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15 Creative Graphic Organizer Types

Visualize your content and ideas with a graphic organizer.

Getting ready to start a new project or trying to explain a complex idea to someone? Visualizing your information in one of these 15 graphic organizer types is the best way to easily organize your thoughts and ideas.

From Venn diagrams to tree charts to circle maps and more, this video will help you find the perfect way to visualize your information. Use one of these graphic organizer types in your next article, report or lesson to aid your audience.

12:35 Beginner
Video Transcript

If you’re taking on a new project that has you overwhelmed, don’t worry. Creating a graphic organizer will visualize all of your ideas, and it’s easier than you think.

Hello world! I’m Mike Ploger here with Visme, the online design tool that can simplify even the most complex ventures. A new assignment or project can often be intimidating. How can we organize all of our ideas, facts, statistics, concepts without getting lost and feeling flustered?

Well, you should start by visualizing your thoughts with a graphic organizer. These help structure your thought process and while you may think it adds more overall work time, You’ll actually find that you’ll be able to work much quicker.

On the same token, graphic organizers are excellent teaching tools. By providing a visual display of information, students will learn your topic much easier. So, in this video, we have 15 graphic organizer types that will help you get started, visualizing your material. Shall we?

1. Circle Map

Our first graphic organizer is the circle map. As you can see with our example beside me, these consist of two circles. A bigger outer circle plus a smaller inner circle. 

I like to think of that inner circle as the nucleus. In it goes your main idea or topic, while that outer circle consists of corresponding ideas. This is one of the most simple visuals and it can be used in a variety of settings. 

For our youngest designers, maybe in preschool, the middle could say a color, like red. While the outer circle would be filled with things of that color. Like apples or roses or even adjectives about how the color makes the kids feel. 

Or maybe you’re searching for ideas in a brainstorm session. Fill your inner circle with your topic and ask others for help to develop ideas for that outer rim. The circle map is simple but it’s a great tool for containing your ideas.

2. Spider Map

Now, the spider map is quite similar to the circle map, but in this case, we want you to find a topic in detail rather than just brainstorm a few ideas. 

You still have your main point in the middle circle but surrounding it are the legs leading to various actions or phrases. 

Take a look here right beside me. This person created a personal spider map to visualize their goals for the rest of the year. Their goals are front and center while the legs reach out to specific items he or she wants to achieve. 

Another school example would be a spider map in a Science classroom. Simply put mammals in that center circle, and each leg can reach out to defining characteristics. Like give birth, have hair or fur and so on. 

Or maybe you’re beginning a marketing campaign and you want to define your target audience. This is a great way to do so. Establish your perfect consumer and define their characteristics in legs. 

Just remember – details, details, details. That’s what a spider map is all about.

3. Idea Wheel

When you have a ton of information about one topic, and you’re having a hard time keeping it all organized, use an idea wheel. These are essentially circle and spider maps combined into one. 

You have your one main point in the middle still and with that outer circle, you have simple related points then connected to those outer points are sections of information. 

AKA, more details related to those points that you’ve already made. These idea wheels are excellent for freestyle brainstorming and will help you visualize the bigger picture.

4. Idea Web

Okay, back to the spider map. We explained just one spider map before but you can make it effective comparison graphic organizer by connecting two spider maps in what is called an idea web. 

Here, you can see how two spider maps come together as one. Each spider map has a few identical points, which is where the spider maps connect. Then the differences are the other legs extending in opposite directions. 

You’ll see idea webs in schools when comparing two characters in a novel or here, comparing a dry habitat to a wet one. 

And if you’re weighing a tough decision with two possible choices, an idea web could be handy there as well. 

These graphic organizers layout the similarities and differences of any subject. And if you don’t like the branch idea, I have another example shortly that may be more appealing.

5. Concept Map

Now, sometimes in our brainstorming process, so many ideas and thoughts come to mind that we word vomit and spill countless ideas onto one page. This is okay, as long as we organize it with a concept map

Yes, it looks like a lot but it’s just slightly more complex than our previous examples. You have your main subject matter with various subheaders branching off of that one topic. And then more detailed points are bubbling around those. 

These graphic organizers are best for personal use rather than to share as they appear so complex, but when it’s time to revisit the graphic, you’ll understand your original thinking.

6. Venn Diagram

Okay. Back to simple. We’re all familiar with a Venn diagram. These are practically the same idea as an idea web, just with a different look. 

Venn diagrams visually reference the differences and similarities between multiple things. You can compare two ideas like working in freelance or working corporate as we see here, or you can go bigger. 

A big difference between idea webs and Venn diagram is here, you can compare more than just two topics. I mean, check this out! We see so many different meanings defining one main concept. It’s not a Venn diagram of two or three but four different things. 

The more descriptions, the more complex, but it will help a viewer bring all of your ideas together. 

Have I mentioned how Visme can help with graphic organizers? Venn diagrams are just one of several examples available to edit on our website. But first, let’s show you a few more.

