At some point you will want to expand your use of the mind map and I wanted to introduce some of the more complex elements you would find in an advanced mind map. Since mind maps can seem advanced and complex for users who don’t have a lot of experience with them, I’m going to do a comparison to best highlight the differences.

mind map photo1

It is fairly simple in format and concept. It’s been created to plan a vacation and consider the different areas of planning. While it may look fairly complex, in the world of mind maps, it’s much more basic.

1. Color

Color is an important element in mind maps but this one is almost completely devoid of color. The only color is in the central concept area and the rest of the map is in black text.

2. Lines

While this mind map does make good use of lines to both connect and highlight the different topics, they’re done in a way that is fairly simple to understand. The connecting lines are singular in nature and are the root of the mind map, effectively illustrating the important points of the map.

3. Shapes

This mind map has one shape, a circle that is used to highlight the main concept.

4. Words

This mind map uses words in different formats to differentiate between topic headings and sub headings. If you look, you’ll notice that the topic headings are in all caps while the sub headings are in initial caps.

Ultimately this mind map in Figure 5-1 has only four elements and they’re all used fairly sparingly. The one element that is used in different ways is words which make for a pretty basic mind map. Now let’s look at an advanced mind map.

mind map photo2

Figure 5-2 is an example of an advanced mind map and you can easily see the difference between it and the one in Figure 5-1. But the thing to understand is why this one is more advanced and how the different elements are being used to analyze the topic. If you notice this is another mind map about mind maps. As you begin to gain a better understanding of how mind maps work I wanted it to do double duty. You’ll be able to come back to these mind maps and use them as references for content as well as format. But now let’s dive into this mind map and discuss what makes it advanced.

1. Color

This mind map is more colorful than the one in Figure 5-1. It has about eleven different colors in it (possibly more if you consider different shades of one color a different color) but each color serves a purpose. Not only does it help to make the mind map more interesting to look at, it highlights different elements of the map and underscores their importance. Before you begin to really analyze or read the mind map, your eye will be drawn to the colored elements. This use of color affects how any given person will interact with the map based on what your eye is drawn to first.

2. Lines

The lines in this mind map are much more complex than in the basic one. Not only are they radiating out from the different topics, they are also used as links between topics and are curved to highlight different terms.

3. Shapes

This mind map doesn’t use a lot of shapes but there are a few different ones that are mixed in with the different images. There are also arrows incorporated into the mind map which serve to further highlight specific topics covered.

4. Words

As with other mind maps, this one uses key words to identify different topics while supporting the images, lines and shapes used throughout. The words are consistently all caps.

5. Images

Unlike the basic mind map this one makes use of different images to organize and emphasize different topics.

This advanced mind map covers a lot more topics using the all of the same tools as the basic mind map with one addition. However, it’s still fairly easy to understand what the map is communicating to the reader.

More advanced mind maps are necessary when you are analyzing concepts that are more complex and may require instruction or additional insight. With the basic mind map, it’s essentially a list maker that makes it possible for you to analyze multiple lists at once. With an advanced mind map, it’s more about dissecting a topic and using the links, images, colors and words to simplify the topic.

Below are some additional examples of advanced mind maps.

mind map photo3

The mind map in Figure 5-3 is a hand drawn one that makes full use of color, shapes, images, words and lines. As a mind map that analyzes the creativity and imagination, it’s definitely very imaginative. In spite of all of the information and creativity included, it’s still clear and easy to read. It’s important to remember that clarity is most important when creating a mind map no matter how creative it is.

mind map photo5

The mind map in Figure 5-4 provides tips on how to deal with stress. It has a LOT of detail and uses images, colors, shapes, lines and words to dissect stress and offer tips on how to manage it. This kind of mind map could easily overwhelm someone new to the concept but as you get more comfortable with it, you’ll begin to see the value in this type of map. It provides a lot of valuable information at a glance. If you were to write all of this out using sentences, you would have a multi-page document. In this form it can be very easily shared with a large group of people.

mind map photo6

The mind map in Figure 5-5 breaks down a program designed to change a person’s behavior. Because this type of program can be very complex and involve many different factors, this mind map is guaranteed to be an advanced one. By using colors, shapes, symbols, images and words, it addresses the different program elements effectively. Much like the mind map in Figure 5-4, if this one were written out using words it would be a multi-page document. However, these types of programs often need to be pitched to multiple people before they can be introduced. By using a mind map, all of the information is presented without being overwhelming. Plus it’s much easier to share this with multiple people.

If you look at the above mind maps, you’ll notice that they can be used for a wide variety of topics. Mind maps aren’t just created for creative or educational pursuits. They can be used to craft new programs and to encourage people to deal with life changes differently. Any topic that you want to work through can be addressed using a mind map. Plus, once you’ve created it, you can come back to it and continue to build on it. In fact, that is encouraged especially in situations where the mind map is being created by one person.