If finally finding the files you need within seconds doesn't spark joy, I don't know what does.
A naming convention is like a framework for naming your files. It describes the what, when and who of your file. This can be applied to any file, be it a Sketch-file, a Word-document or an Excels-sheet.
Using a naming convention for your files helps you find the right document faster, makes it easier for you to collaborate with colleagues and students, speeds up your workflow and is a great help for version control and managing your files.
The two most important things to consider when naming your files is:
Whatever naming convention you choose, be consistent so you'll get into the practice faster and find your documents more easily. Give your files meaningful names that show the contents, status or structure of a file at a glance.
Ways to name your file
There are many ways to find a naming framework that suits your needs. Depending on the project and if you're working alone or in a team, you can add info like company or the name of your project but try to keep the framework as short as possible.
You could add the following information to your file name:
- Type (for example: wireframe, mockup, userflow etc)
- Subcategory or subject
- YYYY-MM-DD date (general-to-specific approach, read more about it here)
Most of them time I opt for something like:
<Subject> - <Type> - <Project> - <Date> - <Initials> - <Version>.
Indeed, I follow a specific-to-general approach in my naming here because it helps me to quickly find the right file in a folder. Look at this example:
In this example, all filenames start with the project name. When I open this folder, I can't see the difference between each file at first glance.
In this examples, all filenames start with the subject. It is immediately clear what the content of the file is.
Step up your game
When your naming convention game is strong, you might consider structuring your whole workflow to work more efficiently. For example:
- Learn how to organise your files and folders
- Structure your Sketch-files with correct naming for artboards, layers and symbols. Read more about that in this article: Workplace Hygiene in Sketch.
- Whenever you work on designs in a team, you might consider using tools to keep a history log and version control like Abstract. Or switch to tools like Figma that allow you to easily work together in the same file in real-time without overwriting each other's work.
- Read how UX/UI Design agency Clay organises their files in this article: How to organize files in a design agency