Many people overlook the importance of organization, but without it, there can be complete chaos. For designers, organization should be a way of life. Some of the benefits of being organized include reducing stress, increased productivity, keeps you focused, saves time, and in the end can gain you or the company money. Being organized also shows that you are professional.
No matter if you are designing a poster to creating a full ad campaign you need to be organized. There are layers and layers of information in files and if not organized you can create a lot of unnecessary stress. Also, when it comes to handing off the design to the producers or directors it needs to be organized. If it is not organized they will not be able to understand the files or design. There are a few things that can help organize your files, have a system to name your files, create a separate document for copy, create a checklist for the design, and make sure you package your files.
Name your files. Everyone has their own way to organize files, but as designers, we need to realize that other people will need to understand our file system. As a result, designers need to create a simple way to organize files. By keeping it simple and consistent when naming it, it makes it easier for others to understand the filing system.
Have a separate document for copy. To stay organized and not lose anything it is a good idea to create separate documents for the copy. Copy gets looked over when designing and the best way to spell and grammar check is placing the copy in a word or drive document.
If there is a lot of copy, organize it in a thoughtful way, creating an excel sheet with columns can help. For websites, you can create columns that are title banners, home page content, then place the message in the next column. This way you are more organized. You should have all the copy documented when you sharing designs with your product managers or other partners.
Create a checklist for the design. To stay organized create a checklist for your design, from big to small designs you may miss something. By creating a checklist you can keep up to date and not miss deadlines for projects. You can create an easy checklist in excel where you have a column for action items, the status of the design, whos working on it, the link and placement of the design, platform that the project is on, and a comment section. By doing this it keeps you organized and less stressed.
Make sure you package your files. Lastly, one of the most important parts of being organized is packaging your files. You want to be able to open your file on any computer and have all your links from photos to fonts. You don’t want to have your product managers open your file and have to call you to relink all of your links in the document. By packaging your files correctly you save time and money for both you and the company, creating a more productive environment.
Graphic Created by Danielle Kirk