The Beginner’s Guide to Mind Mapping

The Beginner’s Guide to Mind Mapping

The Beginner’s Guide to Mind Mapping 1200 900 DRAWS STUDIO

In a world overflowing with information and distractions, the human brain often feels like a browser with too many tabs open. Thankfully, mind maps offer a visual medium to organise concepts and ideas to help you streamline your thoughts, declutter your mind, and set your creativity on a clear path.  

Whether you’re a student trying to grasp complex concepts or a professional planning a project, mind mapping is the compass you need to navigate possibilities effectively. Learn what is a mind map, how to make a mind map, and how you can leverage them to boost productivity with our comprehensive guide below!

What is Mind Mapping?

Mind mapping is a visual tool used to represent ideas, tasks, or concepts linked to and arranged around a central topic. Its graphical nature enables users to structure and explore information in a way that’s intuitive and free-flowing.  By utilising keywords, colours, images, and spatial relationships, mind maps offer a comprehensive overview of complex topics.

Knowledge made visual

How to Create a Mind Map in 5 Easy Steps

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all method to mind mapping. Your mind map is a reflection of your unique thinking process. Building your first mind map might seem daunting. But with these 5 easy steps, you’ll be able to creatively visualise concepts and ideas!

1. Choose your central idea
or topic

Start by identifying the primary theme or subject you want to explore with a mind map. Place this central idea in the centre of your page or digital canvas. You can write a single word or a phrase or even draw an image that represents the topic.

2. Brainstorm subtopics 

Think about the main components, categories, or aspects of your central idea. As thoughts pop up, draw branches radiating outward from the central topic to represent its relationship to your central idea. Label each branch with a keyword or short phrase that represents that subtopic.

3. Expand with related ideas

For each subtopic, consider more specific details, examples, or related concepts. Create smaller branches stemming from each subtopic and label them. The mind map structure will begin to look like a tree, with the central idea as the trunk and the various thoughts as branches and sub-branches.

4. Utilise colours and images

Engage both sides of your brain by adding a splash of colour to differentiate branches or to emphasise specific points. Incorporate images, symbols, or doodles wherever relevant. Doing so not only makes your mind map more visually appealing but also aids in memory retention.

5. Review and refine

Once you’ve laid out your initial thoughts, take a moment to review. Are there connections you missed? Maybe there are areas that could be expanded further or branches that might be better grouped together. Get creative, and feel free to rearrange and refine your mind map as needed.

Mind Mapping Techniques

Transform simple sketches and ideas into cognitive tools with mind mapping. Here are a few simple techniques you should consider to make the most out of mind mapping:

Harness Visual Power

Embrace the full spectrum of colour to differentiate topics or group ideas to evoke specific thoughts or responses with your mind map. Go beyond basic circles and lines and incorporate varied shapes to denote different ideas or priorities. And instead of lengthy sentences, encapsulate your ideas in potent keywords or images to ensure clarity and impact.

Deep Dive with
Branch Integration 

Explore multi-layered concepts with confidence by extending your primary branches into secondary or even tertiary offshoots. This structured layering of mind mapping allows you to break down intricate ideas into comprehensible, bite-sized portions to make complex knowledge and concepts accessible to readers.

Optimise Flow and Hierarchy

Give direction to your thoughts using arrows or varying branch thickness to indicate the flow or importance of your mind map. Structure your mind map hierarchically by placing pivotal concepts close to the centre to ensure a natural visual progression of thoughts from core ideas to nuanced details.

Personal and Professional Mind Mapping Applications

Discover how a mind map can be a powerful tool in revolutionising both your personal and professional life with the section below.

Using mind maps to
boost memory and recall

With mind maps, you visually structure information to make details and information inherently more memorable. The colours, shapes, and spatial relationships visualised on your mind map significantly enhance memory recall to make revisions or presentations a breeze.

Mind maps for enhanced learning

Mind maps help break down vast information and unexplored concepts into digestible pieces of information. By creating connections between topics, you not only understand the material but also see the big picture, which aids in a holistic and personal learning experience.

Mind mapping for goal setting and achieving objectives

For personal goals or professional targets, mind mapping lays out a clear visual plan. By mapping out the steps, strategies, and resources, you get a bird’s eye view of your path that makes the journey to achieving your objectives more tangible.

Mind mapping for problem-solving and decision-making

Decisions often come with various influences and potential outcomes. Maximising mind maps to lay these factors out helps you weigh your options, visualise consequences, and arrive at informed choices.

Mind mapping for project planning and management

One primary reason projects can seem overwhelming is the multitude of tasks involved. Mind maps allow you to break these tasks into sub-tasks and even further into individual steps or requirements. You can also consider creating a section or branch dedicated to potential risks and ensuing mitigation strategies to be better prepared to tackle any unforeseen challenges.

Collaborative mind mapping
for team projects

Enhance team synergy by co-creating mind maps. Collaborative mapping ensures everyone’s on the same page, facilitates brainstorming, and promotes the integration of diverse perspectives that leads to well-rounded project outcomes.

Mind mapping for creative writing and content organisation

For writers and content creators, mind maps can be the scaffold to structure ideas, plot points, character developments, or article sections. By visualising the flow of each aspect, you can craft coherent narratives or comprehensive content pieces.

Creating a Mind Map
With Ortus Draws

Navigating the digital landscape of today demands more than just words; it calls for vivid visuals that engage, explain, and inspire. With a mind map, you can make the most out of conceptual visuals to ensure valuable conversations, effective communication, and collaborative engagement. 

Mind mapping

Take it a step further by incorporating compelling designs for your mind mapping techniques. Learn more expert advice and insights about how to create a mind map with Orus Draws! Our offerings—live sketchnoting that captures real-time insights, detailed graphic illustrations, and engaging video animations—seamlessly blend the structured beauty of mind maps and visually captivating designs with your personal touch. Contact us and make the most out of mind mapping today!


Ortus Draws is a live sketchnoting company that specialises in bringing ideas to life with creative and informative sketchnotes, video animation, and graphic illustrations. Our sketchnotes capture the key points of virtual events, roundtables, webinars, discussions, conferences, presentations, pitches, interviews, and internal meetings. Are you looking for an illustrator for your event? Contact us now!