The Most Basic and Probably the Best Design Tip Ever!
Without sounding like a broken record or stating the obvious, if there is one and only one design tip you will ever need as a professional designer, it has to be don’t forget to SAVE your work! Save it frequently and save it regularly.
Don’t laugh, as I can’t imagine the number of times I’ve seen people forget to save their work and suffer the consequences of it. Some of the other things you could do along this same defensive line of thought include:
1) Know and use that Ctrl + “S” on your keyboard! It is probably the universal short cut key for “save” in almost all Windows program. I think its “Apple” + “S” on the Mac, correct me if I am wrong? If your right hand is on your mouse your left should be on Ctrl + “S”. Get use to it, and make it second nature. I hit mine, almost unconsciously, every few minutes.
2) Set your program’s auto save to a timing you are comfortable with. I like mine to save every 5mins. The default is often 20mins. In a time crunch, I can’t even afford to lose 20mins of work.
3) Save your work incrementally. I like to do this as it gives me a reference point from my work from the past. Furthermore if I accidentally deleted a feature, I can always go back and cut/past it back into my current document.
4) Pick good file names. May it be reference numbers or dates, but do pick a system that is easy for you to follow, remember, as well as upkeep.
5) Keep a save log. With my more complex CAD design files, I keep a log book or diary to help me remember what I was doing at the time I made that particular save file. If you then convert your diary into a .txt file, it becomes good practice for the future as it makes it easy for other people that need to reference your files.
6) Finally backup your save files. Yep, I have a copy on CD-Rom and my portable hard drive. Your hard drive may crash or your computer die, or even your CAD program stalls and/or exits, such events occur more frequently than you can imagine. Murphy’s Law does exist, and it happens in threes so they tell me!