Naming Image File: Do's and Don'ts

Why does it matter what you name your image jpg?
A good image file name can: 1) Be processed by a variety of different computer operating systems and 2) Help art directors will know who the art belongs to, even if it gets mixed with other artists.

What I've found from doing web design coding, is that in general, it's always a good practice to:
  • Put the file name in lower case letters.
  • It's a good habit to limit characters to letters, numbers, and underscores.
  • Don't use blank spaces when you name a file. Instead use underscores to_separate_words.
  • Try to include your own name on the file, so art directors remember who the image belongs to, such as: kateharper_catcard.jpg or kharper_cat_card.jpg
  • Some art directors want the date or special words included in the image filename. For excample, a greeting cards publisher might want a separate image file for front and inside text. You might consider using front_harper_cat_1.jpg and inside_harper_cat_1.jpg
  • Keep it under 56 characters, the shorter the better. I've found 10-20 characters is usually enough room to squeeze in my name and a description.

Reference Article

Here's more detailed information I found in this great article from Controlled Vocabulary Website on How to name image files. Read complete article and see all 8 tips...

1. Be careful with using special characters.

When creating file and folder names, limit your filenames to the characters A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore ( _ ), period ( . ), and hyphen ( - ). (But avoid using hyphens and periods since some older systems can't handle it.)

2. Do not use more than one period in a file name.

Save it for your extensions (.jpg .gif .png) Why? Because doing so will ensure full backwards compatibility for some operating systems. Also, some mail filtering programs will consider a file with two periods to be a "virus" or "worm."

3. Do not assume names are case sensitive - or - not case sensitive

Do not expect a directory to be able to hold separate elements named "Lifestyle" and "lifestyle", and , do not expect a file created with the name of "AN18256R.JPG" to be opened or found successfully using "an18256r.jpg". Read complete article and see all 8 tips...


Mark Armstrong said...

Really appreciate this-- had never read anything on this subject before. Lovely blog you have here-- thanks.

Painterskip said...

Good article. I might add one thing though. If you have a series of images you want to rename and number, I now make sure that I lead with at least 2 zeros....for example, I wouldn't rename a series as photo1, photo2, photo3, etc., or even photo-01, photo-02, photo-03, because the files won't be sorted in the right order in some programs. So I now always use at least 2 leading, photo-002, etc.
Unless I think I'll have more than 999 images:-) Then you should lead with 3 zeros:-)

It's hard for me to explain it....just trust me;-)

NovaCynthia said...

Thank you for really helpful article with great references sited!
Best of luck, Nova Cynthia

Sharon Himes said...

when using dates in a file name I put the year first then month and day: 101215 or 100306 so that the files are always in order.

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