Mind Mapping

A mind map is a tool for the brain that captures the thinking that goes on inside your head. Mind mapping helps you think, collect knowledge, remember and create ideas. Most likely it will make you a better thinker.

Mind maps can be created in many different ways, but they share the same basics:

Central theme

A central theme is placed in the centre of a blank page. This is the title, the subject, a problem or just a thought. When thinking of something images automatically take form in your head. For example the image of a “colorful bunch of balloons” when thinking of “birthday”.

Image of a bunch of colored balloons

Fig.1 Central theme & image


From the central theme associations radiate out. Associations directly from the central theme are called first level associations. Then second level associations are created, third level and so on. The brain thinks by imagination and association. When associations are created, connections are made. These connections are essential for remembering and thinking.

Central theme, image & associations

Fig.2 Central theme & associations

Curved lines

Associations are often drawn as curved lines. They are  curved rather than straight, because the brain likes curves.

Fig.3 Curved lines guide the eyes smoothly from one association to the next

Fig.3 Curved lines guide the eyes smoothly from one association to the next


Mind maps summarize information. Instead of sentences, ideally only single keywords are used. A single word per association gives more freedom, creativity and clarity.

Single keywords are connected to birthday

Fig.4 Keywords summarise and give clarity


Long sentences that are connected are difficult to read

Fig 5. Sentences are difficult to read and only a very limited number of associations can be made


The length of a word ideally matches the length of a curved line. That causes associated words to  be in close proximity.

Fig.6 Words that are close are connected

Fig.6 Words that are close are connected

Keywords have lines that are too long

Fig 7. Words that are far apart are disconnected

7 associations

A mind map can have many first level associations, but the mind can only grasp about a maximum of 7.



Lines with 6 general associations for birthday are easy to read

Fig.8 A few associations give a clear view

Too many lines of associations create chaos

Fig. 9 Too many associations create chaos

Color & images

The use of color is important in the mind map. Research shows that people who use color and images in their imagination, when they are learning, are better in remembering than those who don’t.

Full mindmap with keywords, color and images

Fig.10 In the mind map images are used like keywords. The key image is a picture; a picture is worth a thousand words!