I have been trying to create a logo design, and I've come across an issue that seems very simple but has so far been very puzzling.

Basically the logo that I am designing has intersecting squares; where every second square is 100% opaque and the rest are 65% opaque. My issue is that I want the borders of each square to intersect the square after it in such way that the intersection becomes 100% transparent.

Sorry if that sounds confusing, I couldn't find a better way to describe it. The screenshot should give a better idea of what I am trying to do.

This screenshot shows what I ultimately want to achieve, however for that screenshot I 'faked' the intersection transparency by having 2 objects for each square; 1 object with only stroke without fill and another with only the fill and no stroke.

enter image description here

That solution works if I have a pre-set background color but it would not work for a logo as it needs to have a transparent background.

This second screenshot shows what it looks like with a transparent background

enter image description here

How could I solve this?

Thanks in advance

  • guessing this is photoshop?
    – benteh
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:09
  • @mindvex this is a fairly easy thing to solve but first - do you want the left most square and third from left square to truly be transparent? If you put it on different backgrounds besides white it will look vastly different. It might be better to have it simply appear a lighter shade of blue as an illusion of transparency without actually being so.
    – Ryan
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:09
  • The answer would be relative to what adobe program you are using. Apr 4, 2014 at 14:09
  • @CtrlAltDesign This was done in Adobe Fireworks CS5.1 but I could use any program if it meant achieving my desired result (I would prefer a solution with Adobe CS if possible)
    – mindvex
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:12
  • 1
    @CtrlAltDesign Yes the hue change is what I am after; I want only the background and the intersections to be void of fill.
    – mindvex
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:21

4 Answers 4


Your best bet is to use your current work as a guide and recreate the squares using opaque colors. This will also alleviate your intersecting problem.

Create guides around your squares.

Create squares using the selector or shape tool (vector might give you longer mileage)

  • 1
    I second the suggestion of using vector for this.
    – benteh
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:25
  • Yes this was going to be my last resort; I briefly tried this and I found that I could save myself some work by intersecting the opaque squares and using the Trim Paths tool in Fireworks to do the intersections for me.
    – mindvex
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:35
  • 1
    @Ryan I disagree, magic wand would give the squares of an already bitmapped object more jankiness. Vector is the way to go. Apr 4, 2014 at 14:51
  • I disagree with both of you equally! :) I think both methods are useful and correct, depending on the context and situation, sometimes time constraints won't allow a person to redraw something, sometimes the client only can supply a raster image. I think the OP now has 3 good ways of doing it.
    – horatio
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:57

In this specific case vectorization is not just easy its brain dead easy. Just:

  1. paste image in illustrator
  2. hit the live trace
    1. adjust live trace settings to 4 colors
    2. and set path fitting to 0 px
    3. Ignore white on
  3. expand
  4. object -> path -> simplify
    1. Angle threshold to 90
    2. Straight lines.

Now there is only one kink in the darker of the two transparent areas move points to match. Done. (took longer to write instructions than to do it proper)

Now in general its fine to have a pixel only logo, but in this case its really easy to get it to vectors so there's really no reason not to do this stage. Besides now you have both a vector ans pixel version of the logo to play with.

PS: too bad you can not upload SVG on stackexchange.


Duplicate the entire group of objects.

On the duplicate set, make all the squares 100% opaque and change to color to black, leaving the white stroke. (You can simply add a blend of color overlay). Add a full-white layer below for easier alignment, then flatten all the layers of the duplicate set along with the new white layer. You should now have a black and white silhouette of the blue squares.

Group the blue layers and add a layer on the bottom that is 100% white.

Select all then copy, then deselect the black layer, then hide it.

Add a layer mask to the group folder. Switch to channels, select the layer mask channel, then paste your black layer copy into the layer mask. Invert the colors of the mask if needed.

enter image description here

  • (Not so) Obviously, delete or hide the bgcolor layer when saving out the item.
    – horatio
    Apr 4, 2014 at 14:38

If you want it just for a quick thing, you can always use double layers one for the square and one for the stroke, select the strokes and apply the "erase" blend mode, change the background to transparent and save for web, done.

Another method that might work if the squares will be only one color is to use the convert to alpha live effect, I use this pretty much a lot when creating icons and graphics; what this does is something like creating a mask on the own element using black as full opaque and white as transparent, just make sure to have all fills black and leave transparency for those you need transparent, now group them all and apply "other > Convert to alpha" you'll have a clean graphic free of white and with transparencies; now you just gotta go to "Adjust color > color fill" and choose the original color you had in mind. The good thing about this method is that you can use the graphic as is in another document let's say a website design unline the other method wich just use the "erase" blend mode to show the background no matter what.

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