In our most recent Podcast the team took on the topic of organisation for Graphic Designers.

We know, it doesn't sound like the most exciting of skills for designers BUT being more organised will give you the opportunity to spend more time working on the fun stuff! 

woman working Skills for Designers

Skills for designers: keep those files organised! 

If you are anything like me thinking about file labelling does not fill you with excitement. It's easy to get carried away when you work and not name things properly. You might think 'I'll get round to doing that' but when you get back later everything looks a mess and it's not clear what's what!

Why tidy files are important: 

  • It makes work easy to find. 
  • Stops you saving over old work you may want to revisit. 
  • Minimises the chance of you working on an older version of the design.
  • Means you are less likely to loose work.
  • Keeps your computer tidy. 
  • Stops you using too much storage on your computer. 
  • It's generally much less stressful to look at tidy working files!
Skills for Designers

Our Tips:

  • Have a system 

Keep separate projects in their own folders.
Within these folders split the work up into subsections which make sense to you i.e

- Working files
- PDFs
- Client Input
- Final Designs

  • Don't over think it! 

The system does not need to be crazy complicated. If you are stuck start simple and separate the types of file you work with i.e:

- Adobe Working files
- PDFs

From here you will get the hang of it and know what else you need to add.

For a more in depth discussion on this topic
check out the full podcast.

  • Stick to the system! 

Once you come up with a format which works for you stick to it!

Use it for every project you take on. If you are inconsistent it will make it harder to know where to look when you need some work. 

  • Name ​everything properly

Hate to break it to you guys but 'final, last final and 100% final' doesn't make a good filing system. We have all been there.

Try using V1 V2 V3... in your final naming system (v stands for version.) Avoid using long file names you will be less likely to stick to the format. 

  • Back up your work

Now everything is organised make sure it is backed up. You can do this on an external hard drive or to a cloud based platform. Or both.

Choose what works for you and get everything important saved in at least 2 places! 

Keep an eye on the time!

Sometimes it can be hard to manage your time when working on creative tasks and it can also be hard to get started on new projects.

In our professional careers we waste time giving too much attention to some projects and avoiding other (usually new) projects.

It happens, don't be hard on yourself and keep reading for more skills for designers.

Image for Skills for Designers

Our Tips:

  • Try to prioritise

As creatives we tend to start with the tasks that are the most fun or find the easiest.

Sometimes this is fine and gets us warmed up for the harder jobs.

It can be a problem though if you push back work that is urgent. Before you start work plan your day or week around deadlines or goals.

List things in order of urgency and importance.

  • Don't over think it! 

Yup this also applies here. Try not to get stressed out over thinking the structure of your tasks. 

They are not set to stone and you can always have a rethink if something takes more time etc.

It's about being aware of your workload and the timeframe you have.

  • Use time management tools

At YES we all use the management tool Monday and absolutely love it!

You can plan your tasks in advance for the week or month. See what you have started working on, add links/resources and even set deadlines.

It's so customisable we would recommend it to any creative professional and it has some great extra features for teams! 

  • Get 1% done

Finding it hard to start something? Do you procrastinate instead? It's normal don't worry.

Take a leaf out of Martins books and just do 1% of the task. Once that's out of the way you are much more likely to work on the rest of the task.

It sounds crazy but it works, try it out!

For a more in depth discussion on this topic check out the full podcast where we also mention messaging tool Slack.

Organisation like any skill is about practise and once you get good at it you will save time, stop loosing work, equipment will last longer and hopefully you will avoid that stressful desktop hunt for the right file. Experiment and find what works for you! 

We hope you enjoyed this post and hopefully you had the time to also listen to the Podcast!

Let us know what you think in the comments below and check out this post if you want to learn more skills for designers! 

About the author 

Emily Melling

Emily Melling studied a degree in Visual Communication, after graduating she became a freelance graphic designer, specialising in Branding & Identity. She enjoys developing working relationships with clients and other creatives who are open to exploring new and innovative ideas.

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