The Downside of Having Massive Design Resources

For those who don’t know, I’m also a Digital Artist. I have a huge collection of Graphic Design resources, but it’s actually too big. Scary big. I dread going through it big. It didn’t start out that way. In the beginning it was manageable, and I knew the names of the designers and kinda which folder an image might be in. But overtime it’s just morphed into this monster. Anytime I need to work on a Digital Art project, I have to brave that beast, going through dozens of folders and hundreds of files to find what I want. Currently, I have these files stored in the folders they unzipped in, and maybe semi-sorted by type if the designer deigned to do so.

A few months ago I got interested in the idea of creating Digital Covers and Custom Planner Pages to maybe sell on Etsy. What I usually do for these types of projects, where I might be making dozens of variations, is to spend hours tapping into my main Design Resources folder, then copying and pasting anything I even think I might want to use into a separate, project folder. The idea being that when the project is done, I can simply delete the project folder and not worry about losing the original file. Also, I often resize or tweak the colors on the project files, and having them in a separate folder eliminates the possibility of overwriting the original.

This particular project was huge, because I always get excited about possible color combos, so I over sample. I needed to make the folder easier to navigate, easier to find what I want quickly. So, I divided the image files by type … backgrounds, buttons, banners, bands, tiles, alphabet, and doodads. For the backgrounds and tiles, I further divided them by color. The result was an easy way to find exactly what I needed, without having to open and close dozens of files and sort through hundreds, if not thousands, of images.

This system worked so well for me, that I decided to sort my entire Design Resources that way. Basically, I create a new folder called Backgrounds, then drag and drop all of my backgrounds into it. The only problem with that is that some designers (read most) just dump the images in a folder named after themselves and/or maybe the design package, then just number the files 001 through 180.  So, a simple drag and drop won’t work, because hundreds of these files have the same name.  The only way to make it work is to rename those image files.

I know what you’re thinking. But Debbie, you just said you had hundreds and hundreds of these files, and most have the same file name. It’ll take you months to rename all those files. I hear you, gentle reader, but there’s an old app from back in the dinosaur days, which will rename all files in a folder with a couple of clicks. But Debbie, you say, how can such an ancient app work on Windows 10? Don’t know. I didn’t write the thing, but it works. I paid $30 bucks for it back in the day. Worth. It. The company that made it is no longer in business, but they updated it for Windows 10, then made it available as a free download on tons of tech sites like Cnet. When starting up the app it asks you to register or buy it, but the website is dead. It’s no problem though, because the only thing that happens is a nag screen that counts down until you can click through it.

The name of the app is Useful File Utilities. There’s a learning curve, but if you mess with files often enough that you occasionally have to rename hundreds of them, you probably have the chops to figure it out. And you’ll want to, because you can do in hours what it would have taken you months to do. I cannot recommend this app highly enough. If  you use coded file names in your business and suddenly that code changes and lucky you gets to be the one to rename the files, this app will save your life. It’s also quite impressive to the higher ups, especially if you don’t tell them about the app and make them thing you’re a speed demon or the most diligent employee ever. Just remember you heard about it here first.