February 17, 2007

Buzan on Mind Mapping

Tony Buzan, "Mr. Mind Map," has a video on YouTube in which he concisely introduces key mind-mapping concepts and the research behind them. For example, he discusses why a branch should have only one word on it and the benefits of using color. Mind mapping is a great way to brainstorm, to see the relationships between ideas, and to get ideas out of the brain and onto paper or pixels. I think paper is generally the way to go but for mind maps that need to be shared, archived or heavily edited, software can be appropriate. I use FreeMind because it's free and fairly easy to learn. Buzan has recently released his own iMindMap which is expensive but "official" (whatever that's worth). Anyway, here's the YouTube video.

Edit: I just realized that I didn't explain well what mind mapping is. There's a decent entry in Wikipedia. Here is an excerpt from it:

Tony Buzan suggests using the following foundation structures for Mind Mapping:

  1. Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colours.
  2. Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
  3. Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
  4. Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line.
  5. The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
  6. Make the lines the same length as the word/image.
  7. Use colours – your own code – throughout the Mind Map.
  8. Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
  9. Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
  10. Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

An idea map is similar to a mind map but does not adhere to the above guidelines. Rules are constantly broken based on the purpose and application of the map.

And for those who are more visual, here's a mind map of how to create a mind map (from the same Wikipedia entry linked to above):


  1. Hi Jeremy!

    I found this info very timely! I am taking another we building class this semester, and this mind mapping incorporates all the elements we need to show our web design theory!

    I shall find this to be a very useful tool. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm glad you found it helpful and timely. I like mind mapping for brainstorming and also to keep track of otherwise overwhelmingly large projects. It's nice to have everything on one map for the big picture, but to be able to zoom in on one branch or sub-branch at a time.

  3. thank u chinaman..most helpful