MGI Urban World

Big data made beautifully simple

We turned a spreadsheet of more than 100,000 data points into an intuitive interface that maps the economic power of cities throughout time and into the future.

the challenge

Make complex data easily accessible

MGI spent over five years researching the GDP, population and household income of more than 2,600 cities worldwide. Our challenge was to visualise the scale and nature of their findings and make it easy and engaging for people to navigate, on both tablet and mobile.

Collaborating closely with the MGI team, we kicked off the design process by defining the features and mapping out the user flows. Creating a wireframe prototype helped us test the user experience, from the top level spinning globe down to searching, comparing and favouriting cities.

look and feel

Inspired by NASA night lights maps

From the wireframes we developed a visual language of dark blue tones and clusters of light, taking inspiration from NASA night photography in all its awesomeness. The data is presented in a bright colour palette to contrast with the dark blue styling.

Imagine the earth as a plate balancing on a stick, and see the economic centre of gravity change over time.

See the world's GDP change from 1CE to 2025.

Technical development

Behind-the-scenes cleverness

Built for iOS and Android, the app has a hidden feature that allows MGI to upload additional data sets for the businesses and organisations they work with. We created a password-protected area where their data can be analysed together with the in-app data, enabling them to quickly spot investment opportunities in emerging markets. (The best parties always go down backstage.)

app store review ★★★★★

“Brilliant! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Data rich, and excellent presentation technology!”


app store review ★★★★★

“Superb! We professors in political economy are always looking for global macroeconomic data, in historical perspective and in a comparative manner. Many thanks for this great device of important data.”

Paulo Roberto de Almeida, professor and diplomat

The Lovie Awards

Education & Reference, Peoples’ Choice | Gold

Education & Reference (Tablet) | Silver

Information is Beautiful Awards

Corporate | Winner


  • UX & UI Design
  • Prototyping
  • Visual design
  • iOS and Android development
  • Ongoing support

Sennep Team

  • Stuart Jackson | Product owner
  • Matt Rice | Creative director
  • Gra Monteleone | UI & UX designer
  • Christoph Lorenzi | Technical director
  • Alistair Mills | App developer