I have a fundamental belief that any and all work should be managed by some sort of Source Control system. Naturally, I was raised a programmer, so anything I do I know to keep very closely tied to either GIT, SVN, or even TFS. But a lot of people who work in the IT industry are not very aware of source control and the benefits it could provide them. We can all tell a story when we didn’t back up a file and lost it. A designer can tell the horror story of a PSD file being lost, an author losing a DOC, or an accountant an XLS file. So we’ve learned to back up files.
I say to take it to the next level, for your and everyone else’s benefit. As a designer, I have gone so deep into changes that they couldn’t reverse back out of a PSD alteration. Even while doing technical documents, I’ve deleted pages and saved, while I couldn’t revert. Even CSV data I’ve lost because I only had one working copy. How do you resolve all of this?
Version control. Sure there are things out there like Share Point, but I challenge you to use something even more complex such as GIT, SVN, or TFS and then use smart compare utilities to interact with changes. It’s really not that difficult. And compare / merge tools exist for all of these software types. We can compare changes to new versions, have multiple people work on the same document at the same time and collaborate. You can do all these same functions with PSD, DOC, and XLS files as well.
What do you get out of versioning?
- Process Management – Manage the process of updates to any files. Workflows and Approvals
- Archive – Save successful versions as needed for backups
- History – Track history of changes and who made what change
- Collaborate – Work with a team to submit and merge multiple changes with many people
I challenge you, if you are a designer, Source Control your PSD files and use ComparePSD. Other uses such as DOC and XLS may only need specific use-cases, but I strongly feel PSD’s and AI’s should be sourced. Try it out, let me know what you think.
ComparePSD – A free PSD comparison tool for Photoshop files.