STAYING ORGANIZED IN A CREATIVE ENVIRONMENT
Having a lot of projects at hand is not a bad problem to have. Having a lot of projects and being disorganized IS a bad problem to have, but is an easy problem to solve. At ocreations, we deal with many clients at once, and at times we have multiple people working on the same project. How do we stay organized? Here are some of our tips:
Have a Place to Save Everything
If you’re still a student, or just do freelance on the side, using Google Drive or an external hard drive may do the trick. But if you’re a business with multiple employees like ocreations, you may need to look into a server.
Create a Folder System
If you set up a folder system now, you’ll thank us later. Each year we start one big new folder. Within that folder, we have separate folders for each client we take on. Within each client folder, we recommend keeping a separate folder for each main project you work on. From there, each project should have its own file system, which includes separate folders for your main assets (photos, copy, etc.), and each round of revisions, in case you need to ever go back to an older version of a file.
HINT: Make sure you name your files correctly and consistently. Set up a file naming template. For example: “2018-ClientName-ProjectName-version1”
To visually show you, here’s an “outline” style of how we recommend organizing your files in a folder system:
- YEAR (2018)
- Client 1
- Client 2
- Client 3
- Project 1
- Project 2
- Project 3
- Round 1
- Round 2
- Round 3 – FINAL FILE
You do not have to set up your files in this particular way, as every designer or design firm is different. Research into ways other designers like to organize their files, and you may just find something that fits perfectly with your personal organization style!
Why A Filing System Helps
A filing system is rewarding in many ways:
- You’ll feel more confident about your projects and feel more established when speaking to clients about your projects.
- It’s good practice for staying organized in other facets of your life
- It keeps your mind fresh, and elevates your logical thinking and your visual organization skills.
- Your invoices will be more organized and justifiable
- You’ll end up designing better
A few other miscellaneous tips:
- If your clients repeatedly need the same type of file, but different design (i.e. social media graphics each month), make sure to set up templates for all of those repetitive designs. Starting from scratch wastes time you could be spending perfecting your designs!
- If you purchase stock photos or fonts, make sure to have a folder that inventories those types of items.
- Tidy your desktop from time to time to make sure your filing system isn’t missing anything, and to generally declutter your files and let that beautiful monitor background show!
- Don’t forget to empty your trash every once in a while – but also make sure you didn’t accidentally put anything in the trash that you didn’t mean to.
As designers, sometimes we like to just hop right into the creative part of projects. However, it is important to make sure you stay organized. Starting an organizational method is the trickiest part, but once it is all set up, it is super easy to manage. Having a strong sense of organization over your projects will make your design process smoother and less stressful, will make you more confident in your designs, and make you a more reliable designer to work with.