File Management for Designers

A simple yet comprehensive organizational system

Neil Shankar
May 8, 2018 · 4 min read


I use this organizational system to accomplish the following:

  • Document the entire design process
  • Share WIP and deliverable vector files & exports
  • Track and share outlinks

Example: Android Things
  • We had two launch stages with completely different designs.
  • We frequently shared files with our client (the Android Things strategy team), the photo rep agency Apostrophe, and the prop studio Figure Plant.
  • We had three designers on this account: Laura Polkus, Andres Acero, and myself.


At the start of every project, I create a “masterdoc” in Google Docs where I curate all relevant outlinks for the project. This includes links to briefs, decks, references, inspiration, Gallery projects, etc.

  • Writing — I want to keep notes and deadlines in the same place as my outlinks.
  • Hierarchy—When using browser bookmarks, it can be cumbersome to deal with heavily-nested folders. I prefer scanning a doc.

Directory structure

After I make the masterdoc, I create a new directory in Google Drive for the project. I use Backup and Sync, so this directory is auto-synced with my local machine. This lets me quickly share Drive links for particular files directly from Finder.

  • before/after—Screenshots of production/live site
  • assets—Logos, colors, etc. (usually provided by client)
  • deliverables—Complete handoff directory (for client & dev)
  • mocks—Iterations/exports (named v1 & v2 above)


For redesigns, it’s important to document the existing website to reference in a future case study or portfolio presentation. I recommend using a Chrome extension that allows you to take 1-click whole-page screenshots. If you forget to take screenshots beforehand, you might have some luck with the Wayback Machine.

Export naming

I categorize my exports by UI page type. The directory names correspond 1-to-1 with the page names in my master Sketch file.

  • Preserves past iterations without cluttering my master vector files
  • Provides a quick response to “Have you tried…?” questions from client

Your structure

This is the organizational structure that works for me. Rather than prescribing it to you, I hope this gives you the insight to create a system that works for you.

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Neil Shankar

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UI designer by trade. Front-end developer by training.

Google Design

Stories by Googlers on the practice of design. For editorial content and more visit