How can you connect ideas, show the relationship between parts, and expand on concepts?
What happens when I click one of your templates? You’ll be asked to create a free Venngage account. Then, you’ll enter our online drag and drop editor. Just so you know, some of our templates are free, some require a small monthly fee to use.
Find mind map templates now (click the links below to jump ahead):
- What is a mind map?
- Free mind map templates
- Simple mind map templates
- Brainstorming mind map templates
- Strategy mind map templates
- Marketing mind map templates
What is a mind map?
A mind map is a type of chart that organizes information visually.
Typically, a mind map will stem from a central idea, with supporting ideas branching out from it in a nonlinear order.
Here’s an example:
There are plenty of mind map templates available online. But, most of them are boring and they all look the same.
A boring mind map is not going to engage your potential customers or stakeholders.
This one will:
In this post, I’ll share 20+ UNIQUE mind map templates you can customize, then share or download right away.
How can I customize your mind map templates?
- Pick a mind map template from this blog post. Some templates are free, some require a small fee to use.
- Or browse our mind map template library to see all the templates at once.
- Click the template you like. You’ll be asked to create a free Venngage account.
- You’ll enter our mind map maker tool. It’s drag and drop so you don’t need any design experience to use it.
- Click any text box within the template to edit the text.
- Copy and paste to add new nodes. Or delete nodes you don’t want.
- Add icons, photos or your brand colors. We’ll show you how to do this later.
- Share or email your mind map within the editor for free.
- Upgrade to download your mind map.
Here’s a sneak peek of what the Venngage editor looks like:
Keep reading for mind map design templates and customization tips…
1. Start with one central idea and work outwards
Typically, mind maps start with one central idea, like “Qualities of Inventors and Company Founders.”
Place that central idea in the middle of your mind map and branch out your supporting ideas around it. Focus on one keyword for each idea.
Then, break down those ideas further using nodes or bullet point notes.
This mind map template uses bullet points within its secondary nodes:
Pro Tip: Planning a strategy such as SEO topic clusters? Brainstorming session with your client or boss? Plug your ideas into a mind map and email it to him or her. Venngage’s sharing button within the editor makes it simple, like in the example below:
2. Come up with a design concept for your mind map
If you want to make a mind map that is engaging for readers, you should follow some basic principles for good infographic design.
If you plan on sharing your mind map in a presentation, blog post, or any form of longer content where you want to keep readers engaged, come up with a design concept for your mind map.
Your design concept will determine what kinds of supporting visuals you include, what colors you use, and how you choose to lay out your mind map.
For example, this mind map template uses an image of a lightbulb as the focal point to reflect the theme of “thinking” and “ideas”:
The supporting visuals above help to illustrate each idea that branches off from the concept of “design thinking.”
You can also use photography to support a theme, like how the sunrise in the below template signals “hope”:
Pro Tip: You can change photos easily in the Venngage editor. Open the “Photos” tab and search by keyword. In the below example, I searched “background” and replaced the existing sunrise photo with a photo of the night sky. I dragged it onto the canvas and resized it to fit the mind map. It took a couple of clicks to do.
3. Use multiple colors to differentiate ideas from each other
Color selection isn’t just important for making your designs look nice. It’s also an important part of making your charts more readable.
Color can help you organize information and draw attention to specific points.
In the mind map example below, a solid black color draws attention to the central idea:
The supporting ideas in the mind map above are all different colors, which helps them stand out from one another.
This makes the mind map easier to scan.
Same with the strategy mind map template below:
You could use the template above in your business plan for your new company or venture.
In this marketing strategy mind map, different types of marketing are organized by color:
Of course, you can use the above strategy mind map for any industry–not just marketing.
Pro Tip: Brand your mind map template with one click. Venngage’s My Brand Kit tool lets you add your brand colors (or your client’s brand colors) with zero design know-how. Just open the “My Brand Kit” tab in the editor and click on the palette you want. The tool can grab a color palette automatically from any website or you can set the colors manually. Whatever you like!
In the example below, I changed the above mind map template’s default color palette to Venngage’s blue/gray brand color palette with one click:
4. Avoid cluttering your mind map design by using a neutral color scheme
In certain cases, like if you’re sharing your mind map on social media or in a blog post, you may want to make your mind map especially eye-catching, with lots of decorative visuals.
