What is a Mind Map? Ideas & Tips

What is a Mind Map? Ideas & Tips

What is a Mind Map? Ideas & Tips 1200 900 DRAWS STUDIO

By connecting complex ideas from a core concept, creating a mind map simplifies complex concepts into engaging visuals to enhance productivity and foster creativity. Transform overwhelming heaps of data into an organised and visually appealing design with this method. 

Explore mind mapping and discover how you can maximise its capabilities to see how information and concepts fit together with the article below!

What is a mind map?

A mind map or sketchnote is a visual tool used to structure, analyse, synthesise, and generate ideas to facilitate learning, increase memory recall, and stimulate creative thinking. It’s visual nature, often integrating colours, images, and symbols, caters to our brain’s preference for pictorial over textual information to enhance retention and engagement.

This begins with a central idea or concept, from which branches of related topics extend, further breaking down into subtopics or details. It makes it easier to see the big picture by visually organising relevant information around a central theme or idea.

Mind map sample

What are the benefits of A mind map?

The benefits of mind mapping stretch across many areas of life and work. Here 3 of the various advantages you can enjoy by creating your own: 

+ Assists retention and learning

A mind map enables you to structure information in a way that mirrors your brain’s natural, non-linear way of thinking and processing information. Doing so facilitates the connection of new knowledge with your existing knowledge, which promotes increased comprehensive understanding and long-term memory retention.

+ Improves productivity

Whether you’re brainstorming ideas, planning a project, or summarizing complex documents, mind maps help you capture thoughts quickly and organize them effectively. It makes goal-setting more achievable by breaking down heavy workloads into manageable tasks.

+ Promotes professionalism

Mind maps serve as a shared language that simplifies complex concepts into clear, understandable visual representations. With this, it leads to improved communication among team members and stakeholders. Using them in presentations can communicate ideas more effectively to showcase a clear thought process and a high level of work organisation.

What are the challenges of mind maps?

While highly beneficial, mind mapping may also present challenges if not maximised effectively. Here are some challenges you may face when creating your own:

+ Overcomplicating the structure of a mind map

If there are too many branches or levels, or if the connections between them are not clear, it can become confusing and counterproductive. It’s crucial to keep the organization logical and straightforward to prevent it from becoming a tool designed for simplification and clarity into a muddled, hard-to-follow structure.

+ Balancing simplicity with detail

If it’s overly simplistic, it might not provide the depth of understanding necessary. Conversely, if it’s too detailed, it can become overwhelming and defeat the purpose of creating a digestible visual summary. Related to the first point, striking a balance between capturing the essence of the information and maintaining enough detail is crucial.

+ Addressing subjectivity in a mind map

They are highly personal tools—what works for one person may not work for another, as everyone has a unique thought process and way of understanding information. This subjectivity can pose challenges when they are used in group or collaborative settings, where clarity and mutual understanding are key. When mind mapping for shared use, it’s important to ensure that the logic and structure used are as universally understandable as possible.

Traditional vs
Digital Mind Maps

In an era where digital tools are becoming increasingly integral to our lives, the traditional methods we once relied upon are being reinvented. But is one inherently better than the other, or do they each hold their own merits depending on your needs and goals? Here’s a comparative look at what is traditional and digital mind maps:

+ Traditional mind mapping

Traditional mind mapping involves manually creating a visual representation of your concept or ideas using paper and pen. Traditional ones offer a tactile, engaging experience that can enhance creativity and memory retention.

Pros of traditional mind mapping

  • Tactile experience: The act of physically drawing or writing can help cement information in our memory to improve comprehension and recall of the information discussed.
  • Flexibility: When you are drawing by hand, you have complete freedom to create any shape, structure, or layout, as you’re not bound by software restrictions.
  • Accessibility: Traditional ones require nothing more than a pen and paper. They can be created anywhere, anytime—without the need for a device or internet connection.

Cons of traditional mind mapping

  • Limited space: Physical paper has size limitations that make restructuring or expanding a hand-drawn mind map difficult once you’ve run out of space.
  • Lack of modification: If you want to modify or rearrange something, it can be messy or even impossible without erasing and redrawing.
  • Sharing and storage: It can be harder to share with others, especially over distance. Storing them also requires physical space, and they could be damaged or lost over time.

+ Digital mind mapping

Digital mind mapping involves the use of software or web-based applications on devices such as computers, tablets, or smartphones. Its digital format brings additional functionality and features that go beyond the capabilities of pen and paper.

Pros of DIGITal mind mapping

  • Editability and Scalability: Information can be easily added, removed, or rearranged, offering virtually unlimited space for expanding your ideas and flexibility that isn’t always possible with traditional, hand-drawn maps. 
  • Interactivity and Integration: Digital kinds allow for the integration of hyperlinks, images, videos, and other multimedia. They can also include task attributes such as due dates, priorities, and progress tracking, making them more interactive and functional.
  • Collaboration and Sharing: Can be easily shared with others for collaboration, making them particularly useful for team projects. Changes made by any team member can be instantly visible to others.

Cons of DIGITal mind mapping

  • Software Learning Curve: Each digital tool has its own interface and functionalities, which may require time to learn and get used to.
  • Dependency on Tech: Unlike the traditional kinds, digital mind mapping requires a device, potentially specific software, and usually an internet connection. Technical issues could also pose challenges.
  • Lack of Tactile Engagement: Some research suggests that the physical act of writing helps to reinforce memory, which is an aspect that’s missing in the digital approach.

Start Building Mind Maps with Ortus Draws!

Ortus Draws - Drawing

The use of mind maps, whether traditional or digital, offers an array of benefits that can significantly enhance the way you understand, remember, and communicate information. While there might be a few challenges to consider, the ease and benefits of this make it a strategy worth trying. 

Don’t wait any longer! Embrace the power of mind mapping today and experience the remarkable benefits for yourself. Contact Ortus Draws today and get expert advice on how you can create one effectively and efficiently.


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!