How to Change Blending Mode in Adobe Illustrator

Blending modes are helpful for modifying the color of a selected item by adding blending effects and colors to them. Object placement on the layer or group affects how blend modes function.

The six blending modes in Illustrator are Normal, Darken, Lighten, Contrast, Inversion, and Component. Knowing which mode to utilize for whatever effect is crucial because each of these modes operates somewhat differently.

Hi there! My name is Aly, I am a graphic designer with a certification in Adobe Illustrator and have been using the program for over five years now. In this article, I will be explaining how to change the blending mode in Illustrator. 

Key Takeaways

  • Adobe Illustrator has a wide variety of blending modes, so it is important to understand how each one operates. 
  • Knowing how to get to the transparency panel will be an important step in using the blending modes. 

Understanding the Blending Modes in Adobe Illustrator 

Below is a guide before we get started to help you to understand what each blending mode is used for. 


Colors are opaque and no mixing is done (unless you’ve changed the objects in other ways).


The Darken mode maintains the darker hues by comparing the blending layer with the foundation layers.


The base layers and blending layer colors are multiplied by the Multiply mode to produce a deeper tint. It’s helpful to color shadows in this mode.

Color Burn

The Color Burn option takes its name from the overexposing or “burning” of prints used in photographic film development to make the colors darker. This blending mode darkens and intensifies the base colors’ contrast before merging the blending layer colors.


The lighter hue is retained when using the Lighten mode to compare the base and blending layer colors.


The base colors are multiplied by the colors of the blending layer while in the Screen mode. In contrast to multiply mode, has the opposite effect. The colors that appear will be more vivid than the original hues.

Color Dodge

The base layer colors are made lighter and the contrast is decreased in the Color Dodge mode. Midtones are saturated as a result.


In locations with high light, the Overlay mode acts like Screen mode; in regions with dark light, it acts like Multiply mode. The bright regions will appear brighter and the dark areas will appear darker in this setting.

Soft Light

The density of the overlay color affects the Soft light mode’s outcome. Bright colors on the blending layer produce a brighter effect similar to the dodge modes, while dark colors produce a darker effect similar to the burn modes. White regions will appear white if any color is applied above them.

Hard Light

The density of the color that is superimposed determines how the Hard light mode behaves. Dark colors produce darker colors, similar to the Multiply mode, while bright colors produce a brighter look similar to the Screen mode.


When using the Difference mode, the base colors are subtracted from the blending layer’s colors while keeping the final value.


Exclusion produces an effect that is identical to the difference mode, but the contrast is reduced. The base color is inverted when the color white is blended. You won’t see any changes at all while merging black.

The base color’s luminance and saturation are taken into consideration when a resulting color is produced. The hue value is also taken into account for the blend color. 

In this mode, the luminance of the base color is combined with the hue, saturation, and luminance of the blend color to create the final color. This mode might be helpful for coloring artwork and working on monochrome artwork when maintaining the gray levels is necessary.

How to Change the Blending Mode in Illustrator

Follow the steps to understand how to change the blending mode on your project. 

Step 1: The first step is to create a new document. Next, we need to go up to the top of your menu and find and select  Window > Transparency.  

Step 2: A small window will pop up after selecting Transparency the majority of your blend modes will be used here. 

Step 3: As you can see in my image example, I have two different colored stars. Feel free to create any shapes you like. 

Step 4: Now that your shapes have been created, and I have explained what each mode will do, go ahead and separately apply each blend mode available in the transparency mode and see the outcomes.

Mess around with the blending modes every time you create a shape or have multiple layering objects, it will help you learn to identify how the modes work on different forms. 

Final Thoughts

The different blending modes that Illustrator offers to enhance your creations were covered in the article above. On a fundamental level, practice them, and gradually come to comprehend the advantages and disadvantages of the effects they might have on your work.

Any questions about changing the blending mode in Adobe Illustrator? Leave a comment and let me know.

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