How to organize Projects in Abstract

Alden Spence
Jul 30, 2018 · 4 min read

A great time to establish a structure and system that scales with your team is when you’re setting up an Organization in Abstract. At the file level, this might look like naming conventions for art boards, symbols, or file structure. At a higher level, agreeing on how you’ll use Projects will impact how your teams will operate in the future. In this post, we’ll cover a couple of common ways that internal design teams and client-facing teams set up Projects.

Types of Projects

Projects are how we organize our files, branches, commits, collections, and feedback. They’re essentially an organizational layer for what you’re working on.

Team Projects
Each organization can create a Team Project to organize their work and initiatives. Some organizations use Team Projects to manage specific products or platforms, and others use them to separate client work. A Team Project is accessible to all members of their respective organization. You can also invite guests to Team Projects.

Private Projects
For organizations on Abstract’s Business or Enterprise plans, Private Projects are available. A Private Project is only accessible to members or guests who have been specifically invited. Private Projects are a great way to work on client-facing work or a top secret mission.

Personal Projects
When you join an Organization on Abstract or set up a new one, a Personal Organization is created for you by default. Any Projects you create in this space are Personal Projects; you’re the only person who can access them. Since they’re limited to a single user, you can use Private Projects as a playground for testing new ideas and ways of working within Abstract. You can belong to as many Organizations as you’d like and carry your same username and work in your Personal Org with you in Abstract.

Using Projects for Internal Design Teams

With internal teams, we frequently see two main use cases. While there is no perfect way to set up Projects for your team, these two examples can serve as a good starting point.

Projects by Platform
One of the more popular ways teams set up their Projects is by platform. For example, Abstract is available on two platforms today, as a desktop Mac Application and as a Web App. These platforms share some of the same symbols, which can be accessed through a Linked Library. Teams will keep iOS, Mac, and or other platform’s respective files separate in their own Projects. This method is a simple, repeatable structure, for an Organization with a handful of products used across multiple application platforms.

Sketch files for each Platform of a product are organized into these platform specific Projects.

Pros: Clear space for different platform variations of your product. Keeps most files and work in the same place without creating large files with variations of the product across multiple platforms. Consolidation and simplicity to help scale.

Cons: Potentially large project size depending on the product. Less granular organization at the project level.

Projects by Feature
For teams focused on driving a single product forward, we see Projects structured by Feature. This works really well for large teams that are each focused on different aspects of a product. It also provides a more immediate layer of orientation at the Project level for the team and new users.

One Design System Project for my Linked Libraries and then Feature-based projects for different parts of my team’s product. 🧙‍

Pros: More granular organization at the Project Level. Potential to have smaller projects sizes, with more focused projects.

Cons: May require a discussion with your team about changes to your existing workflow, optimal naming conventions, and where/how you separate your files.

Projects by Client
For teams at agencies, we typically see clients invited to Private Projects as Guest Viewers. Users, external to your company, invited to a Private Project will only have visibility and access to that Project. Internal team members you work with will be able to see all Team Projects and Private Projects they belong to as well.

Private Projects, create clear spaces for client work and visibility

Syncing Projects

In the Abstract Mac App, users can choose which projects are synced locally. We recommend only syncing the Projects you’re active in. When using Abstract in the browser, you don’t need to sync Projects to your desktop as everything is already on the server. For more information on how to sync Projects, check out this step-by-step guide.

Does your team have an interesting way to structure projects? If so, join our Spectrum community and tell us about it. 👍

If you have additional questions about how your team could use Projects in Abstract, Contact Us or visit our Help Center for more info.

Haven’t tried Abstract yet? Sign up for a
free 30-day trial 😉.

Originally published at on July 30, 2018.


Alden Spence

Written by

Breaker of things at Abstract 🌪



A platform for modern design teams to work together.

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