How to transfer project files

At the end of any freelance project, whether you’re working remotely or in the same office, your freelance creative will need to transfer the final project files to you. If you’re not used to working with creative freelancers, you might have no idea what goes into this final stage of the process. Or, you might think you have some idea. Surely it’s just as simple as shoving the files into an email attachment? Well, sometimes it’s not as straightforward as that. It can actually be quite a lengthy part of the project. We’ll talk you through the basics of finalising project files and transferring them to their final destination.

There's a better way to organise those files.
There’s a better way to organise those files.

Preparation:

Before final project files can be transferred onward to their new home, they need to be prepared. By this stage, you’ll have already seen a version of the final project files, which you’ll have given the OK. But, usually this version of the project isn’t ready to be used in the real world yet. The files will need some treatment and preparation before they can be sent out into the wild. What kind of preparation they need depends on the kind of project, of course, but we’ll run you through the main creative media types here:

Digital graphics and artwork:

Digital designs
Digital designs

Any kind of digital artwork created by a graphic designer or illustrator will need some final adjustments before they’re ready to use for real. This includes everything from logos to digital illustrations to printed materials to packaging to website graphics. The preparation is different depending on whether the project is intended for screen or print.

Print:

Your designer or illustrator needs to make sure your project is print ready. Files can look perfect on screen but when they’re sent to a professional printer they can come out looking completely different. Sometimes colours need to be adjusted, any text needs to be converted to an image, transparencies within an illustration need to be flattened, and any special printing treatments need to be accounted for (for example, laser cut, foiling or lamination).

Digital:

Your freelancer will need to convert files to the correct colour mode and save the project into the correct file type.

Audio files:

Preparing your final audio files.
Preparing your final audio files.

Preparing audio files depends on what the freelancer has been asked to do. For example, if they’re only completing one stage of the project, and the file will then be passed to a mixing/mastering engineer for completion. Typically, audio files are initially stem files (individual files containing each different instrument), which are then mixed, and finally mastered. During the mastering stage the freelancer will add any meta tags as needed. Prior to mastering it’s really important for the freelancer not to compress the files in any way, as this can ruin the quality of the raw files.

Video files:

Preparing final video files
Preparing final video files

The final steps will depend on what kind of software your creative is using (Eg: Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro etc). The freelancer will have a checklist of requirements that they’ll work to which could include adjusting the following: frame rate, audio levels, video bit rate, aspect ratio, audio type, width/height and more until it’s ready to be passed to the client.

Photography:

Photographs being edited
Photographs being edited

As with graphics and illustrations, the final preparation for photographs is down to whether they’re going to be used for digital or print. Depending on the requirements of the project, the photographer will factor in a number of final changes including colour mode correction, image resizing, image sharpening and proof copies. Not to mention saving to the correct file types according to the client’s needs.

How to send final project files:

Don't send those files by post!
Don’t send those files by post!

Handing over the final project files should be the last stage in any freelance project. So it’s important that the handover goes well, all expected assets are included and they’re organised correctly. It’s quite likely that your freelancer will transfer the final project files over the internet. As you’ll probably be aware, there are lots of ways to transfer files over the internet. But, your creative will have a preferred method of transferring files that’s best for their particular file type.

Why can’t they just use email?

Sometimes files are just too big to transfer via email. Creative media such as video, audio, images and graphics tend to be huge files, so it’s not a good idea to send them over email. Plus, if your project has multiple files you might need a better way of organising everything. Of course, if your project is small and simple, there’s nothing wrong with using good old email.

Top file transfer methods:

We Transfer:

We Transfer
We Transfer

We Transfer is a really simple file transferring service. There’s no need to sign up or create an account. You just add your files, your recipient and a message then hit send. We Transfer lets you send up to 2GB of files for free. They offer a paid service too, which lets you send up to 20GB of files. The client will get  an email notification telling them they have files to download. The files expire after 10 days, so you’ll need to make sure you download your files and store them somewhere safe.

Dropbox:

Dropbox
Dropbox

If your project contains multiple documents, you should consider using a cloud storage service to transfer your files. Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud storage services, offering a ton of project management features. You can upload and store multiple files, order them into folders and control who has access to them. Dropbox has a free plan which offers up to 2GB of free storage. Storage over than amount costs $79 per year. You’ll need to sign up for a Dropbox account in order to use it.

Google Drive:

Google Drive
Google Drive

Another free cloud storage option, Google Drive is also free up to a limit of 15GB. It’s easy to use and anyone who has a Google mail account automatically has one. Google Drive is simpler than Dropbox, but offers all the features you need to send, receive, store and organise files. You control who has access to what and everything can be organised into a neat file structure.

One Drive:

One Drive
One Drive

One Drive is Microsoft’s answer to Google Drive. Offering a max of 5GB per account for free, One Drive lets you upload, store and organise your files. You’ll need an account to use the service, too.

Twine:

How to download files on Twine.
How to download files on Twine.

So how does file transfer work on Twine? Twine lets you manage every aspect of your project from start to finish, including sending and receiving the final project files. We offer protection for both buyers and creatives throughout the process, too. When your creative is ready to send your final project files, they’ll send them through Twine. They can send the files from their preferred service, and you’ll receive the link through Twine, making sure everything’s kept together in the same place.

You’ll get an email notification to say that your project is ready for you to download. There’s no time limit, your files will be stored on your project brief permanently, so you can access them at any time.

For the safety of the creative freelancer, you can only download your final project files once you’ve sent payment through Twine. Once Twine has received this you’re free to access your project files.

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Vicky
After studying English Literature at university, Vicky decided she didn’t want to be either a teacher or whoever it is that writes those interminable mash-up novels about Jane Austen and pirates, so sensibly moved into graphic design. She worked freelance for some time on various projects before starting at Twine and giving the site its unique, colourful look. Despite having studied in Manchester and spent some years in Cheshire, she’s originally from Cumbria and stubbornly refuses to pick up a Mancunian accent. A keen hiker, Vicky also shows her geographic preferences by preferring the Cumbrian landscape to anything more local.

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Vicky

Vicky

After studying English Literature at university, Vicky decided she didn’t want to be either a teacher or whoever it is that writes those interminable mash-up novels about Jane Austen and pirates, so sensibly moved into graphic design.

She worked freelance for some time on various projects before starting at Twine and giving the site its unique, colourful look.

Despite having studied in Manchester and spent some years in Cheshire, she’s originally from Cumbria and stubbornly refuses to pick up a Mancunian accent. A keen hiker, Vicky also shows her geographic preferences by preferring the Cumbrian landscape to anything more local.