[thelist] file management practices for design shops

Andy Warwick mailing.lists at creed.co.uk
Mon Nov 5 16:47:44 CST 2001

On 2001-11-02 at 14:16, bart at archrival.com (Bart Johnston) wrote:

> Hey everybody,
> Lately, I've been trying to establish some solid file management practices
> for the design firm I work for, and I'm curious about some of the solutions
> that some of you out there might have come up with.


>but what I'm really more interested in are naming schemes

Big can of worms this, and will probably generate a lot of replies. For what
it's worth, over many years we've come up with the following naming scheme.

  Photoshop file, saved in native format with all layers intact and in RGB:
  'Flattened' image, saved as CMYK and sharpened:
  'Flatterned' image, save as RGB and shrunk to 72dpi
In the flattened images, the coding is at follows:

    example_file_name_<quality><color mode>_<size in MB>.<filetype>
So for the 'quality' position we have a subjective statment of a file's quality.
This allows up to grade a file we didn't create, or have rezzed up from a
low-res original.

    H - High, usually generated on site or scanned from good original
    M - Medium, usually supplied by third party or from 35mm trannie
    L - Low, maybe a 72 dpi original changed to 300 dpi, or from a print.
The 'color mode' indicates what the file's color mode is.

    C - CMYK
    S - Screen (RGB) - for multimedia, web and powerpoint
    G - Greyscale
    M - Mono - black and white
    246 - Pantone 246
The size is in MB, and is the size as indicated in photoshop after any
decompression. A JPEG may be 200K on disk, but once opened it may be a 15MB
file; it would be coded as '_15.jpg'

This allows us to look at a filename and get a rough idea of how large it can be
used. A '_01.jpg' file, for instance, would be fine on a website, but not on a

Using this coding, the filename stays the same for all versions of the file, and
the suffix section changed depending on size, color-depth, resolution and

  Small, web logo in greyscale
  Same logo in hi-res CMYK for print
  Same logo in vectorline as pantone color
    logo_name_H246_V.eps (V is a wildcard to indicate a vector file)
  Same logo in hi-res CMYK for print, but from a poor original
The advantages of this are we can use applescript and isolate portions of the
filename (working from the back to the front), to automate conversions and
renaming tasks.

Of course, the exact coding can be whatever you want; you might want to use 'P'
instead of 'C', for 'Press' instead of 'CMYK'.

The key to the system is isolating sections to make searching easy, and
revealing info about the file without opening it when you are looking through
backup catalogues or printed file lists.


Andy Warwick

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