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How do you back up your work?

How do you back up your work?

  • External hard drive

    Votes: 1 20.0%
  • The Cloud

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Both

    Votes: 4 80.0%

  • Total voters
I'm currently cleaning up all my files on my IMac and MacBook, I have a LOT because I take a lot of photos as well as doing design work. Normally I store all my files on an external hard drive as back up, (a Lacie) but I am having issues with the drive now not being recognised, so I am rethinking my plan!

Do you use cloud storage or external hard drives? It's a big topic, I have done some searching online but I thought it would be worth posting on here to get responses from other creatives!


Staff member
External Drive with Time Machine.

Then once a month I back up everything for that month that's signed off on to DVD.

Everything gets copied into an excel file (file names and customer usually stored with job number etc for ease of finding). This lets us know what DVD a certain item is archived on.

Then our backup drives are backed up to another drive, which is then kept off site.

Drive 1 (via time machine)
Daily backup
Weekly back up
Monthly Backups

DVD Back up

Drive 1 to Drive 2 (backup the backup) and keep off site

We're thinking of moving to cloud storage, but files are large and our upload speed is just too slow.


Well-Known Member
I back up files at least monthly and manually on an external hard drive. I don't trust the cloud for important work/information.

@hankscorpio I should really look into Time Machine; I back up manually as I like to pick and choose what I want backed up, so not to have copies of unnecessary files wasting space on my ex-HD. Is Time Machine more of an automated way to back up monthly for example? If so, does it automatically back up new files created / current files modified within that calendar month? Also, I don't like the idea of having my EX-HD constantly switched on, plugged in and connected to my computer when it is not in use. I assume this would need to be the case for any Time Machine activity to take place? Or does a message pop up telling you it's time for your back up please connect your back up device... or something along those lines?

One last thing... I have always wondered about using job numbers or invoice numbers in this day an age to organise. I can understand back in the day when we were using filing cabinets etc. I find simple organising via name and date to be the most efficient, I guess name and date is kind of my 'job number' when put together. What am I missing? How does using invoice numbers / job numbers help?



Staff member
I use a combination of 'reference name' (usually company and contact person initials) and date as a reference code which is placed on my invoices etc and it's useful for finding work as it's part of my storage methods etc - check my links for more details :)


Staff member
Time machine works away in the background doing daily weekly and monthly backups and only backs up new data.

Job numbers help for tracking only. And the job number goes on the pdf proof and in the subject line of an email. Once you have that reference you can easily track your emails, files, proofs etc.

It's pretty good one you get a system going.
I tend to use time machine for a general backup and manually back up my work-files. I also have Google drive installed on my desktop, laptop and phone so I have a design tool-kit (with fonts, icon library, presentation files etc.), a copy of all my current projects and general work files constantly accessible; plus I can share areas with clients in which they can access their artwork and backup files.

So far this system works quite well for me. (this has been a progress over a few years and trial and error though) :)