Archiving of physical stuffs.

I have a bunch of boxes jammed full of printouts, sketches, and random paper stacked up in the closet. Most of it are boring text and kerning proofs. Some of it is actually pretty interesting though. And the boring stuff adds up to make an interesting record. A few years ago I thoughtlessly tossed all of my early Alright Sans process books and deeply regret it. Since then I've been hoarding everything but it's turning into a lot of stuff.

I'm just curious what everyone else does with their stuff. What do you trash? What do you keep? Why?


  • The rule is that just as soon as you have discarded something, you will need it the next day. So keep everything pertaining to what you have produced.

    Any specimen books or sheets, keep forever. Install disks and serial numbers for older software don't require a lot of space but toss the old printed manuals. Keep everything well organized; it will store better.

    Throw away business records after the statutorily required time
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,455
    I find that I can produce paper at warp speed but can only organize paper at a snail's pace. Therefore, I am hopeless so don't save much at all anymore on paper. I do keep the files, though.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,946
    After I finished Armitage I had about twenty five pounds of proofs in a stack. Eventually I realized that it made more sense to look ahead than to ever dig back into that stuff. So I tossed it all at once.

    Now all proofs go into the recycling bin as soon as I finish the next round of proofs. Some proofs go into the trash the minute I check off the last revision. Random prints go directly to the trash after I look at them. Sketchbooks get saved, and if I think a drawing is particularly worthwhile I put in in a binder, other loose drawings go in the bin.

    Once I got used to throwing stuff out I got over not being able to go look at it again. Now I just don’t think about it.

    If you really feel the need to archive proofs just create PDFs with time-stamp filenames as you go along.
  • For what little it's worth, I recycle everything but sketches and pencil drawings. I archive the rest as digital files, including pdfs of kerning tests, and back it up on multiple drives. Of course, someday (maybe soon) these file formats won't be supported, and I won't be able to plug my LaCie into anything because USB cables will have gone the way of the 3.5 floppy. So eventually I'll cull and print out what I really want to save for the glass cases in the Max Phillips Museum.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,455
    Make it a virtual museum :-)
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,593
    I tend to recycle kerning proofs, but I keep most everything else, especially sketches and related documents. The kerning stage seems to produce the largest amount of paper by far.
  • I did not keep paper things, but I religiously kept digital files of all my work on CD/DVDs in a fire safe (I was obliged to do that by the publishers who kept losing everything all the time). Last week I needed a file and found that the SuperDrive in my 2009 iMac died. And I was not alone, there are thousands of posts on the boards … The new iMac does not have a CD/DVD drive, and the nice external SuperDrive they sell for it does not work with older iMacs that have an internal one. Duh? I do not like/trust "clouds". So I bought a Samsung external DVD burner and it works out of the box. Problem not solved, just postponed.
  • And not only the drive but also the DVDs tend to fail after a few years.

    The only way to store things is to store it on two hard drives and if they are full, buy two lager drives and move everything over. This should ensure two things. First the breaking of the drives and the possibility that the drive interface goes out of fashion (probably do not get FireWire drives for archiving).

    Or print out the imported stuff ;)
  • I tend to keep most of my work as digital records (either directly, or scanned / photographed), my philosophy is assume that things will go wrong sooner rather than later. I use Time Capsule as the first backup (and, yes, it has got me out of trouble on more than one occasion). For the second backup, files are copied to a server, so they're also available when I'm on the road (using Transmit to access a WebDAV share), and are also backed up into another Time Capsule. And the third backup goes to a Drobo (because RAID gives you a fighting chance to survive drive failure). Finally, long-term archiving involves USB keys and a firesafe.
    Just as important, I also keep disk images of all software (plus license keys), as well as operating systems because you never know when you'll need to retrieve something. I recently had to install a very old version of windows into a virtual machine on my iMac, so I could install some very old software, just to open some very old files (whose format was 'obsolete') and print them to a dummy PostScript printer so I could make a PDF because my original paper copies got damaged.
  • I do not keep physical stuff. I also gave away my CDs, DVDs, and donated my books to the library.

    The digital stuff I work on is on Dropbox, some stuff on Google Drive. Everything is TimeMachined. Once I do not work on it anymore, it goes onto an external HD. If that HD ever dies, I’ll say: ‘Good riddance!’ I have found I never look into archived stuff anymore.

    My software licenses are kept in my e-mail account.

    I only wonder what I will do with all those old binary VFB files, should that day ever arrive that FontLab won’t run on my system anymore…
  • I still have a lot of freehand 3 old stuff and old typographic movies created on macromedia director (in 1994!) on my hard disk. It is a pity that most of this material will never be recovered. Most of what we have currently saved won't be recovered in 20 years time since the formats will become completely obsolete.
    So, It's time to think about what is really important or not in our daily life 'material' existence.
    (or... it's time for a beer)
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,455
  • Yes. Beer is what's really important in our daily life 'material' existence. It's also beer.
  • It's still a bit early in the day for a beer, though. In a couple of hours, yes.
  • Not here in the antipodes, we can drink beer while you all have to drink coffee and be proper.
  • I keep all pre and production sketches, roll them together and then bind with an elastic band or masking tape. That way I can store A3 in a shoebox type container without any creases.

    Generally anything outputted by a computer I recycle. Anything digital goes onto Dropbox, I figure that any archive distributed between three machines and a copy on a cloud is sufficient redundancy.
    I think if I used photoshop/raster files more this method would fall apart really quickly.
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