Creating Blends in Illustrator

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Illustrator has a powerful tool that can change one thing into another: The Blend tool. It works on shapes, colors, and open paths. Illustrator automatically renders all the intermediate steps of a blend for you, so you can produce smooth results. Let’s learn all about the Blend tool.

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Ari M. Weinstein is a brand development coach who uses Adobe Illustrator extensively for client work including infographics, logos and merchandise artwork. Ari has been using Illustrator for over 30 years since it was “Illustrator 88” (version 1.5) and is a contributor to the Illustrator Wow! Book series. Learn more about Ari on his website at
  • Dov Isaacs says:

    Excellent article / tutorial. However, you may wish to expand this article to contrast the use of “gradients” versus “blends” – there is a tremendous difference is what you can do with one versus the other.

    One of the big problems with blends is that they are implemented via discreet steps of differing colors as opposed to use of smooth-shaded filled polygons. Depending on what is rendering an Illustrator blend, you may experience lower quality output due to staircasing due to those discreet steps. By definition, the renderer of smooth shading optimizes to eliminate such artifacts as much as possible per the capabilities of the specific device.

    – Dov

    • Good point about using gradients for color transitions, and that they are not to be confused with blends. I mentioned gradients in the last paragraph, as the Blend tool can mix two or more gradient-filled objects. Using gradients is a great way to start coloring, and blends can take the artwork a step (or several) further.

  • Bret Perry says:

    Jeepers, I am logged in and I can comment, but I still can’t read/see the article. (Says to log in to see it.) Wasup?

  • Steve Davis says:

    All good blends/gradients meet banding!
    Maybe a word about that too?!

    • Mike Rankin Mike Rankin says:

      Thanks for the comment, Steve. I think we should do a standalone article on banding. We could address both blends and gradients so people know when to worry and when not to.

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