In a vector editor like Illustrator, blend modes do not work in CMYK mode; blend modes only work in RGB mode. My logical conclusion is that you should never use blend modes on a logo design, because you always need a printable version of the logo, and simply copying the logo with blend modes on from an RGB document to CMYK document will mess it up big time; so when you want to "blend" elements, opt for opacity settings instead. And yet a lot of tutorial videos, on YouTube for example, use the blend mode Screen for effects like "glossy buttons" (for example, this one).

I think it's fine to use blend modes on photographs or paintings, because there are too many colors to worry about so you would just want to directly print an RGB document anyway. Logos and identity systems, on the other hand, use very few colors, and the accuracy of printed colors is much more of a concern so you may want to check if your logo looks good in CMYK mode, where blend modes don't work.

So should blend modes ever be used for logo designs?

Never mind. There's nothing wrong with Blend Modes and CMYK Mode. It's just my stupid AMD graphics card failing all this time and I never knew it.

  • Some blending modes do not work with CMYK, especially in Illustrator/Indesign. Photoshop "fakes" it for CMYK. – Scott Mar 9 '19 at 21:08
  • I know, CMYK is meant for printing and ink works differently than light and all. It's just that none worked for me at all, and it was because some sort of bugs with the AMD driver, and I've only ever learned Illustrator on my computer so I never knew it. CPU Previews look completely fine it turned out, so I've disabled GPU Preview for good. – Vun-Hugh Vaw Mar 10 '19 at 4:41

You can use whatever you want for a logo, even a photo or a collage made with rice grains, creativity has no limits, much less if they are self-imposed.


In the 90s the expansion of digital printing brought the end of the offset printing limits. There was a boom of photographic logos, where the only rule for the construction of the logo was: use this picture.

From that time there was a reaction to this kind of designs with flat logos and no effects applied. Until today.

The question about what can be used in a logo design is a bit absurd, the answer is yes to everything. If not, we should question the use of gradients, shadows, blurred highlights, etc.

Different is if we talk about its functionality regarding future uses. In this case the question would be how to reproduce the blend effects for a printed logo?

The blend effects are just new colors obtained from the fusion of others. If we separate each shape, it can be filled with corresponding CMYK color of that mix.

Here a normal blend logo changed to Multiply in a CMYK file using CMYK inks:

enter image description here

There is no any problem in using blend modes in logo design, but if you need to separate each resulting color, use separate shapes and apply the cmyk color.

Here the same logo reproduced with CMYK inks avoiding the use of blend modes:

enter image description here

Add after the comments:

If the blend modes doesn't work properly try restart Illustrator restoring preferences. Press and hold Ctrl + Alt + Shift Win or Cmnd + Alt + Shift Mac as you start Illustrator.

enter image description here

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  • Okay, there are problems with my AMD graphics cards that I was never aware of. Blend Modes work fine with CPU Preview. If only I could delete this stupid question. – Vun-Hugh Vaw Mar 9 '19 at 14:48

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