9 Effective Server Storage Strategies for Art Businesses

As an artist, you make artwork every day. You need to keep your artwork as safe as it is, which makes your business work. The storage is not tied to any one programme or operating system. This longevity protects intellectual property and allows your body of work to remain accessible for years to come.

Storing artwork on servers keeps it safe from problems. It is important to adapt your server storage methods to keep your work safe, accessible and organised, both now and in the future. Implementing effective server storage strategies from the beginning establishes good habits that will serve your art business well as it expands. 

Here are 9 ways to store your artwork on servers. 

Strategy #1: Back Up Your Artwork Regularly

Make backups of your artwork often. Save copies on an external hard drive, server storage or flash drive. Save copies in the cloud too. Use an automatic backup programme. It will back up files when the computer is idle. Back up every day to an external drive. Backup every week to the cloud. Keep old versions of files in case new ones get ruined. Backups protect your work if a device breaks down.

Strategy #2: Organise Files in Folders by Project

Organising your artwork into clearly named folders by project is a key first step. 

  • Start by making top-level folders for each year, beginning with the current year and including past years that still have active projects. Within those annual folders, create subfolders for each individual client, commission or collection you are working on. 
  • Be as specific as possible in the subfolder names so there is no confusion about what artwork belongs in which project space. For example, name a subfolder for a client portrait commission “Smith Family Portraits 2020” rather than just “Portraits.”. 
  • Keeping related artwork together in one place prevents files from becoming scattered across your server storage devices. It also makes it simple to locate exactly what you need when you need it, whether for your own reference or to send updates to a client. 
  • Staying organised from the start can save you hours of frustration down the road trying to dig through a disorganised mess. Be sure to move completed project folders to a separate “Complete Projects” or “Archives” section so your active work area remains clutter-free and streamlined as you take on new commissions. 
  • Consider adding further subfolders within large projects to split work into phases or milestones, if that is helpful. For example, break a multi-piece landscape series into “Thumbnails,” “Rough Sketches,” “Colour Studies,” and “Final Pieces” folders. 

Organising in this way keeps your process tidy and materials readily accessible at each stage.

Strategy #3: Use a Cloud Service for Remote Access

Using cloud-based file server storage and synchronisation services provides numerous advantages for artists to remotely access and share work. 

  • With cloud storage, your entire collection of artwork files is kept safely off-site on remote servers rather than solely on local hardware. This protects your livelihood from data loss due to a computer crash, hardware failure, fire or other local disasters that could destroy physical devices. 
  • It also allows you to seamlessly access your files from any internet-connected computer simply by logging into your cloud account. Need to pull up a reference while working on a commission at a coffee shop or on the go? No problem. As long as you have an internet connection, your files are right at your fingertips. 
  • Cloud server storage also enables easy sharing of selections from your portfolio with potential clients or galleries. Rather than emailing large files, you can generate links to shared folders for others to view at their convenience. This is especially useful when presenting preliminary sketches for feedback or providing final deliverables. 
  • Many services even have integrated proofing and commenting tools. Plus, cloud storage provides the peace of mind that comes from having multiple copies of your important work safely backed up off-site rather than solely relying on local devices. 

Cloud services are affordable too, with most offering generous free server storage tiers and competitive paid plans for professional users. The flexibility, security and convenience they provide are well worth the minimal cost.

Strategy #4: Categorise Artwork in Cloud Folders

In the cloud, make top-level folders like “Paintings”, “Drawings” and “Photos”. Within those, use year folders like “2020.”. Then subfolders for clients or projects. Another way is to use genre folders for landscapes and portraits. Add tags to artworks in the cloud. Tags help find things in searches. Folders and tags bring order to your online art library. Clients will understand your filing system.

Strategy #5: Adjust File Types for Each Project

Different file types work best for various artworks. Photos need JPEGs. Videos use MP4s. Designs prefer PNGs. Save artwork in the format that the programme requires. Convert files when sharing to match viewers. JPEGs are best for the web but lose quality in edits. PNGs keep detail for print. Consider file sizes; bigger is not better online. Choose file types wisely for intended use of each artwork.

Strategy #6: Name Artwork Files Purposefully

Name artwork files with the client’s name, date and details. For example, “Smith_Portrait_2020_Final”. Do not use meaningless names like “pic1” or “IMG_4356.”. Searchable names will help later on. Include revisions in filenames like “Landscape_Draft1” and “Landscape_Draft2”. Keywords in filenames aid when sorting. Take time on filenames; it pays off in the future.

Strategy #7: Use a Database to Catalogue Artwork

Set up an image database like SmugMug or Pixieset. Upload artwork and enter details. Fields include client, date, medium, and dimensions. Add multiple views of each artwork. Databases let you add tags, keywords, and descriptions. Clients can browse your whole collection online. Databases create professional digital portfolios for your work. They make it simple to share selected pieces.

Strategy #8: Check Hardware Requirements Regularly

As artwork files grow over time, check storage space on devices. Delete temporary files to clear space. Upgrade server storage drives when needed. Monitor the hardware for slowdowns. Slow devices frustrate users. Keep operating systems and software updated. Newer versions fix problems and improve performance. Regular maintenance prevents data loss issues down the road.

Strategy #9: Consider an Artwork Management Programme

Look at programmes to manage your art. Programmes centralise all artwork in one place. They include server storage tools for organising, cataloguing, and editing metadata. Some have marketplace functions too. Management programmes offer extra features for professional artists. Programmes provide customised solutions for art businesses to thrive.

Final Words

Applying these 9 server storage strategies helps artists successfully manage digital artwork collections. Perhaps most importantly, server storage gives your  artwork business continuity well into the future. As technology changes rapidly, file formats can become obsolete, making older works difficult or impossible to access. With organised, accessible and secure storage, you can focus on creativity. Following best practices ensures artwork is protected for current clients and future projects.