too long and strenuous to memorize:
Rather, I decided to use a straightforward, shorter and cleaner naming string:
Because the conceptual phases are usually rapid and short, I assign each concept with only a number.
These files are the ones that are presented to the client, therefore I tag it with the company name, version number and date.
Once the design/concepts are approved, the finalized files are copied into production. I order them based on their order in the wireframe document and give it a device tag at the end (if the batch is too little to justify segregating them into respective device folders).
e.g. foursquare_1.1_login-details.psd, att_2.0_messaging_tablet.psd
And there you have it. For now.