How To Organize Design Project Files

 
How To Organize Design Project Files by Nesha Woolery | Freelance designers, freelance writers, freelance photographers | Organize design project assets

So you want to organize your design project files but you’re not sure how to do it without creating millions of folders and over complicating things.

You’re sick of naming your logo designs, ‘final’, ‘final final’, ‘for real final’

You’re constantly clicking ‘save to desktop’ instead of having a real folder system.

And you’re always telling yourself you’ll get round to organizing your files one day but you never do.

 

Well, that day is today and I’m going to help you! I’m a bit of a neat freak when it comes to files and systems, so I’m gonna teach you a simple folder structure you can use for all your design projects. A folder structure that won’t overwhelm you and definitely won’t overwhelm your clients when you hand over their final files.

Watch the video below for a step-by-step tutorial or continue reading to find out more!

Before we get started I'd love for you to download my freebie, The File Organization Blueprint. Every time you come to organize your design project files, you can just look at that blueprint.

 
How To Organize Design Project Files by Nesha Woolery | Freelance designers, freelance writers, freelance photographers | Organize design project assets

My personal preference for saving files is Google Drive, because it makes it really easy to securely store files and access them from any device. But this file organization system will work for you if you use Google Drive, Dropbox, save files to your own computer, or whatever it may be.

First of all I want you to create a folder called clients and inside create a folder for each year. I have folders ranging from 2012 to 2018 because that's how long I've been in business for.

Once you've done that, go inside the 2018 folder and create folders for your current clients. I also want you to create one folder called "Proofs".

Inside your client folder, create two folders called  "Website" and "Branding".


Let's start with the branding folder

Inside the Branding folder, I want you to create folders for each step in your brand design process. For instance, I have folders for:

  • Moodboard
  • Fonts
  • Main logo
  • Logo variations
  • Sub Marks
  • Patterns
  • Brand Elements
  • Assets
  • Style guide

Then you want to number them in the order your branding projects usually go. This will help you keep these folders in order all the time.

Now it's time to create subfolders.

In Moodboard, create two subfolders:

  • Proofs
  • Moodboard

In Fonts, create four subfolders:

  • Proofs
  • Body font
  • Headers
  • Logo

In Main Logo, create three subfolders:

  • Proofs
  • Main logo 1
  • Main logo 2

In Logo Variations, create three subfolders:

  • Proofs
  • Variation 1
  • Variation 2

In Sub Marks, create three subfolders:

  • Proofs
  • Sub mark 1
  • Sub mark 2

In Patterns, create three subfolders:

  • Proofs 
  • Pattern 1
  • Pattern 2

In Brand Elements, create three subfolders:

  • Proofs
  • Brand Element 1
  • Brand Element 2

For the Assets folder, the assets are different for each project, so it could be things like photography, illustrator brushes. I tend to not create subfolders here, because I'm not sure what the assets are going to be for each project. You can organize your assets into subfolders at the end of the project.

I also don't create subfolders for the Style Guide folder, because that's where the client's style guide goes at the end of the project.

Now, remember I created a Proofs folder for each of these main folders?

The Proofs folder is where you'll save all proofs/mockups that you send to the client for revisions. Make sure that when you're naming files, always add the revision number at the end of the file name to help you stay on track.

Save revisions and mockups to the Proof folder, because you'll be sharing all folders EXCEPT Proofs folders with a client at the end of the project. So ONLY final files go inside the official folders like Pattern 1 or Pattern 2 and so on. All of your revisions go in the Revisions folder.

At the end of the project, just move all revisions folders to the Proofs folder you created in your yearly folder at the start of this process. This folder is for your eyes only.

Leave only final files in the Final folder. You can rename some folders, but make them specific when you're sharing them with the client.


Now let's organize the Website folder

In here, I want you to create three folders:

  1. Wireframes
  2. Website Mocksups
  3. Assets

Inside of those folders I want you to create subfolders.

  • In Wireframes, create the subfolder Proofs
  • In Website Mockups, create the subfolder Proofs
  • In Assets, create subfolders for Proofs, Fonts and Images

This organization system works exactly the same as the Branding folder.

Save all of your revisions to the Proofs folder and name all your files with the revision at the end e.g. wireframe rev 1, wireframe rev 2 etc. Your final file, you'd name wireframe_final.

Always save revisions to the Proofs folder, but ONLY save the final files outside of the Proofs folder.

Then at the end, move all the revisions folders into your main Proofs folder. Rename the folder you'll be sharing with your client, check the names of folders and rename some if you wish. Then you can share it with your client and you're done!


If you want an easy way to copy this, download my free ‘Folder Organization Blueprint’. You’ll be able to see at-a-glance how to organize your folders.

How To Organize Design Project Files by Nesha Woolery | Freelance designers, freelance writers, freelance photographers | Organize design project assets
 

Nesha Woolery

I build beautiful brands & websites for passionate entrepreneurs!