I’ve been tasked with revamping my company’s file structure, and right now it’s a mess. Each project starts with a project template, which contains 151 subfolders. Here is a screen shot of the current directory tree:
As designers, we catch a lot of flak for not adhering to the standard folder structure, but it’s just too confusing, there are just way too many folders. So here are my questions:
How many folders does your default project file structure have?
What does it look like?
What are the biggest pain points you have using it?
For the files themselves:
Do you organize by file type, or point in the development process?
Do you rely on a naming convention? If so, what is it?
If you don’t rely on a naming convention, do you rely on subfolder organization? If so, please go into detail?
Lastly, if anyone has done something like this before, where they have been tasked with changing a file structure that a lot of people use, how did it go? Have any tips? Any reference material I can read?
Does your company have a project management software that projects are run through? Or is everything run on a ‘which folder is it in’ basis? I’m not sure how you are supposed to manually manage files with 151 different folders to choose from!
So depending on the stage the project is in depends on the folder set up. the one i use (and cut and past) the moment i start a project is attached.
When i saw yours i was simply overwhelmed - my rule of thumb is that a person who is not on the project should be able to open the system and get to the files. Like a website the fewer clicks the better.
We don’t organize based on time since there are many subphases of each phase as well as phases pertaining to other parts of the project running through all other phases. We do organize based on the type of file - concept work, analysis, design (CAD) work or engineering work - but within that we don’t clearly separate phases. Then for CAD we separate incoming and exported files from native files. Also you need different folders for different types of graphic work with temporary folders, folders for raw output/input and folders for workfiles (psd, ai, tiff etc).
We have strict file naming policies for 3D files as well based on industry guidelines. Also for files used for 3D printing, since these often go through many adjustments and conversions. We could not do without these policies!
Yes, seconded. It looks like most of your folder structure is information based. Documents, etc, not necessarily something that needs to be accessible to everyone, or that someone requires a seat of special software to access (Solidworks, for example). And I’m just guessing here…
You could look into something like Microsoft SharePoint for document storage per project, or even something like Trello or Asana for managing that information and assigning tasks to people. I’m currently facing a similar battle on my list of things to tackle in the next year, so I’d be interested to see how you solve this problem.