Ever need to brainstorm ideas, recall notes, or present complex information in a way that’s easy to take in? Mind maps could be the answer to all your prayers. There are loads of ways you can use a mind map — and an abundance of templates to choose from. So, where do you begin? And how do you make sure yours is right for the situation? Maybe you need some good mind map examples!
In this post, we’ll share our favorite examples to help you on your way. We’ll also share some pro tips on creating a mind map that’ll blow your stakeholders/boss/team members away. Let’s get started!
What are mind maps?
Mind maps are diagrams that feature a central idea, with subsequent layers of ideas branching out across the page. Still not sure about it? Just check out the mind maps example below.
They’re a great way to organize your thoughts, solve problems, absorb information, and develop ideas. Best of all? They’re really easy to do.
Mind maps examples
Mind maps have evolved over the years — but if there’s one guiding principle you should keep in mind, it’s this: Make your mind map as unique to you and your purpose as possible. The goal here is to create something that’s effective and interesting, not boring, constrictive, and the same as everyone else’s. The more unique you make it to you, the more effective it’ll be.
Here are some designs to inspire you (and show you just how flexible and varied mind maps can be).
Strategy mind map
Image Source: Natalia Talkowska on Dribble
Mind maps let you see lots of information at once because they’re light on words and presented on one page. This makes them perfect for strategy outlines.
Break information down into manageable chunks, organize facts, and reduce overwhelm with a strategic mind map.
The mind maps example above was created to reduce a hefty 10-page word document down into something employees could take in at a glance. Little illustrations make information easier to take in, while arrows negate the need for explaining steps.
When creating a strategy mind map, start out with your target audience(s) and your goal. Once you have this information, you can start adding stages that lead toward achieving this. It may take a few attempts to refine it, but by the time you’re done, you should have something simple, clear, and, most importantly, easy to follow.
Project management mind map examples
Mind mapping is a great way to show project stakeholders the scope of a project quickly. Presenting your ideas like this doesn’t just make life easier for you and your clients — it could be the thing that sets you apart from your competitors.
Image Source: Blake Howard on Dribble
The example above groups different types of users into various subcategories, with specific attributes and priorities branching out from each subgroup.
Adding color to your branched mind map, like in the example above, will make information even easier to process.
Pro tip: Use different shapes for different layers of information. For example, the mind map above uses a circle for the core theme, then pointed-corner and rounded-corner rectangles for supporting concepts. Things like this help the viewer work out orders and priorities at a glance.
User experience mind map examples
Mind maps can also take the place of a flowchart when mapping out user journeys. The example below combines a user persona with examples of how they might flow through a car-selling app.
As a designer or marketer, you’re more likely to need to present information in an exciting, creative way — and UX mind maps are a great way to do this. Make yours eye-catching with colors, diagrams, sketches, and other visuals.
Image Source: Larry Thacker on Dribble
UX mind maps can also be used to show website navigation, with page structure sprouting off from each core page.
Image Source: Nicky Lee Woodman on Dribble
You can show how products will be grouped, where landing pages fall within the user journey, how blog posts connect via internal links, etc. This makes it easier for clients to get a feel for a website before it’s made — while helping designers spot potential dead-ends or missed opportunities.
Pro tip: Add mind maps to presentations or reports as a visual way to explain new concepts or break down complex information.
Brainstorming mind map examples
The cornerstone of a good brainstorming session? Quantity over quality.
Brainstorming is about exploring as many possibilities as possible, so encourage participants to remove their filters and just throw as many ideas out there as possible. No commenting on whether they’re good or bad — just get them down.
Image Source: Noah Kareus on Dribble
This example isn’t particularly clear, but its scope is big. It’s a great first start. Once you have this, you can start narrowing down your thoughts into something more refined.
Image Source: Bharat Apat on Dribble
The image above shows how you can do this using diagramming software. Get your core idea down, followed by a few key themes — then add words on the page as they come. No need to worry about putting them all in boxes or wasting time with formatting. It’s quick and easy, and best of all — everyone on the team can work on it together, even if they’re not in the same room.
