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Hello friends. Our guest today is Australia, a representative of the jezweb studio . The novel will tell you how and why a designer uses an association map. I give him the floor ...

Good design is a good idea in an attractive shape. In some works of designers form suffers, in some - the idea, and in some - both. This is often due to the substitution of computer-generated effects for the actual web design, and the inability to come up with a quality idea.

At one time, the notorious Paul Rand wrote: "A lot of computer users come to one intelligent designer." Let's forget for a while that we know how to work in Photoshop and Illustrator, and get busy thinking, so as not to disappoint the legend of graphic design.

The thought process is an essential tool for a graphic web design. The amount of quality ideas that a designer is able to generate is directly proportional to the amount of information acquired during his life. This is logical - before you take something out of your head, you first need to put something there. Suppose we put. And now we need to organize our flow of fantasy in order to get a cool result. The association map will help us with this.

The purpose of mapping associations is to transform words into images. From the first day of our studio foundation, we do not start sketching a logo without first drawing up a Mind Map. I am sure that many experienced web design actively use this technique, or have read about it in specialized literature. We will try to outline the advantages of developing an association map, tell you how we supplemented this method for ourselves, and show how it works by our own example.

Process of creation

On a blank sheet of paper, we write the name of the company or the keywords from which we are going to build on in the development process. In our example, this is the name for the new game portal "Play Hard". After that, we start to pick up associations and write them around our name. So far, only nouns (this is our addition to the method).

We write everything that we associate with the name and with every single word. It is convenient to do this in a circle. Since with each new circle the associations become more and more distant (for example, "signal" and "3D"), it is necessary to write down the most obvious and direct ones in the first circle.

Further, the obvious associations branch out into more complex ones. Graphics branch into 3D and pixels, the game - to the computer, joystick and excitement, the thought process - to the brain, strategy, logic, etc.

When we run out of nouns, we start using adjectives to describe the associations we have arrived at. It is better to indicate adjectives in a different color.

Roughly speaking, we ask ourselves the question - "What is it, Play Hard?", Based on the existing associations. Play hard - hands - movement, which means - fast, active, dexterous. Play hard - brain - strategy - logic, which means - smart, advanced. So, in the process of brainstorming, we wrote down everything that we associate with the name. Now it is important to understand what associations the future sign should cause among the target audience. After that, we will highlight the semantic chains, along which we will draw the logo sketches. It is most convenient to start your search with adjectives that are highlighted in color, without being tied to the middle layer, in order to understand if we are on the right track.

Again we ask ourselves the question - "What is it, Play Hard?" Active, agile, fast? Maybe. Advanced, smart, gambling? Probably yes. Tough, cocky, heavy? Yes, exactly like that. We look at what nouns these associations are associated with - these are hands, gestures and the "goat" gesture. This gesture fully corresponds to the second part of the name of the new portal (Hard). But what about games?

We return to the name, which is written in the center, and move in the direction of the games. Games - computer - mouse - joystick - tetris. Joystick? Bingo! An inverted joystick is very similar to a rocker gesture.

The rest of the semantic chains were many times web design weaker than our main find. And, in order not to confuse the customer and ourselves, we begin to work out only one option, which at that time became the only correct solution. As it turned out, we made the right decision.

As a result, we abandoned direct associations with the "rocker gesture", since the "horns" are much more expressive in the inverted joystick, which also correspond to the rigid character of the name. The sign has excellent mnemonic properties and fully reflects the name.

In this case, we missed the stage of sketching for each associative chain, since we were completely confident in this idea. But, as practice shows, the longer you work with the association map, the higher the probability of creating something qualitative and new. Therefore, we recommend that you draw sketches for each semantic chain at least on a piece of paper.


The main purpose of creating an association map is to determine the direction of web design thought. If you managed to draw up a competent and informative map of associations, a good result will not be long in coming. Drawing and stylizing an idea is already a matter of technique for every designer.

There are many programs for creating a map, such as Xmind and Freemind. But you can use a regular sheet of paper or any graphic editor. The main thing is to understand the principles of working with the map.

An association map helps you collect your thoughts and helps you generate ideas. But it's important to remember that this method is not always effective for logo web design. For some projects, the embodiment of specific images in the sign is impractical. In this case, it is better to work on typography or design a sign without specifics, and in this the association map will not help much.

On our own behalf, we added a little and, in our opinion, improved the process of creating an association map. In order to get an idea of ​​the classic method, we recommend that you study other sources, for example, the book by David Airy "Logo and Corporate Identity". You can see our other works created using the same technique in our portfolio .


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