Generate creative ideas with a mind map

mind mapping

In this tutorial, we will create a mind map to generate ideas for a creative project.

Mind mapping is a great way to capture thoughts and come up with associations. I like to start with words. There are no rules, create something that makes sense to you.

Create a mind map

To get started, grab a pen and a sheet of paper.

Lay the paper down horizontally. Write your topic at the center of the page and circle it. This can be a company name or just a noun. Make sure to write small on your page, you will likely fill the page by the end of the exercise.

What does this main word make you think of? Create branches and write word associations or sub-topics from your main topic.

Then you can create branches from your subtopics. The word associations can be anything, physical things, feelings, audience, individual words, or concepts. Don’t censor your ideas at all at this stage. Write down every word that pops into your head. You might make connections you didn’t expect and bring it back to your original idea.

When you run out of ideas, go back to your original, central word and try to generate more subtopics.

Analyze the mind map

When you are finished, take a few minutes to analyze your mind map. Read your map in a clockwise manner, starting at 12 o’clock. Put a star next to or highlight important words that could be used in your project.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • What parts strike you as the most important?
  • What words could become visuals? Sketch a small icon next to the word if you’d like. 
  • Are there unexpected associations you can make from different points across the mind map? For example, And that’s how you make a mind map.

Watch the video below to walk through the process of creating a mind map.