Partnering with State Street, we built a visualization depicting the scale, growth, and complexity of 200 years of finance. We combed through a database of 40,000 financial indicators and built prototypes to dig into selected data. Of the many possible stories to tell, we focused on four facets of growth: data, connectivity, complexity, and scope.


The visualization reveals the exponential growth of shares listed in the stock market since the 1980s. A second panel uses S&P closing prices to depict the connected nature of industries in relation to wars and recessions. In a third view, we see how the growing complexity of industries reflects societal changes, such as the decrease of steel and rise of biotechnology in the U.S. Finally, users can explore a map of global trade and see the increasing prominence of emerging markets.

The result is an installation created in just four weeks that allows users to immerse themselves in the intricacies of global finance.


Founded in 2010 by Ben Fry, Fathom Information Design works with clients to understand complex data through interactive tools and software for mobile devices, the web, and large format installations. Out of its studio in Boston, Fathom partners with Fortune 500s and non-profit organizations across sectors, including health care, education, financial services, media, technology, and consumer products.

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