What is a mind map and how do you make one?

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Written by: Natalia De la Peña Frade
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Do you want to have a magic tool to help you organize your ideas, manage your projects, memorize things faster, and learn without feeling like you’re studying? It exists! It’s a mind map.

In this article, we’ll talk about why mind maps are so useful, what their characteristics are, and how they are created. At the end of the post, you’ll find some templates that will help inspire you to make yours.

What is a mind map?

A mind map is the graphic representation of one or more concepts in the form of a scheme articulated around a main idea. Each of these concepts is called a “node.”

The mind map allows you to capture the structure of the information and the relationship between the concepts contained in that information at a glance. They’re great for those who study them, but even more helpful for those who make them.

Creating mind mapping boosts active learning. As well as providing an overview of your study theme, it activates your imagination. And that helps you memorize information.

By creating your mind map, you can extract and record information in your memory very effectively. That’s why mind maps are a logical and creative way to take notes and represent your ideas, whether you’re organizing for yourself or sharing them with others.

What can you use mind maps for?

The uses of mind maps go far beyond study. You can use this tool in every area of your life:

  • To represent everyday problems, giving you a comprehensive view of all the facets and solutions.
  • When planning or structuring a trip
  • To organize any personal project
  • When planning tasks or goals or managing projects for your work
  • And, in general, to reflect on any topic or process and to have a holistic view of it.

A perfect tool for working as a team

Mind maps are ideal for collaborative use. Whether in a school or college classroom or on a corporate team, they help strengthen concepts or develop them. Some of their possible practical applications are:

  • Do creative brainstorming on a subject
  • Briefly summarize the more general concepts of a topic
  • Breakdown the problems of a concept or idea and see the possible solutions
  • Memorize and build knowledge
  • Explain the ideas of a project or topic to see its global dimension and go more in depth.

The difference between concept maps and mind maps

The differences between conceptual maps and mind maps are not only visual. Using one format or another format will depend on your main goal.

mind map vs concept map

Mind mapConceptual map
They focus on a single concept or ideaThey can have more than one general idea
Radial or node-focused structureHierarchical structure
They show a general concept and the concepts that depend on itThey break down the content further in a hierarchy from the most general to the most specific concepts
Drawings and images are the most important thingWords are the most important thing
They serve to display a topicThey serve to extract information or memorize

Now that we’ve seen the main differences between them, it’s clear that a mind map will help you to:

  • Organize new ideas
  • Empower creativity through methods like Design Thinking
  • Properly manage time
  • Have a global view of any topic

Tips for creating your mind map:

  1. Use the sheet horizontally
  2. Draw a central image, which becomes the main node or topic. Choosing a striking image will draw more attention to your mind map.
  3. From the central image, the most important keywords and ideas should radiate outward.
  4. Sort ideas clockwise
  5. Place the main ideas on thicker branches and secondary ideas on thinner branches.
  6. Use curved lines
  7. Type one keyword per line
  8. Use abundant colors and images to make your mind map more attractive, interesting and unique. 
  9. Always make your mind maps personal

How to make a mind map online

Making a mind map is the easiest thing in the world, its simplicity is one of its main advantages. You can make one in a few seconds with a pencil and paper. But if you want it to last, be collaborative and/or easy to send, it’s best to do it in a digital format.

At Genially, we love mind maps. That’s why we’ve created lots of templates so you can make your own mind map effortlessly, focusing on content alone. After all, you are the best person to make your own mind map.

An awesome tip: Don’t forget to add interactivity to your mind map to enrich it. You can include windows and tooltips with interesting information such as videos, photos, links, or texts.

There are other intuitive and simple tools for creating mind maps, such as Mindmeister. Did you know that you can embed the contents of almost any tool in your genially?

Examples of mind maps online

With these templates, it’ll be easy to organize your ideas. Which do you like best?

We’re sure you have a lot of projects on your hands. Now you have everything you need to get organized and create mind maps!

Natalia De la Peña Frade
Natalia De la Peña Frade
Content creator: I try to write things you like to read
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