Brendan Dawes
The Art of Form and Code

My File Naming Convention

Over the years I've had a pretty loose approach to naming files. When you've got deadlines often times you're not concerned with how a file should be named — you just need to get it saved and into your project.

Recently though I've employed a new file naming convention as I wanted a more structured approach so I can easily search and find files pertaining to a client or a particular piece of work.

There's no great revelation here, but wanted to share my approach in case others find it useful.

The approach is in some way inspired by the makeup of a URL, only this time using hyphens and underscores instead of slashes. The structure looks like this:


In use this might look like this:


Civic is the agency, Airbnb is the client, Local Murmurs is the project and Technical Manual is the description of the file. You may not have the agency part, it may just be client or whatever but you get the idea. I don't use any dates as this is built into the file anyway. All spaces are removed and I don't use any dots apart from the extension, so it plays nicely with the command line.

Using this system it means the name of the file always carries context around with it, so for example, if a file that should reside in a specific client folder gets moved, you still have reference to that client name regardless of where it is.

When I first started to use this technique I wanted to rename a load of files using this strategy. To do that I used A Better Finder Rename 10 — a great little app for renaming files, plus it can do some useful things like adding image dimensions to file names.

Of course if you're exporting files for use on a website then this approach is too long winded. This naming convention is pretty much for anything else. I've found since employing this technique there's comfort in having things organised in a system and I can find things easier and quicker — which means more time for me to concentrate on creating the work.