How to Correctly Name Your Artwork’s Digital Image Files

By Kate Harper in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

Does it matter what you name your image JPGs? Absolutely!

Naming your image files appropriately will allow them to be processed by a variety of different computer operating systems, and will also help art directors know who the art belongs to, even if they’re looking at artwork from several different artists.

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From my own experience, I’ve found the following tips very helpful when it comes to naming images:

1. Write all file names in lowercase letters

This is both for readability by humans, and for consistency across different operating systems. Plus, it’s easier to be consistent with your file names if you just stick with lowercase all the time.

2. Only use letters, numbers, and underscores

Extra characters can sometimes cause problems with different operating systems or computer programs. Keep your file names simple by just using the abc’s, numbers, and underscores.

3. Don’t use blank spaces when you name a file

Blank spaces are confusing to both people and computers. Underscores allow you to include a visual space without actually leaving spaces in the file name.

4. Always include your own name in the file

If you’re handing out digital images, it’s helpful to art directors to know who the image belongs to. For example, I might name my files kateharper_catcard.jpg or kharper_cat_card.jpg

5. Use descriptive words to explain the image

When creating greeting cards, I almost always have separate image files for the front of the card and the inside of the card. Names like front_harper_cat_1.jpg and inside_harper_cat_1.jpg are good ways to describe the images.

6. Keep it short!

Yes, be descriptive, but the shorter your file names are, the better. I’ve found that 10-20 characters is usually enough room to squeeze in your name and a description.

For more from Kate Harper, please visit her art blog.

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