Staying Organized with Graphic Design — Tips and Tricks for Organizing Your Small Business Life

by Cassie Green July 5, 2016
July 5, 2016

Staying organized while designing can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.

Staying organized — a few methods I use

I’ve learned the value of staying organized.

It boils down to this — it keeps me on track while working on design projects.

One of my favorite parts of working here is that we use a variety of tools, tools that let us work more efficiently as a web design and marketing team.

Let me give you a few tips that I’ve picked up for personal organization.

Get Yourself Some Resources

We use many different resources here for organization, but here are a few of my favorites:

  • Google Drive/Gmail/Google Calendar (file organization and sharing)
  • Slack (instant messaging)
  • Asana (project management)

Let’s talk about these in detail.

Uploading Files to Google Drive or Your Server

I always create a live design document on our server in Google Drive (rather than creating it on my computer then uploading later).

By saving it on Google Drive, the design file I’m working on will automatically update with each save in real time.

Also, by uploading these files to the drive, I can ensure that any document any team member may need to show to a client will be accessible at their convenience—it’s polite!

Google Drive is a great tool for collaboration—it allows people to effectively collaborate on projects simultaneously, and you can access it from anywhere (as long as you have an internet connection).

It’s great for project management, and you start with 15GB free with your gmail account.

Most importantly, it automatically creates a backup for all your files on the Google Cloud should anything happen to them (heaven forbid!)

Establish a Folder System

By establishing a folder system, you can save yourself a lot of grief.

I created a mock folder that is available for copying both on my personal google drive and desktop—that way, I can easily drag and drop the same format to our server and save tons of time.

By not having to continually recreate my personal folder system, the amount of time saved adds up.

Whenever creating a design file for a client, I often have to make edits or go back to the drawing board, but that doesn’t mean I delete the older versions.

I always save my files as “versions” so I can refer to previous work. Do not name your files “new new” or “newest” or “final” — and if you do, good luck figuring it out later!

By naming your files something like “logo v3,” or, “image 1.2” you can easily identify while file is the most recent.

Use Shortcuts and Templates

Though it can take a little time, learning shortcuts for both your operating system and the programs you use most can save you a LOT of time!

This includes learning keyboard shortcuts for any of the Adobe software I use for my designs or simply creating templates from artboards for repeat use.

For instance, in Photoshop and Illustrator, you can create actions to help you automate tasks.

Bookmarks are another great way to get organized (and stay that way)!

Keeping my Bookmarks menu neatly organized, based upon my project needs, helps me spend more time on the project itself.

I create folders for specific clients whenever gathering visual inspiration. That way, I don’t have to waste time looking for a particular poster, piece of architecture, or website again.

How do YOU Stay Organized?

Staying organized is key in projects; hopefully these tips can help you apply your own ideas for staying organized, but I’m always looking for new ways to save time!

What tips and tricks do you use to take control of your projects?

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