Many people have a misunderstanding about concept map vs mind map. Most of them thought they were the same in meaning but different in word expression. In fact, they are distinctive domains; each model will be utilized for different purposes and situations.

The concept map appears in big scope analysis with interconnected concepts, while a mind map is utilized in brainstorming for ideas organization. If you can distinguish the two models, you can effectively apply them in problem-solving.

The article below will list the most distinctive characteristics of the two models.

Differences Between Concept Map And Mind Map


What Is A Concept Map?

Concept mapping is a diagram that visualizes and displays the connections between concepts and ideas on a single board. That information is consolidated in different shapes such as rectangles, triangles, or circles. 

There are a lot of models: flowchart mapping, web mapping, hierarchy mapping, etc. Each map represents different levels of specification of information. For instance, flowchart can only illustrate one layer of data in a linear process. Meanwhile, a hierarchy diagram can show an enormous amount of data in descending order in terms of importance level.

In regard to its advantages, it is an amazing assistant in your work and your creativity. First of all, the concept map illustrates a thorough visualization of your campaign in which the data is classified logically. 

Secondly, building concept diagrams is also an effective way to activate your brain because this creating process requires fast and logical thinking. Once you master this type of chart, you can find out the root of issues in a split second.

Besides, concept mapping is an effective tool to foster your creativity. This type of chart is not restricted in number and text, but it offers highlight and visualization which makes things more interesting and inspirational.

concept map
A concept map

What Is A Mind Map?

Mind mapping is a higher level of brainstorming. It helps you structure the To-Do List or analyze the issues on one board. However, this diagram only considers one side of the problem, which means it has only one layer of information. Besides, you can also choose colors for blocks and highlight the branches in different colors to represent the connections between ideas. 

Mind mapping is not based on any framework or criteria; you have to create them independently. In return, the map will activate and foster your brain and support memory function, suggesting the right orientation for problem solving.

A Mind Map


Concept mapping has complex ideas with various layers of information. You will have major ideas in the middle, and then you divide the idea into smaller sections. After defining the main sessions, it is time to analyze and expand those second layers into more specific branches.

This type of chart will be very beneficial for the manager to have a clear overview of the company's campaigns. Use this diagram if you want to develop your critical and creative thinking.

In contrast to the complexity of concept mapping, mind maps are used to generate single ideas, and they usually have one to two layers. Once you find out the main problem or the project's main ideas,  it is urgent to make a detailed analysis of that key point. 

Using the mind mapping, you will start to figure out the central topic,  and then you can analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the project. 

Working in this model is quite interesting as it reflects the opinion and tacit knowledge of the creator, and it is more individual than the concept map.

concept map structure
A concept map structure


Generally, both systems aim to assist users in analyzing ideas. However, if you look at the structure of each type, you will see the difference in function.

Regarding the concept diagram, it can support tracking solutions and building campaigns in case there are too many complicated problems. 

The relationships between those contributed factors are compiled in this conceptual chart, which help users come up with the final assumption. The more detailed the model, the easier it is to make a decision.

On the other hand, the mind map is much smaller, and it can trigger the user's creativity juice to flow. You can break up one idea from the concept map and transfer it to the mind map. 

Analyzing one specific section of the project can help you understand the root of a problem. In addition, brainstorming also assists the user in summarizing the information.

mind map vs concept map
Mind map and concept map

When To Use Which one?

Based on the complexity of the problem, people can choose either a concept map or mind map. Multiple models are more feasible in a complex problem or strategy that a company/an individual has to come up with instantly. 

It will take a lot of time to research and filter the information. The sub-branches in the conceptual model will help you list that option's potential advantages and weaknesses.

If you have a tactic issue that cannot be analyzed in a big-scope map, mind mapping will be the ultimate choice. This small simulation focuses mainly on one aspect of the macro environment. Furthermore, you can use the graphical tool to highlight the keywords to understand the issue better.

Comparison Table

These are the summary of differences between the two:

concept map vs. mind map comparison table

Concept Map

Has more layers
Built based on a fixed concept
Tackle various problems
Ideas linked by arrows
Every layer has a mutual relationship
Used in campaign management,  restructuring the company operation.

Mind Map

Only have one layer
Build based on individual preference
Tackle single problem
Ideas linked by straight lines
One-side relation between the big idea to the detailed analysis.
Used in a single problem analysis 

Quick Rundown Of Concept Map


  • More detailed information
  • Illustrate multiple problems
  • Activate the critical thinking process
  • Optimal tool for analyzing homework
  • Good interface
  • Explicit relationship among factors
  • Solving various problems at the same time


  •  Unable to memorize information
  •  Take much effort
  •  Complicated layout
  •  Difficult to change one block

Quick Rundown Of Mind Map


  • Simple implementation
  • Focus on one issue
  • Best brainstorming practice
  • Convenient note-taking
  • Straightforward connection
  • Take little effort
  • Good in separating problems


  • Limited access to problems
  • Represent little information