Graphic Design Lesson: Tips for File Organization

January 20, 2010

Quit laughing.

“File organization? Really?”

“Yes, really.”

You would be surprised on how many times I see designers have files in multiple places. They’ll have the InDesign document on the desktop, all the artwork from Illustrator and Photoshop are in their Documents folders and such…this happens to be a horrible way to work.

First things first. You should always work from one directory. Then organize things from there. What I usually do is create a new folder on the desktop, and then I’ll place the indesign file in the folder, then place all the artwork for it in another folder inside the directory. This way, you won’t lose files in case you just need that one file.

Now one might think that just keeping your files organized is good enough, but they’re wrong! Regardless of which Adobe program you’re using…

…always organize your layers!!!

Name each layer for whatever piece of art is on that layer. This way, if you need to make changes, you’ll know exactly where they are. Also, instead of deleting objects on your artwork, keep it on a different layer. There will be a time when you might resort to that artwork you had just deleted.

Then if you’re strictly working in InDesign, package your artwork when you’re done and make a backup of where all the artwork originally is. To do this, go to File->Package. What this does is that it grabs all the artwork and organizes it for you in a single folder. BUT be warned. I have seen many cases where this feature doesn’t grab all the artwork. So double check to see if it did. It might take a long time do it, but that’s what you need to do for perfection. 😉

That does it,
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