GUIDE – Composing a Blog Header for the Rhetoric of Gender & Sexuality

NOTE TO WRTG 3020 STUDENTS: Follow the steps below first, to learn about appropriate content for your header. Then follow the instructions on: HOW TO – Create a Header Image for a Blog or Web Site


Most of the header images on the WRTG 3020 class blog were created by students from previous semesters. As you’ve noticed, each time you load a new page, you see a new header image, and you can view all of the headers on the Header Images page.

I’d like to encourage you to consider making a header image for your class blog, both as a way to earn some extra credit towards your Class Engagement grade and as a way to further develop your “visual literacy” skills (i.e., your ability to communicate with images). Making a header image is very easy to do and does not require any special graphic design skills or access to fancy photo editing apps (although if you have either, please feel free to use them!) You can find everything you need to make a header image on your own computer and/or on the web. Depending on your skill level, it will probably take you between 10 and 30 minutes to make a header image.


Consider the rhetorical purpose of the header image. It’s often the first thing viewers see when they visit the class blog, which helps to establish a tone or mood for the blog. The header also has a communicative function, in that it alerts new viewers and reminds returning viewers about the nature of the course theme.

If you decide to make a header image, it should relate to the course theme in some way, meaning that it should convey something about the kinds of “conversations” we have about gender identity, gender norms, sexual orientation, and so on. The header might remind us of common social norms or it might inspire us to question those norms.

Given that the header is publicly visible and is associated with a university level class, don’t use any content that would receive an “R” rating!


The most common (and easiest) layout for a header image is a series of related images presented in row, with each image in its own box. That’s so straightforward that it hardly counts as a “collage.”

A “collage” would require that you do more to blend the images than simply present them in a row of boxes. You could make a collage by mixing up shapes and sizes of images as well as their placement. Or you could blend a variety of photos together if you’re familiar with image editing tools.


You are certainly welcome to use images you’ve created, including photos you’ve taken, drawings you made, or your own graphic designs. Just keep in mind that if you use a photo that has someone else’s face in it, you need to ask that person for permission to use the photo on a public web site. Your friends may not mind you taking photos of them on a Friday night’s evening out, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily want to end up on the class blog!

You may also search online for images to use, but do your best to find images that you have permission to use on a public web site. That means two things:

(1) If you use photos that contain people’s faces (other than famous people), you should have permission to use the photos from the people whose faces are featured.

(2) The photos should not be subject to copyright protection.

Given that you’ll be using the image in an educational context, you have a bit more flexibility than you would if you planned to use the image for a commercial site. But it’s nevertheless a good idea to pay attention to the principles of Fair Use, so that you learn to protect yourself from accusations of plagiarism or copyright violation in the future. If an image (or the web site it appears on) states anywhere that it may not be re-used for any reason, don’t use it!

Here are a few ways to search for acceptable images:


When you find an image you might like to use, download a copy to your hard drive (or record the URL so that you can download a copy of it later). Do NOT copy and paste the images into a text editor or word processing program like Word as that will alter the format of the file. It also makes it very difficult to get the image back out of the text document so that you can use it in your header. (Use Word for processing words, not images!!)

Here’s how to download an image:

(1) If you use Windows or if you use a Mac with a two-button mouse: right-click on the image. If you use a Mac with a one-button mouse: ctrl-click on the image. (ctrl-click means: hold down the Control button while you click once on the image with your mouse.)

(2) You’ll see a dropdown menu appear with an option like “Save image as.” Select that option.

(3) You’ll have the option to designate which folder on your computer to download the file to. You’ll probably find it helpful to save all the images you find in a folder titled something like: WRTG 3020 Images.

(4) You’ll also have the option to rename the file. If the file name conveys no info about the image contents, change the name to something more helpful, like: rambo-stallion-sketch.jpg or botticelli-birth-venus.png


Create a simple text document to act as a “source sheet” you can use to keep track of the source for each image you download, and save the document in the same folder where you put the images, so you can easily find it.

On this sheet, type each image’s file name on a separate line and paste the URL of the web site you found the image on a line below the file name. Keep in mind that while you might find an image through Google Images, the image itself resides on a specific web site, not on Google. So record the URL of that web site (not of the Google search results page).

You’ll need to submit your sources along with the header before I’ll put the header on the blog.

Here’s an example of how to record source info: If you visit the Fine Dykes page on the Sappho web site, you’ll come across this image:

Vintage crossdressing women

If I wanted to use that image, I would download it, change the file name to something helpful, and record this info in my source sheet:

Image: vintage-crossdressing-women.jpg


The finished header should be in png or jpg format and should be this EXACT size: 990 pixels wide and 180 pixels tall.

Save the header with this file name format: lastname-topic-header For example: goodloe-disneyprincess-header.jpg or goodloe-buffy-header.png (Note: whether the file ends in .png or .jpg will depend on what format you save it in or export it in within your image editing app.)


When you’re ready to submit your header, send it to me by email attachment. In the body of your email (or in an attached text document) include the sources for each component of your header. Give a title (and brief description, if needed) for each image as well as the URL for the web page you found the image on.

Also include a brief description of the tools you used to compose the header image (i.e., the image editing app you used — specify Mac, Windows, or web) as well as any special photo editing techniques you applied.