Concept maps help make the intangible, tangible. They show the spatial and relational distances between thoughts and ideas… and because they are visual, they often open up thinking and reveal unarticulated patterns.

A quick look at concept maps

Dubberly Design Office has created some effective and detailed concept maps. This article addresses some of the key features of concept mapping. Dubberly (2010) lists the following main steps in creating concept maps:

  • List terms
  • Edit the list
  • Define the remaining terms
  • Create a matrix showing the relations of terms
  • Rank the terms
  • Decide on main branches or write framing sentences
  • Fill in the rest of the structure
  • Revise
  • Apply typography to reinforce the structure
  • Revise


Some examples from the Dubberly Design Office:

A concept map on motivation by Dennis Cheatham: Concept Map Example

Dennis Cheatham

Associate Professor, Communication Design

Miami University

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