Recreating Trajan's Column

When you work in journalism, it goes without saying that you’ll have certain projects that stick with you long after their completion. Sometimes they linger in memory because they’re truly heartbreaking (like the illegal wildlife trade) or unbelievable (like the US daily intake of added sugars). But others, like the recent project I worked on recreating Trajan’s Column, remain fixed in your mind due to the sheer force of will it took to create them.

Over the course of two years, I worked with Fernando Baptista, Daniela Santamarina, and a team of incredible individuals at National Geographic (see full credits below) to research, develop, and refine the graphics for a feature story in the April 2015 issue of the magazine: “Trajan’s Amazing Column.” The end result was a 5 page double-sided gatefold (image below), an interactive digital model of the column, and two videos – one explaining how the column may have been built, and another providing a behind the scenes look at how the first video’s stop-motion animation was produced

A big thank you to all who worked on the project, but especially to Dr. Jon Coulston and Dr. Lynne Lancaster, without whom such a feat wouldn’t have been possible.


Graphics: Fernando G. Baptista, Daniela Santamarina, and Emily M. Eng, NGM Staff. Samantha Welker; José Miguel Mayo Hernández, Angelica Quintero; Research: Amanda Hobbs. Text: Jeremy Berlin, NGM Staff. Photos: Kenneth Garrett. Design and development: Kevin DiCesare, Joel Fiser, and Jaime Hritsik, NGM Staff. Producer: Amy Bucci, NGM Staff. Sources: Jon Coulston, University of St. Andrews, Scotland; Lynne Lancaster, Ohio University; National History Museum of Romania (plaster cast).

Stop-motion Animated Video: Hans Weise, Fernando G. Baptista, Emily Eng, Megan Roosevelt, Jessica Wang, Daniela Santamarina, Kenneth Garrett, Amanda Hobbs, Lynne Lancaster.

Behind the Scenes Video: David Ehrenberg