File Naming Conventions

Recently I’ve been working behind the scenes trying to come up a file naming convention that will receive formal support. I could play on the “designers are unorganized” stereotype here, but I won’t. Working in a mixed designer/developer shop you come to better understand the varying mindset that we all have in naming our files. Some of us use version numbers to differentiate documents, others use dates or letters. At this point the naming is dependent on the designer(s) assigned to the project. This can become a real issue when many designers come and go on a project, as well as when multiple designers work concurrently together. Can we always rely on the “modified” date? Of course not. The mobile nature of files, being copied from station to station removes this possibility.

So with the stage set, I am leaning on proposing a format similar to the following:

  • <version>.<revision>.<document_name>.<file_extension>
  • 01.00.mockup-a.psd

Coming from the code side, this is something that makes sense to me. I’m likely to modify this structure as I continue to talk to some of the designers, but I think it’s a good start. I see some clear benefits, including: automatic sorting and identification of latest files, removal of useless/confusing information like the designer’s name and date, and standardised document names (mockup, home, etc.).

While this process is sure to drag on through a number of dicussions and revisions, I’m looking forward to getting a standard in place and moving on to my next push – PhotoShop layer comps.

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