Staying organized is necessary to be efficient in completing your graphic design work on schedule. With the advancement of technology, you can now use many tools to help you organize files. They’re useful for when you’re doing individual work, as well as when you’re collaborating with colleagues. Here are some useful tips on how to organize your work effectively as a designer.
1. Burn designer work on DVDs
It can be really heavy to save disk space on a PC as a media file. You can save space by burning old designer work on a DVD. Find one that’s blank and insert it into your optical drive. There should be a burn disc wizard that appears on your screen. Title it and choose the USB flash drive option. After clicking Next, search for the file you want to add to the disc, open the drive with your DVD-R, and drag and drop files in it. Once you’ve added your designer work, click the Manage tab, and then Eject. You’ll have all the old logos, design templates, and other design work you’ve completed in one place. Free DVD burning software can also be useful in burning your designer work. If that interests you, you can find out more information about a free discs burner.
2. Save in real-time through Google Drive
Create a live design document on Google Drive, instead of creating it on your computer to upload later. When you save it on Google Drive, every time you’re working on your design, the document will update and save in real time. Additionally, with the files accessible on the drive, any team members will be able to access them to show to a client when necessary. It’s an effective tool for collaboration, as it allows people to work on projects simultaneously and from anywhere with an Internet connection. You’ll be allowed 15 GB for free with your Gmail account.
3. Develop a folder system
A folder system can make locating the files you need a lot easier. You can create a mock folder that can be copied on your desktop and your personal Google Drive as well. You’ll be able to easily drag and drop formats to your server and save time. You won’t have to continually recreate a personal folder system. In most cases, when you create a design file for a client, you generally have to make numerous edits, or sometimes, start over. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean you have to delete the older versions of your work. You can save your files as “versions” to be able to refer to previous work. Be sure to use names for your files that will make any old versions you’re looking for easily identifiable.
Examples of filing folders you can have include client input, business, assets, design, and production. In your client input folder, this is where you can put everything you get from your client during the project, such as documents, files, and notes. A business folder can have all information related to schedules, proposals, quotes, estimates, and anything else business-related. An assets folder can be where you store all your icons, vectors, photos, and any other design element you utilize to put together your designs. Your design folder can have your design files you’re working on. You can store all the revision stages of the design work. Lastly, a production folder can hold all final files that will be delivered to your client. In the case of print projects, you can store the prepress files that will be sent to a printer, such as PDF fonts.
4. Make use of shortcuts and templates
It’s helpful to know shortcuts for your operating system and your programs to get your work done more efficiently. Adobe software has a variety of keyboard shortcuts that can be used for your designs. It may vary which keys you press depending on the type of device you’re using. One example is the shortcut to close all your open documents, except the one you’re currently working on. For Windows, you press the keys Ctrl + Alt + P, and for macOS, you press Command + Option + P. In addition, in Photoshop and Illustrator, you can create actions that can help you better automate your tasks.
5. Use a calendar or planner
Many designers use Google Calendar to be better organized. You can set up alerts to keep you on track with the specific tasks you need to get done in your day. You can also put down any scheduled project meetings or due dates for your work. Another tool you might find useful to try is Evernote. It’s an app that’s designed for task management, organizing, archiving, and note-taking. You can create notes that can be text, drawings, audio, photographs, or saved web content. The notes can be annotated, searched, edited, tagged, exported, and given attachments. Be mindful that while Evernote is free, there are monthly usage limits.
Trello is another common free app that designers use. It allows you and your colleagues to contribute screenshots, notes, images, and links to a project. Tasks can be labeled with different statuses such as To Do, In Progress, and Done. Nonetheless, if you prefer a more old-fashioned approach, you can use a physical calendar, planner, or notebook to schedule and make notes for your design work.
6. Back files up regularly
Perhaps one of the more overlooked ways to stay organized is keeping all of your files backed up. If your computer were to be damaged and you couldn’t get it to function again, you’d no longer have any files organized to complete your design work. If you use Google Drive, it will automatically create a backup of all your files on Google Cloud if anything should happen to them. You also have the option of using a USB drive, a DVD, or Dropbox.
Doing work as a graphic designer will involve keeping track of many different files as you’re working on one or multiple projects. It can quickly get overwhelming if you don’t have some form of organization. You can utilize all of these tips to help you stay organized in your work and be successful in completing it.