A plain and direct design is effective when you want to communicate information as clearly as possible, like in a report or internal presentation.
A neutral background with a few accent colors will prevent your mind map design from looking cluttered and overstuffed.
Clean, simple shapes and lines are easy for the eyes and brain to process, like in these two templates:
5. Use different line widths to create a visual hierarchy
Visual hierarchy is all about creating different visual weights by varying size, shape, color, position, and density.
For example, in this mind map template, the perceived density of the shapes creates two levels of hierarchy–a dense, filled (and visually salient) central idea surrounded by lighter, outlined ideas. Put more simply, more ink commands more attention!
6. Use different sized circles to create a visual hierarchy
Another way to create a visual hierarchy is to use different sized shapes in your mind map, like in this example:
Give high-level ideas bigger circles and supporting ideas smaller circles.
This indicates that the supporting ideas are part of a larger whole.
7. Use double lines to create a visual hierarchy
Yet another way to create visual hierarchy in your mind map is to double up on key connecting lines.
In the mind map template below, the supporting ideas (storage, forms, and generation) connect to the central idea with double lines:
Then, the supporting ideas that branch off from them only use single lines.
Once again, the more ink there is in one place, the more attention drawn to that part of your mind map.
8. Color code different branches of your mind map to connect ideas
Like I already mentioned, color can be used strategically to make your mind map easier to read.
While you can use a different color for each idea, you can also use colors to connect ideas like in this example:
The above mind map breaks down a business strategy into 3 branches:
- Customer service
Each of the three branches has its own color. This emphasizes the three branches of the strategy and makes it easier to scan for specific information.
9. Use icons to illustrate ideas on your mind map template
Icons are simple vector graphics that illustrate ideas. Because they’re so simple and space-saving, icons are perfect for including in your charts.
Use icons to illustrate ideas and make them easier to remember.
For example, this marketing mind map template uses a simple icon for each node:
Pro Tip: Replace any icon in your mind map template. In the Venngage editor, click the icon and then click “Replace.” Our icon library will open, with thousands of choices. Click one and we’ll automatically replace and resize for you. In the below example, I replaced the web icon with a WordPress icon.
10. Use a grid layout to keep your mind map organized
If you’re concerned with keeping your mind map organized, then using a grid layout will help you arrange the elements neatly on the page.
On Venngage, you can use the grid tool to make this easier:
11. Focus your ideas on a few key questions
If you’re not sure where to start your mind map, ask yourself what the main questions you want to answer are.
It could be one question, or a couple of related questions. Then, expand on those questions in your mind map.
For example, this mind map template breaks down three central questions that focus on company productivity:
12. Use different shapes to create a hierarchy in your mind map design
Here’s a bonus way to create visual hierarchy in your mind map: use different shapes for different levels of information.
For example, this mind map uses a camera shape for the central idea to reflect the film theme. Then, the supporting concepts use a black rectangle that draws your attention, with smaller, light circle ideas branching out:
13. Print keywords in upper case for emphasis
Differentiate focus words from the rest by writing them in upper case. For example, the mind map template below uses upper case for the title and the central idea. This indicates that those are the main points of the mind map.
You could also use a different font to emphasize keywords. Be sure to choose fonts that reflects the theme and style of your mind map.
14. Create a symmetrical mind map template
Symmetrical designs are pleasing to the eye. They can also make your charts feel more balanced and organized. To create a symmetrical mind map, place an even number of branches on either side of the central idea.
For example, this mind map template has three branches on either side of the central image. The elements on both side are evenly spaced and aligned, creating a balanced design.
15. When needed, include a brief description of your mind map
Depending on the purpose of your mind map, you may need to offer a bit more context than just a few words provide. In those cases, it’s good practice to include a brief description of what the mind map is about.
For example, this mind map shows the main goals of a business growth strategy. A brief introduction under the title of the mind map helps readers understand how the different branches play into the strategy.
Create a mind map that works for you
These tips are a starting point for creating a mind map.
Ultimately, the design choices you make should depend on the information you want to visualize and the purpose of your mind map.
Most importantly, think about your audience when creating a mind map:
- What information do they need to understand your mind map?
- How in-depth do you need to go?
- What can you do to make your mind map more engaging?