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Case StudyApr 01, 2024

Chargefield wins at SXSW Film & TV Festival for 7 Beats Per Minute poster design

Written by John Godfrey RGD, Chargefield

By John Godfrey RGD, Creative Director, Chargefield 


In the documentary 7 Beats Per Minute, freediving champion Jessea Lu recollects her near-death experience while attempting a world-record revisiting the site, facing past traumas and struggling back to life. Chargefield was commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada to design a poster highlighting the film's focus on the human condition, while also differentiating itself from other popular diving films.


Research revealed that there are a lot of diving movie posters that feature a human figure in a sea of blue. It makes sense; below the sea is a vast void and the tiny human helps accentuate that and elevates the drama. I designed various concepts which explored ways to differentiate the poster visually by implementing different design motifs or unusual colours.

Working with a still that emerged as an early favourite of Jessea in the fetal position underwater, there were many iterations in colour and graphic devices that attempted to communicate the human element. I quickly learned that a simple colour change could skew the perceived genre to horror or sci—fi fairly quickly!


Using a combination of blues with isolated warm tones allowed me to further accentuate the fetal position with a womb-like circle that doubles as a sun, while also communicating the emphasis on the human element. This, in turn, helped differentiate the poster from other films in the genre, as well as arranging the film's calligraphic title in a unique placement around Jessea's central figure.

The poster accompanied the film's world premiere at the 2024 SXSW Film & TV Festival, where posters from all 41 film & TV selections were entered for an award. I'm proud to say, we won the jury award for the poster design!

From the jury: "The poster’s design effortlessly captivated us, skillfully balancing mysterious calmness with unconventional composition choices. From the strategic use of empty spaces to the non-traditional placement of the title and billing block, every decision contributed to an aesthetically pleasing and thought-provoking visual narrative."

John Godfrey RGD


Hamilton-based, Clio Award-winning visual artist, creative director, and graphic designer.


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