May 31, 2016
Cover Your Assets: Save Time & Money with DAM
When you deposit money in the bank, you decide which account it goes into—checking, savings, or somewhere else. You do this for a very simple reason: So that your money will be there when you need it.
Digital assets should be treated with the same handling and care as your hard-earned cash. If you can’t find your assets when you need them, you’re wasting time and energy, and not just your own time/energy but the time/energy of everyone on your team. It’s a trickle-down effect of inefficiency. Yay!
In this era of digital proliferation, many creative professionals still structure their data based on haphazard, disorganized file folder structures and naming conventions. And increasingly, this is a huge workflow dilemma. We’re accruing assets at an alarming rate and our organization skills are simply not keeping up with the onslaught.
Here are some tips for setting up folder structures that can help you (and your team) find assets quickly, work more efficiently, and save money:
- Understand the consequences of spaces and underscores at the beginning of folder names. Placing a space, underscore, or other special characters at the beginning of a folder name will force the folder to “float” to the top of alphabetically sorted lists. This trick can lead to problems since the folder does not appear in its usual place. For example, someone browsing for the “Projects” folder may miss the “_Projects” folder at the top of the list expecting to see it between the “Marketing” and “Research” folders, and end up creating a duplicate “Projects” folder without the underscore in front.
- Use folders as a way of applying keywords. Some DAM systems and search tools will generate keywords based on the folders where files are stored. When setting up your folder structure, think about keywords that would be applied based on folder names. For example, a file in a folder called “Holiday Party” inside the “Events” folder will appear in search results for “holiday”, “party”, or “events.”
- Avoid ambiguous and potentially redundant folders. Try not to create folders with overlapping categories. If you have a top level folder called “Pictures” and another top level folder called “People” you probably don’t want to copy a picture of a person into both folders. Instead eliminate one folder or the other, or place one folder inside of the other. For example, the “Pictures” folder could go inside the “People” folder.
- Create a “template” of empty subfolders. This will allow you to quickly copy and paste the template of subfolders into new folders instead of manually creating each subfolder. For example, every folder created inside the “Projects” folder could use a template of “Artwork”, “Layout”, “Fonts” and “Text” subfolders.
- Replace disorganized folder structures. Start fresh with a new, clean, and well-planned folder structure. This can be done by moving existing items into the correct place within the new structure, or by choosing a cutoff date at which point the old location becomes a read-only archive where any changes must be copied to the new location.
You can do every step on the list above without needing a Digital Asset Manager (DAM). But DAM goes beyond hierarchical structure and provides the ability to tag files with key information (metadata) to help you categorize, organize and retrieve relevant assets when you need them. Save time, money and sanity when trying to make sense of a scattered assortment of images, videos, PDFs, and other digital files by implementing the right DAM solution to help you build a usable library of assets.
It’s not necessarily true that “time is money” but time is definitely a valuable commodity for any creative professional. Use time wisely: spend it focusing on doing great work instead of hunting for missing assets.
Want to learn more about Digital Asset Management Best Practices? Download the DAM Best Practices Guide to see how a DAM solution can be most effectively implemented in your organization.
You can also find out how much you could be saving by using a DAM Solution using the Digital Asset Management ROI Calculator.