Design Firm Gets Real With Orange Is the New Black’s Great Opening Credits

Bypassing the show's cast entirely

Dozens of women are featured in the captivating, Regina Spektor-driven opening credits for Netflix's Orange Is the New Black—but none of them are in the show itself. As Fast Company's Co.Design blog reports, showrunner Jenji Kohan wanted the title sequence to suggest that the show—about women incarcerated in a minimum security prison—would tell many stories, not just that of the main character, Piper. So, Venice, Calif., design company Thomas Cobb Group settled on a solution—it photographed real women who had been in prison in close-ups that would shield their identities while also feeling immediate and intimate.

Michael Trim photographed nine women in New York, while Thomas Cobb photographed 52 women in Los Angeles. TCG executive producer Gary Bryman explains: "Thomas directed each woman to visualize in their mind three emotive thoughts: Think of a peaceful place, think of a person who makes you laugh, and think of something that you want to forget. He apologized ahead of time for the last question but found it was incredibly effective in evoking a wide range of unfortunate memories. … Thomas found this really interesting sweet spot of cropped compositions that would not necessarily reveal who the person was, but at the same time provide a portal into their soul through their eyes."

Piper Kerman, who wrote the memoir on which the show is based, is the blue-eyed woman who blinks at the 1:02 mark. Check out the rest of the story at Co.Design.