enter image description here

Here's what I did.

  1. Draw several circles with gradients.
  2. Use blend tool and click each circle in place.
  3. Replace spine.

I've tried several times but failed to achieve the dynamic colors. Also, how do I replace spine to fit to the path?

  • 1
    Hi Ricky Han, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Cai
    May 4, 2016 at 16:58
  • 1
    Could you possibly add some screenshots showing your attempts? I just created this with gradient filled circles and the blend tool, so I'm not sure what you're getting stuck on. Also I'm not sure what you mean by your last sentence "replace the spine to fit to the path"?
    – Cai
    May 4, 2016 at 17:03
  • 1
    @Cai How do I draw multiple circles and color them with different gradients so it will be multicolor as in the picture? Also how do I apply the "Replace Spine" for several continuous circles? Basically 2 circles is possible but multiple circles?
    – Ricky Han
    May 4, 2016 at 18:31
  • Ah ok, I see your problem! You definitely won't be able to do the whole thing in one continuous blend, the blend tool doesn't work well over complex paths. I would do it in sections, not sure about the overlaps on the corners though. It may be a case of patching the sections manually.
    – Cai
    May 4, 2016 at 18:59
  • 1
    I know that you are asking about techniques to do this in Illustrator. However, I found it amusing to try and replicate your target illustration in Blender 3D, just in case you're interested in seeing what it would look like! (took me approx. 15 minutes). Looking forward to see if you get an answer for this somewhat complex result you're trying to achieve in Illustrator. Good luck! May 9, 2016 at 0:57

1 Answer 1


I find it is helpful to blend the palette you want arbitrarily first until you are happy with the colour transitions. You can then apply this palette blend to your desired path. The blend tool will generate a dynamic colour range between each blended colour/gradient.

Step One: Create circle shapes for blending, and choose a gradient palette for each one. Note that colours that are adjacent to each other on the colour wheel blend rather well.

Step Two: Blend the first two circles with the blend tool. Don't worry if your colour transitions look warped, this is fixed later.

The order you blend the shapes is very important, as this will decide the apparent z-order of the colours to be blended together

enter image description here

Step Three: Selecting the resulting blend group and the subsequent gradient circle, use the blend tool again. Repeat this until you have created your blended palette for your design.

Step Four: With the pen tool, draw the path to which you want to apply your blended colours.

enter image description here

Step Five: With this path selected and the blend object, go to Object>Blend>Replace Spine


You can improve the way in which the colours transition by selecting the circles along the blend with the direct selection tool, then rotating each one to improve the direction of the colour transitions.

Using the Direct Selection Tool and various path editing tools, you can continue to edit the path to which you applied your blend group.

enter image description here

If you want to reverse the order in which blended colours appear on top of one another, go to Object>Blend>Reverse Front to Back

  • Great! One more question: How do you move the cross bar of e to the back?
    – Ricky Han
    May 18, 2016 at 22:24
  • You could try duplicating the blend group, Object>Blend>Reverse front to back. The duplicated letters should occupy the same space as the original, only reversed z order. Then you could mask out the y and h from my example. Hope that helps! I can't test that right now! Let me now how you get on! It was a nice question btw, I had fun experimenting with it :)
    – johnp
    May 19, 2016 at 0:39

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