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Dr Russ Bestley

Reader in Graphic Design & Subcultures
London College of Communication
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Researcher Research
Russell  Bestley


Dr Russ Bestley is Reader in Graphic Design & Subcultures 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.

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 North Shields.

He has also designed books, posters, pamphlets, programmes and other material for the Punk Scholars Network, Active Distribution, PM Press, Itchy Monkey Press, Viral Age Records and other DIY and independent labels, publishers and producers. Dr Bestley is editor for the journal Punk & Post-Punk 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.

Research Outputs

Art/Design item



Book Section


Current research students

  • Caroline Angel, Revering the Crone: Ageing & Identity in Gothic Subculture (Lead supervisor)
  • Jessie Bond, Conflict, Photojournalism and the Photobook (Joint supervisor)
  • Jessie Bond, Conflict, Photojournalism and the Photobook: Designing a space to better communicate the realities of war (Joint supervisor)
  • Tim Gibney, Smiley’s People – ageing, legacy and meaning in Britain’s acid house subculture (Joint supervisor)
  • Christopher James May, Brand Design Style Guidelines: Their Communication to and Implementation by Designer and Non-designer Users. (Lead supervisor)
  • Danah Nassief, An Investigation into Dissent and Design Activism in the MENA from World War I to the Arab Spring (Lead supervisor)

Past research students

  • Rebecca Binns, There is no Authority but Yourself: Political Autonomy, Collective Art Practice, Crass and Anarcho-Punk Visual Conventions in the work of Gee Vaucher (Lead supervisor)
  • Gillian Brown, Visual Elements and Visual Paradigms: an investigation into scientific conceptual figures (Lead supervisor)
  • Wong Sandra Kwok Kei, Cultural Translation: An Analysis of Chinese Tropes in Emerging Luxury Chinese Lifestyle-Fashion Brands (Joint supervisor)
  • Artur Matamoro Vidal, After Silence: Improvised Music, Listening and Environmental Sound (Lead supervisor)
  • 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. (Joint supervisor)