Dr Russell Bestley

Profile image of Reader in Graphic Design

Reader in Graphic Design

London College of Communication


Dr Russell Bestley is Reader in Graphic Design at the London College of Communication. His areas of specialist interest include graphic design research methods, popular culture, alternative music scenes and subcultures, English cultural identity, comedy and humour.

Dr Bestley has co-authored a number of publications, including Action Time Vision: Punk & Post Punk 7” Record Sleeves (Unit Editions 2016), Visual Research (AVA Academia 2004, 2011, Bloomsbury 2015, with co-editions published in Germany 2006, Korea 2007, France 2013, Italy 2013 and Brazil 2013), Up Against the Wall (RotoVision 2002, Spanish edition 2003) and Experimental Layout (RotoVision 2001, Spanish edition 2002). He has contributed articles to journals including Punk & Post Punk, Cadernos de Arte e Antropologia (South America), The National Grid (New Zealand) and Design 360° (China), and acted as design consultant for the Design Museum, Channel Four television and Radio France. He has also written for a range of graphic design and music publications, including Eye, Zed, Emigré, Street Sounds, Vive Le Rock and the Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Modern World. His book The Art of Punk, was published by Omnibus Press (UK), Voyageur (North America), Hannibal Verlag Gmbh (Germany) and Hugo et Compagnie (France) in 2012. 

Research interests

Graphic design research methods, popular culture, alternative music scenes and subcultures, English cultural identity, comedy and humour.

Research statement

Dr Bestley’s PhD thesis, Hitsville UK: Punk Rock and Graphic Design in the Faraway Towns, 1976-84 (UAL 2008) led to several publications, a website, and a range of post-doctoral research including exhibitions on punk and punk graphic design in London, Southampton, Blackpool, Leeds, Oxford, Birmingham and Northampton.

He has also designed books, posters, pamphlets, programmes and other material for the Punk Scholars Network, Active Distribution, Viral Age Records and other DIY and independent labels, publishers and producers. Dr Bestley is Lead Editor for the academic journal Punk & Post Punk, published by Intellect Ltd, and a key member of the international Punk Scholars Network. In 2013 he established the Graphic Subcultures Research Hub at the London College of Communication.


Current students and thesis titles

Wong Kwok Kei (Sandra) Cultural Translation: An Analysis of Chinese Tropes in Emerging Luxury Chinese Lifestyle-Fashion Brands

Tzortzis RallisGraphic Design for Dissent: The Anti-austerity Movements and the Graphic Languages that Emerged as a Response to the Global Financial Crisis During the Early Parts of the 21st Century.

Rebecca Binns, Vaucher’s Autonomy: Notions of Freedom in Divergent States of Production.

Christopher May, Brand Design Style Guidelines: Their Communication to and Implementation by Designer and Non-designer Users.

Gill BrownAn Analysis of the Visual Languages, Tropes and Conventions of Scientific Graphic Design.

Completed students and thesis titles

Ana Raposo, 30 Years of Agitprop: The Representation of ‘Extreme’ Politics in Punk and Post-Punk Music Graphics in the United Kingdom from 1978 to 2008.

Selected research outputs