Making Blends in Illustrator

Blending paths together is an essential skill in Illustrator. I see so many backgrounds of fills that utilise this on Packaging Designs, Book Covers and Printed Textiles to name just a few. Here is a little step by step guide to how to utilise the tool for your own work if you haven’t tried it before.

 

1. Draw 2 paths.

2 squares

Here I have drawn 2 squares, one coloured with a Red Stroke and one with a Blue. Neither has any Fill Colour (this is optional but makes for a nice effect and both are adjusted to sit at different angles.

 

2. Choose a Blend Option

 

smooth colour

Go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and choose Smooth Colour from the drop down menu.

 

3. Create a Blend

 

Result

Select both squares and then choose Object > Blend > Make. An interesting block shape is created.

 

Lets try something else? Undo that last step (3).

 

4. Change the Blend Options

 

Specified Steps

This time go to Object > Blend > Blend Options and choose Specified Steps. Set the number of steps to 15

 

5. Create a Different Blend

Specified Steps completed

 

Select both squares and then choose Object > Blend > Make. This time a more Geometric form is created. Nice eh?

 

Lets step up a gear and try something else? Undo that last step (5).

 

6. Add some direction

 

add a 3rd Path

Add a 3rd Path, just a curved or spiralled line that creates a meandering path between the 2 Squares. Set both the Fill and Stroke colours to “None” for this line.

 

7. Create a Blend along a Path

 

3 Path Blend completed

Using whichever option you prefer (Specified Steps or Specified Steps), this time select all 3 Paths, the Squares and the Line and then choose Object > Blend > Make. The Blend will flow along the path creating a flowing shape. TIP: You may find increasing the number of Steps makes a better job of it.

 

8. Creating Yet More Complex patterns

 

Create Complex Forms with ease

This time draw 2 lines. One at approximately 50 degrees and another at approximately 345 degrees. Select them both and create a Specified Steps blend with 25 steps. Like the image below, once you start to experiment with the Blend options you can generate all sorts of complex patterns and shapes with minimal effort. Next time you look at a Sanpellegrino drinks can design think ablaut how it might have been done.