Sally Doust worked as an illustrator before moving into editorial and magazine development, most famously creating the publication Spare Rib.

Spare Rib had a unique style and instantly recognisable format thanks to some dedicated and highly creative designers. Without computers and the design packages that modern production teams take for granted nowadays, the design process was always hands-on with paper, scissors, glue and all manner of bits and pieces. The Spare Rib logo originated out of torn and twisted pieces of tissue paper put together by Kate Hepburn and Sally Doust.” British Library, Spare Rib collection.

Stylised ink drawing of Palace Pier, Brighton, with minarettes and a Union Jack visible on the seafront beyond.

Sally Doust, Palace Pier

On the occasion of the College of Art’s 150th anniversary in 2009, Sally Doust wrote:

“In the summer of 2008 I co-curated an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts entitled The young lion: early drawings by John Frederick Lewis RA (1804 – 1847). I am currently researching the work of his father, the engraver Frederick Christian Lewis, and work as a freelance graphic designer for the Advisory Centre for Education

“I left school at sixteen in 1960 and went straight into the Foundation Course at Brighton College of Art. I remember having to read the whole of Banister Fletcher’s History of Architecture and being closely questioned on it. We also studied life drawing, painting, and calligraphy.

“I then opted for the NDD in Illustration; a small group, mostly girls, taught by John Lord and Raymond Briggs, with John Laurence teaching wood engraving. It instilled in me a passion for drawing that has come to fruition in the research work I am doing now. I was fortunate that the college had its own print school. The illustrators would work alongside a compositor, setting type, learning about quads and thins and the language of letterpress typesetting.

“Coffee breaks were spent in the smoky Glenside basement café, where we were heavily scrutinized by the lads known as ‘the Commercials’.  I married one of them, Richard Doust, who now teaches at the RCA.

“Newly married, we had the opportunity to visit Australia in 1965, where I answered an advertisement for Deputy Art Editor for Vogue Australia. Six months later I was Art Editor, and stayed for five years.

“Back in England, I became part of the original team that launched the alternative woman’s magazine Spare Rib. Kate Hepburn and I were the designers, and the co- editors were Rosie Boycott and Marsha Rowe (who I had worked with on Vogue Australia). Spare Rib was launched in June 1971 as the daughter of the underground press. The aim was not to discuss the dialectic of liberation but to help all women find their own identity. By then I had a small baby and was very aware of how much women had to juggle their lives. With the advent of offset litho, production was relatively cheap. The magazine was pasted up and printed in eight page sections allowing us to use different spot colours, as four colour printing was too expensive. It allowed us to experiment with the layout and many illustrators, excited by the content of the magazine, would work for us for free.”

Sally Doust, 2009

Visit the British Library collection of Spare Rib items.