File Federation and Naming Conventions

Date your files correctly

Dec05? 5-5-2012? 050512? There is actually a universally correct way to write out a date. It’s an ISO standard (ISO 8601) designed to eliminate the trans-national messiness. In short: [YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]. With the hyphens and everything.

Most of your project files won’t need a datestamp. A datestamp is only neccessary when the contents of the file or folder are temporal in some way… like a server snapshot, a file backup, or a release milestone.

If versioning is important, it should be in version control

If you’re saving backups as you work by including a version number in the filename, you’re doing it wrong.

  • If you’re using versioning because multiple people are working on the file, then it should be in Git or Google Docs so you can track changes.
  • If you’re using versioning because you want to be able to roll back to previous versions if needed, use a local archive solution (software specific tools like Atom’s Live Archive or Illustrator’s Autosaviour might work) or put it in Git.

It’s appropriate to use some sort of incremental numeral when you’re soliciting feedback for something and working with revision rounds. So a video render might be called crn-studentshowcase–web-video-RENDER01.mp4, then the next version sent out that incorporates all the feedback would be crn-studentshowcase–web-video-RENDER02.mp4, etc.

Keep your stuff together

Do you really need separate folders for each iteration of a quarterly project? Is it a good idea to keep the web deliverables and the print deliverables in different project files? Only you know the answer to that. Just take the time to think it through when you’re setting up your folders. Because years from now when someone is looking for all the source files, they’ll probably stop at the first folder they find and assume that’s what they’re looking for.

+-- artifacts 
+-- sketches 
        +-- ac-illo-sketch--lp-banner-04.png
+-- renders 
    +-- ac-illo--media__website--light--RENDER01.jpg
        +-- ac-illo--utility__trophy--trans-RENDER01.svg
+-- source
        +-- ac-illo--utility__james-madison--xs.psd
        +-- ac-illo--utility__lp-explore__single.psd

[Project Code]-[Project Name]–[Categorization]__[Element].extension

Web projects are a special case. These should include a symlink or other reference to the Git repo for the project. Don’t include the repo for a web project inside your project folder. The NPM bundles, libraries, and other working files will make the footprint quickly balloon out of control.

Project Codes

ac =
appc =
crn =
fc =
flack =
fyi =

Naming Elements