Interactive mind maps

To kick-start my thoughts at the start of a project I’ll normally jot a few mind maps (or word maps). Sometimes I’ll use a thesaurus if there’s a word I particularly want to focus on.

Late to the show, I stumbled upon Visual Thesaurus, a kind of interactive mind mapping tool.

Visual thesaurus

It was invented by Marc Tinkler of New York-based Thinkmap at a time when swissmiss was design director with his firm.

“I got to brand The Visual Thesaurus, shape the user interface of the actual app, do the first version of their site, and work on all marketing material. It was my last big project before I left and went out on my own and also one of the most exciting projects I have ever worked on in my career.”

(Quoted from an interview with Tina on The Great Discontent.)

Visual Thesaurus now contains more than 145,000 English words and more than 115,000 meanings. You can listen to British and American pronunciations, and there are beta versions in five European languages, too.

It’s subscription-based, or you can test it for free.

A brilliant reference and education tool for anyone interested in communication.

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  1. I wish I knew this existed on my last logo design project. With so many free web tools out there it’s unfortunate that this costs money to use.

  2. Ryan Smith


    A similar and free site would be I’ve used this site many times to lead me to that perfect word that then get’s the whole creative process started.

  3. I’ve been looking for something like this for ages! It’s really fun to play around with and I’m sure it’ll form the early research basis for my next project.

    Mind mapping is a great tool and I put it to use throughout each project several times. I’m also a prolific “to do” list writer and they seem to appear on page after page in my sketchbook!

  4. What a great tool, thanks for sharing.

  5. Excellent tool, and thanks to Ryan Smith for a free solution. I’m gonna be using these for sure, instead of the dictionary and synonym search tools.

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