Mind maps are one of the easiest, most common ways of visualizing data. They are used often as a thought development process, especially in education settings, as you can create ‘branches’ from one central idea in order to explore different related ideas.

But when it comes to create a visually engaging, well designed mind map it can be more difficult to know which kind of mind map is most effective.

Some mind map design best practice to keep in mind:

  • Pick 1/2 main colors to use in your mind map design
  • Don’t overcrowd the design, work outwards with your mind map rather than trying to cram everything into the center of the page. Use multiple branches or bubbles if needed.
  • Use a clear and legible font – any overly decorative fonts will be too difficult to read when small, and will make your design look busy and crowded
  • Create a mind map with the audience in mind – make sure you properly show your thought process rather than jumping from an idea bubble straight to a conclusion bubble
  • Label the mind map if needed – let people know what each layer of bubbles means

Here is an overview of the 7 main types of mind maps you can create:

Flow Map
A flow chart, visualizing a process, progression or set of instructions.

Multi-Flow Map
Ideal for determining the causes and effects of specific events.

Brace Map
The layout resembles a tree map on its side. These are intended for real objects or situations, rather than concepts or ideas.

Tree Map
Best for classifying and organizing information. The design itself is meant to represent an actual tree.

Circle Maps
Circles with the central idea at the core, each circle filled with related ideas of the previous layer.

Bubble Maps
The bubble map is meant to explain a theme or topic using related adjectives and descriptions.

Double Bubble Maps
Also known as Venn Diagrams, double bubble maps combines two bubble maps to show themes that relate.