I hope you’re excited to get started creating mind maps of your own. I’ve provided a couple of examples (in my previous post) but if you’ve never done one, even the simplest mind map can be overwhelming. However, once you understand the fundamental elements of a mind map you’ll be creating them in no time.

1. Words

The mind map will start with one word, which will be the central concept. Then it will be expanded using other words that relate to the central concept. Make sure these words are simple and don’t overwhelm the map. You have to focus on using as few words as possible. The point of the mind map isn’t to write a paragraph. The point is to expand a topic in a way that is succinct and easy to understand at a glance.

mind mpa fundamentals

2. Lines

Lines are the connectors of a mind map. They also help to highlight the words that you are using to expand the central concept. When you write the connecting thoughts, you should put them on one line while connecting them to the central concept using another line.

3. Shapes

Shapes can be used with words or in place of them on the mind map. They are tools that can be used to separate different ideas or group similar ideas together. Look for ways to incorporate shapes into the mind map when possible.

4. Symbols and Images

Because a mind map is a visual tool, it’s important to incorporate symbols and images in with the words, shapes and lines. Be creative in how you represent different ideas and concepts.

5. Colors

Make sure you use different colors in your mind map. Colors can be used to group and highlight ideas and concepts that come while you’re creating the mind map. Mind maps are supposed to be multi-colored creations so don’t shy away from using color.

When you’re creating your mind map you want to do it in a style that is most meaningful to you. While it’s important to follow the set structure in order to make it an effective mind map, it’s just as important to create it according to your personal preferences. The purpose of the mind map is to analyze information but if you don’t understand it when it’s finished then the analysis won’t happen and the purpose will have been lost. The main thing to keep in mind is to let the mind map go where the creative energy takes it. Don’t try to force it into a specific shape. But it is important that you use the different shapes, colors, words and lines with a specific focus. You want to understand what each color, shape, symbol and image mean when you’re reading the map later so it’s important that the use is clear. Remember that the ultimate goal of a mind map is to analyze a concept thoroughly. Don’t make it so convoluted that the ultimate purpose is lost in translation but don’t make it so black and white that the visual nature of the mind map isn’t fully exploited.