Andrew Maxwell

How to organize clients files on your computer

February 25, 2010

Over the years I have learned a lot about setting up a design business and I want to share the way that we organize our clients files.

I feel that there are some great resources out there that guide you to setting up a business but one thing no one teaches you is, how to setup the files on your computer.

Being able to find files quickly as easily is one of the key successes to running a business. Setting up a streamlined work flow has helped me create projects faster, easier and with less stress.

Below I have created a tree diagram that shows the core folder structure we use at Heka Interactive. These folders can change a little to fit a particular client.

  • Client or Project Name
  • Advertisements
    • Year
      • Month
  • Banner Ads
  • Documents
    • Year
      • Month
  • Logos
    • Current
    • Archived
      • Date
  • SEO
    • Year
      • Month
  • Website
    • Current
    • Archived
      • Date
  • Website Content
    • Year
      • Month
  • Website Design
    • Date

Client or Project Name:
This is the root folder with the clients name (if it is one project) or project name if it is dedicated website or project.

If a client deals with ads being manually added to their website, I keep them separated by the year then the month that we received them. This helps track down an ad easily if we need to look it up again for any reason.

Banner Ads:
This is the location where we keep any banners that we create for a client.

This is where we store any documents provided by a client, such as: Request for proposals, Background information, or sitemaps.

If a client has a logo or has us create a logo for them we keep them here. We keep the current version in the current folder and any archived versions in the archived folder, separated by the date we archived it.

Since Search engine optimization is an on going thing we separate our SEO content by year, and then month. In these folders we keep any keywords, stats that we save from Google Analytics, and any research that we have done for the client.

We keep working versions of all clients files in the current folder, this allows us to make changes on the fly and then upload them to the server once we feel that the file is ready. Before we upload any file on-line we make sure we have a current back up of that file(s) we are working with. We keep archives of the files by the date we archived them. This makes it possible to have multiple archives so that we can roll-back to any version in case of a problem or change in direction from the client.

Website Content:
We keep all articles, copy, videos and images that a client provides to use that they would like put up on-line to their website. We separate these files by the year, then month that they were provided. We keep the content of the website separate from the website code and design.

Website Design:
We store all website designs (usually PSD’s, Fireworks PNG’s or IIllustartor files) here separated by the date we created them or the date that they were provided to us (we work with multiple graphic designers). This makes it possible to have multiple design revisions and ensures that we are working with the most up to date version.

Our folder structure is always evolving and has changed over the years. As my company grows and as we learn more from other people and from ourself, we change the folders to fit our needs. Though our folder structure does change, these core folders remain the same.

I am interested in seeing how other designers and business owners setup their folder structure for their clients. So, if you have a folder structure that you use then please share. I am always looking to learn new ways to keep our files organized.

I have attached a zip file of the folder structure we use.
Our folder structure usually deals with website designs and development.

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