This is especially useful now as there’s an increased call for remote ways of working. In fact, opening up the discussion to a wider group of people can help small teams break out of repetitive ways of thinking and bring fresh ideas to the table.
Pro tip: To get your collaborating brainstorm rolling, make sure you ask the right questions. Add the key question to the center of your template (or add multiple questions around your core theme), then work from there. Here are three to get you started:
- What’s the biggest avoidable hassle our customers put up with?
- Who uses our product in ways we hadn’t anticipated?
- What complexity do we deal with daily that could be eliminated?
Image Source: Zhart on Dribble
It’s normal for your brainstorming mind map to go through several iterations. Break ideas down into further ideas and courses of action using shapes, bullet points, or colors, like in the example above.
Colors aren’t just there to make your design look pretty (although looking nice is never a bad thing). They also help make the information in your chart easier to read. Use color to organize data or highlight specific areas.
Note-taking mind map examples
From workshops to lectures and meetings, taking notes can help you recall important information later on. You could write things down neatly in a notebook — but going back over lines upon lines of handwriting later on isn’t an enticing prospect.
You’ll recall information better if you take notes as a mind map instead. This is because as you work, you’ll link ideas, creating connections — which makes recollection easier. With linear notes, there’s no way to connect each one back to the original topic.
Image Source: Natalia Talkowska on Dribble
The above example starts with the name of the event, with facts and notes spanning out across the page. Colors and images draw the eye and make the resulting mind map a pleasure to look at.
Concept mind map examples
Concept maps often pop up in education because they’re a great way to help students link knowledge and understand the core concepts of a subject. Not just limited to the classroom, they can be used in business to help employees and stakeholders get to grips with a complex process or project. They’re effective because they let you see the whole picture at once, as well as how each element is connected.
Image Source: Zhart on Dribble
Concept mind maps can be as simple as words scribbled down on paper or on a whiteboard — as seen in the example below.
Image Source: Angie Hererra on Dribble
People think better visually, so using mind map diagrams is almost always a better way to record and present information. A concept mind map is the best way to show connections between ideas and generate new ideas based on existing points. Linking ideas like this helps with recall and prevents your reader from feeling lost.
Image Source: Tyler Wain on Dribble
A concept mind map could have an image as its central theme, with words or subsequent diagrams branching out from there. In the example above, the creator has honed in on specific parts of the bike, creating a macro-like focus on specific areas. This enables both a top-level look and a detailed look simultaneously.
Mind map templates
There are lots of ways to create a mind map — from whiteboard scribbles to colorful notes with pen and paper. Just start with a central bubble, then add ideas in subsequent bubbles connected with lines.
While pen and paper is great for lectures, meetings, and classroom brainstorming sessions, as a method, it does have downsides. You might run out of paper or space, hand-drawn diagrams aren’t easy to share with those not in the room, you can’t rearrange ideas, and they tend to look a bit messy. For these reasons, a mind-mapping tool might be the better option.
Rather than creating the thing from scratch and fiddling around with formatting boxes and circles, you can just choose your mind map template, and then populate it in a few clicks.
When using a template, there are a few things you should decide before you get started.
- Your color scheme
- Which shapes you’ll use (if any)
- The layout
- Supporting visuals
- How in-depth you need to go
- What information do you need to include so your audience can understand it
Ultimately, your choices will depend on who your audience is and the purpose of your map. Most importantly, think about what your core question should be and who your audience is. Once you have those, you’re ready to start adding ideas.
How to create a mind map using Cacoo
Cacoo, our own mind map software, is really easy to use. Here’s how:
- Browse our mind map templates
- Choose the design you like
- You’ll be asked to create an account. You can access a limited version for free!
- Once logged in, you’ll be taken to the editor tool. It’s drag and drop, so you’ll pick it up in minutes.
- Click the text inside the bubbles to edit it.
- Click and drag to add shapes, text, or rearrange items — or delete those you don’t want
- Decorate your design with colors, images, and icons
- Share your creation with others and invite them to leave comments. The more feedback, the better!