7. Tree Chart

A tree chart is a great way to organize individuals or tasks needing to be taken care of leading up to an event. You have your main title at the top, followed by a subtopic and then the relevant information then branches out towards the bottom. 

These can be used in all walks of life, whether it’s in school, and you’re establishing different details of a subject matter or if you’re writing an essay or speech, you can organize different paragraphs you want to mention and the important details for each. 

Or as I said in the beginning, as we see in this example, you can organize tasks and the individuals assigned to them. The tree chart is universal. Whatever your information, a tree chart can likely visualize it.

8. Organizational Chart

At first glance, an organizational chart may appear as a tree chart. However, they are not the same. 

These charts focus more on hierarchy, rather than classifications. Tree charts are best and most common when establishing a ranking within a company. Perhaps on a website. 

As you can see with our example, at the top is the CMO for this company’s marketing team, then the two employees directly beneath her in the pecking order then followed by the rest of the staff. 

These help customers visualize a team and even get to know those who are in charge of  a product.

9. Sequence of Events Chain

If you’re familiar with the flow chart, then you’ll have no problem understanding a sequence of events chain. 

Here, you’re representing a process, progression or instructions to reach an end goal. So, make sure you clarify your topic with a heading as usual, then create your progression with your first point followed by a path heading towards that second point. 

The progression should be clear and easy to follow. These can be found on websites as a timeline of a company’s history or they’re great as recipes. Don’t hesitate to get creative and add some illustrations to the mix, as you can see with our example here beside me.

10. Cause and Effect Map 

Now, the cause and effect map is pretty self explanatory, but I have some tips for how to use it properly. 

Start with your main event or topic right smack in the middle of the graphic. Then, on the left side, place some shapes and sublines showcasing the causes. On the right, do the same but with your effects. 

Again, there are a number of ways to use this graphic organizer. One could be air pollution as we see with the example here next to me. Or maybe you have a goal in mind. Place that right smack in the middle with ways to achieve it on the left and outcomes on the right. 

Or try it with a hypothetical, like relocating your office or flipping an old home. This type of graphic organizer is one of the most versatile, and it’ll help clarify outcomes given potential actions.

11. Brace Map

Okay, back to the tree chart. Turn it sideways, boom! Brace map!

Okay, you’re right, it’s not that simple. A brace map is for visualizing every detail for a real life topic, while a tree chart is conceptual and more brainstorm oriented. 

Math teachers, take the number 563. Start with the full number, then to the left, break it down into a bracket. 500, 60 and 3. After that, you could break down those numbers even more with 5 one hundreds, 6 tens and 3 ones. Take it as far as you’d like. 

Or how about if you are creating a website. Start with a homepage with the bracket breaking down the individual sub pages. Then create other brackets with the details of each page. 

A brace map takes a big picture object and breaks it down into the individual components making up that object.

12. Analogy

Analogies are great teaching tools with any topic. They highlight the similarities in a number of different items. If you have a long-worded written piece of work containing analogies, turn it into a visual. It makes the content much more appealing and it will add a personal touch to your work. 

Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Forrest Gump told the world just how unpredictable the world is by comparing it to a box of unknown tasty treats. 

See if you can figure out an analogy for your graphic and how it could enlighten your audience.

13. T-Chart

Our 13th example is simple. A T-chart. Use these when comparing two things, likely with their pros and cons. 

While I’ve discussed finding similarities in plenty of our examples thus far, a T-Chart is meant for finding differences. An example of one would look like this. Heading at the top, line down the middle, pros and cons on each side. 

If you’re proposing a new idea to your boss, this could be an excellent route to take to help them visualize your thinking.

14. Timeline Chart

If you’re piecing together historical events, use a timeline graphic organizer. This is similar to a sequence of events chain but this contains certain dates and times while the events chain is timeless. 

Start with a horizontal line from left to right and mark each historical happening in order. Space it out accordingly and add shapes and notes to help a viewer along. This is one of the best visualization tools for understanding the history of a subject, like the ride sharing giant Uber.

15. Storyboard

And lastly, our final graphic organizer is the storyboard. These are most often used in film and video production to portray what individual scenes might look like. But you also might see them in schools when teachers are teaching their students sequencing in novels. 

Creative writing is the most common stage for storyboards as they allow for our thoughts to be displayed on paper. 

And if you’ve imagined a project or an event going a certain way, try using a storyboard, as it could be the best way to communicate your ideas. 

Okay, that’s it! 15 up, 15 down. It’s now time for me to get off of your screens and for you to get to work. 

Nearly all of the examples that we’ve covered today are available on Visme’s website right now. If you stopped mid-video and you thought that an idea could work for your topic, head to Visme right away to get started. 

Just don’t forget to come back and to subscribe to our channel. We’re always creating content to ensure your design questions and your concerns are being answered. 

Thank you so much for watching. I wish you all luck as you visualize your next great idea. For now, I’m Mike Ploger with Visme, helping you Make Information Beautiful.