Last week, we walked you through our tried-and-true process for backing up files so that you never lose any of your hard work to a computer malfunction. If that post inspired you to get serious about file organization and safety, today’s post is for you. We’re giving you the exact formula we use for file naming that keeps our folders accessible and efficient. If you work on a team, file organization is even more important so that everyone has a standard for file naming and knows what they’re looking for.
Like most business processes, it requires a little time investment on the front end to get everything set up and to rename old files, but it saves so much time and energy in the long-term. Just think of it as spring cleaning for your computer and external storage!
Our File Organization System
First, we start with organized folders. For our business, we can divide most files into two major categories: IDCO and client. The point here is to make your life simpler, so once you decide what your primary folders should be, give them the most obvious names possible. Our two folders look like this:
We use this number + underscore + name system throughout our files. We like for our files to be in a certain order, so we number them instead of letting the computer automatically alphabetize them.
Inside our 00_IDCO folder, you’ll find comprehensive subfolders. Specifically, these:
These categories are pretty self-explanatory. As you create subfolders, just think of the most effective way to divide your documents. And always create a separate file for brand images so you don’t have them all mixed in with files. As you sift through your files, you might find that you need to add an extra subfolder or two—that’s fine! A good process is one that works for you, so create whatever landing places make sense for your business.
Consistency is Key
If you click our 01_Clients folder, you’ll find an alphabetical listing of folders with client names. If you take this route, consistency is everything. Every single client folder needs to be named the same—either the client’s name or the business name. This will help you scroll quickly to the folder you’re looking for.
Once you click the client name, a new set of subfolders will appear:
A Simple Numbering System
Again, we use the numbering system here to display the folders in the order that we want them to appear and in a way that makes sense for our design process. Even these folders can hold—you guessed it—more subfolders. For instance, inside the 01_Logos folder, you might find subfolders for logos in Color and Black + White. If you click one of those folders, you’ll find a listing that should look familiar by now:
01_Full Brand Name
So, if we needed to access Lexi Westergard’s brand pattern for some pretty print collateral, we would select 01_Clients > Lexi Westergard Design > 01_Logos > 09_Pattern and we would have exactly what we need on-hand with no frantic searching.
I know that was a lot of information, but your business likely requires a lot of information, too! Efficient businesses are built on efficient processes. Make the time investment on the front-end so you’ll have more room for the aspects of your business that you enjoy in your daily routine. And speaking of routine, if we’ve piqued your interest in effective processes, check out our comprehensive guide here.
For more information on creative business strategy, check out these posts:
- How to Run a Creative Business
- Branding Your Portfolio
- What to Do When Instagram Goes Down
- Why Your Interior Design Brand Needs a Media Kit
- Optimizing your Interior Design Portfolio for Pinterest
- How to Get Your Work Published
The Identité Collective is a full-service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help brands built around beautiful living elevate their digital presence to represent the physical spaces they design. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.