The Importance of Naming Conventions

What Are Naming Conventions?

According to the research data management department of the Harvard Medical School, naming conventions, or file naming conventions, are “frameworks for naming your files in a way that describes what they contain and how they relate to other files“. Simple, right? The whole idea behind this concept is to follow a consistent pattern in naming all your files. The benefit is quite obvious – when you name your files in a certain way, then you make them easy to find. Using this logic, programmers have built a plethora of Digital Asset Management (DAM) solutions that cater to the needs of marketing and creative teams.

Recommended readings: File Naming Conventions: What Is the Secret to Successful Ones?, Microsoft’s General Naming Conventions Framework Design Guidelines

Why Are Naming Conventions Important?

1. They Bring Consistency

Consistency is a universal human trait – we love to be organized! Doing so has set us apart from the rest. It is one of the key drivers behind our successes and proliferation as a species. To be organized and consistent shows that you are reliable, and reliability breeds trust. Put them all together, and you get stability. It forms the core of our civilization and has provided us with the necessary foundation, on top of which rest our modern advances and inventions. No wonder, then, that categorizing assets in a predictable and consistent way feels right.

2. They Improve Findability/Searchability

Awareness is one of marketing’s core principles and stages. In file naming convention terms, awareness is what we mean when we talk about findability or searchability. Simply put, if you want your materials to be seen, used, and appreciated, you have to make people aware of their existence first.

And what better way to do so than to provide those concerned with the predictability they require to find what they are looking for easily? Like we mentioned before, predictability is your best asset – and naming conventions, when done right, help create a network of assets that puts ease of search at its forefront.

3. They Offer Transparency

When you have naming conventions that you have thoughtfully constructed and consistently applied. To keep things running smoothly, it’s important that everyone can find the right items quick and easy. Every person has a different way of doing things, and some follow a stricter structure than others. So formalize it.

Create a standard naming convention for your assets, so everyone uses a common language when they refer to projects and campaigns. Such transparency means that everyone knows where each file is kept and how they can find it.

What’s the Best Way to Organize Your Work?

The naming conventions framework you need largely depends on the nature of your business. Let the industry you are in dictate the vocabulary and abbreviations you use. To that end, you may wish to consult our list of potential elements to include:

  • Content Title – Consider what naming format you wish to give your assets. Are you using abbreviations or spelling out words? Do you include spaces, hyphens, or dashes between words?
  • Content Medium – You wish to include what type of content your asset falls under, like landing page, blog post, campaign email, article etc.
  • Date of Creation – Here, you may want to mention year, month, and date.
  • Date of Modification – It is worth to have a think about whether you wish to replace dates on your assets by last modified.
  • Project Name – Adding the name of a project to an asset can help with finding assets that belong to the same initiative in an instant. A downside to this is how it can be tricky to name an asset belonging to many different projects.
  • Client Name – Where applicable, adding your client’s name makes it quicker to find everything you have worked on for a specific client at a glance.

What Is an Example of Naming Conventions?

Let’s say you work for a creative agency that deals with multiple clients every week. A beneficial naming convention framework can look like this:

  1. Create a separate folder for each of your clients on your desktop.
  2. Add sub folders for each content medium, like web, printed, email, PR, in each folder.
  3. Include a separate sub folder for each content medium project, e.g. Website Rebrand.
  4. Add one or more sub folders that categorizes content by year, month, and content sub type.
  5. Compress all your wonderful work into a single, zipped file so you can share everything quickly.

What are some tactics you use for naming your files and folders?

Lytho helps you streamline your entire workflow and harmonize all brand collateral under a single, uniform platform. Feel free to reach out to us by scheduling a demo and learning how our creative solutions can boost the effectiveness of your creative projects. We look forward to speaking with you!