A good go-to naming convention for files?

Anyone have a good go-to system for naming files? I've realized that's always been a bit of a weaker part of my workflow.

Edit: Talking specifically design project files, but feel free to share information others may find helpful too!


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  1. Depends on what the files are like. Generally you would want to replace all spaces with a special character and stick to simple English characters without diacritical marks. Typical conventions for code are usually either kebab case (hello-world), snake case (hello_world), camel case (helloWorld) or Pascal case (HelloWorld, same as camel but with an uppercase initial character). This often depends on the programming language used in the project, in javascript you would typically use camel case, python uses snake case etc. For general other file naming, I like kebab case, it's what's used on the web in URLs and is great for searching locally.

  2. Great point, I'm sure it varies by the files. I'm talking for design projects.

    My go-to has been: macrocampaign_subcampaign_project_vXX. For example: Mario_supermarioworld_world1_v1.

    The trap I've been falling into lately is I'll make changes that necessitate a new PDF, but not a new version of the file, so my _vXX's get wildly out of synch. I suppose I could add a sub-version (_v1_sv1) or something. Probably splitting hairs, but that's what lead me to ask the question.

  3. I break everything down by date personally and I use good naming conventions. People always get caught up in this but I stopped caring. Works for me. Allows me to open up a project that I haven't touched in months and just jump in.

    So, something like

  4. I always lead with the date (year first) for easy sorting and recognition:


    And end with VX.x. Big number for major revision, little number if there were small tweaks.

    Usually if I'm working on something solo, the VX.x number doesn't change a whole lot, but if I'm working on something for a client, I'll keep doing save-as and rolling that number in case they want to revert to something I did earlier.

    So, for example:
    2018_07_27 Abstract Wallpapers V6.3

    I'm not terribly strict about underlines versus spaces unless I'm working with a file that has to play nice with Windows, and some of the weirder software I have to work with over there. I've never had a problem with spaces in a filename while working on MacOS.

    "FINAL" is absolutely never a part of my file names.

  5. good point @bk - got into a bad habbit at one point and had .final.final.final-REAL-FINAL lmao

  6. 7
  7. For music projects, I organize everything by quarters - "2018-Q3/project/project_01" where the number at the end increments by ever save at, perhaps with notes like project_76-outro etc.
    Samples are all in folders by years.

  8. I avoid deeply nested file hierarchy if I can help it (gets tiring to organize/maintain and forces you to look through different folders when you need something). I tend to use the following format (no spaces): YYYYMMDD_ProjectName_FileDescription_VersionNumber

    I use incremental saving a lot so you would have files like:

    Kinda wish there was better version control like git but for drawings/visual stuff, but this also gets the job done.

  9. I still use a format I _think_ I stole from the book Bit Literacy…


    It sorts naturally, no need for version numbers, you can append a contributor name or initials w/o disrupting sort, and in most operating systems you can double-click a segment of the filename and it will select just that one.

  10. I use name with underscores and also 2 or 3 digit version numbers depending if it's a long project or not. I don't use the dates b/c its in the info if you click on the file. So a file might look like.


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