Image library organization tips for teams

organized kitchen counter
Pictures, copy, presentations, colors, symbols, and videos are ingredients to good content. The ingredients work together to create more informative and engaging content. Keep your ingredients organized so your content creators can find what they need, when they need it.

Think of helping a friend prepare some fish tacos in their kitchen. You’re asked to grab the lime juice from the refrigerator. If ingredients are haphazardly thrown into the refrigerator, you’re left to poking around the shelves until you find it. Like the importance of keeping a kitchen and refrigerator organized, you need to keep your images organized to save your team time.

We’ve got some tips and ideas to keep your content kitchen organized. Today is the time to stop throwing the lime juice behind the milk and start organizing ingredients in a way that’s intuitive to your teams.

Organize images into collections

The Kitchn recommends using upper shelves for leftovers, drinks, and ready-to-eat foods. Lower shelves are ideal for raw ingredients. The door is for condiments. Having collections of like ingredients gives you a starting place for finding what you need. Collections, or folders, act as these starting places where you can easily browse like groups of images.
When organizing your images, it can help to take a step back and think about what you have. Then separate your images into collections. You can further organize those collections into smaller buckets. We recommend not going deeper than two levels to keep your library easy to navigate. Think about if you had to open 5 doors in your refrigerator to access your lime juice. How would your guest ever find it? That’s where tags, searching and filtering come in.

  • The goal of organizing images into collections, or folders, is to make it easy to drill down to exactly what you want to by following a very organic, logical, and easy-to-understand process.
  • Avoid creating collections, or folder, structures that go more than two levels deep. This reduces the amount of clicking in and out of collections to find the right images.

Make images searchable with tags and description

While in your friends kitchen, being able to look around in an organized refrigerator is one thing. What if you could type “lime juice” into your phone and it appeared in front of you? It might not work in your kitchen but it can be as easy as that for your image library. All it requires is a little work upfront applying tags and descriptions to the files and the right system to facilitate the searching.
There are three basic steps to applying tags and descriptions.

  1. Collect data. You can use metadata already attached to files and any existing folder structure to inform your tagging.
  2. Organize the data. Identify common themes and information about the images. Review the information and consolidate any redundancies or see if similar assets are labeled by different tags. Here are some ideas for metadata.
    Photos: Filename, description, photographer, keywords, rights
    Logo: Filename, description, recommended use

  3. Edit data. Start by applying common tags and descriptions in batch. Then apply data unique to individual files.

image tag and description metadata
To help connect user to file, they must both use the same vocabulary. Before you start applying tags to files, understand what’s being searched. By understanding how your users talk about and search for files, you can apply tags that are meaningful to them. For example, you ask your sales team if they search by product name, product number, or both. It also helps to understand the search capabilities of the system organizing your files.

Provide image information users need to know

Like expiration dates on food, or putting your name on food in the office kitchen, providing information about your files helps identify how to proceed with the given image. Consider once a user has found the right image, what else do they need to know? Include any information that helps the users appropriately use the image. Some things to consider are image rights, brand standards, and photographer.

Train and guide your team on image library organization

Communication with your team is important to maintaining an organized and accessible image library. Consistency in the way files are organized is critical. Those uploading images and applying keywords need to know how to do properly.

Clean and organize frequently

Cleaning your kitchen and refrigerator isn’t a one time deal. Neither is maintaining an organized image library. It’s something that requires weekly or even daily attention. But don’t feel overwhelmed. By spending a little time working on the above every week, you’ll prevent the big scary mess that would accumulate over time.

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