I am new at graphic design (obviously) and I would like to create a logo with overlapping colors to produce a desired color. In this case I would like to overlap 3 distinct colors (with I assume different opacities) to yield sapphire blue (#0F51BA). I have tried to overlap RG and B with different opacities of varying percentages* and I have gotten no success so far. So I am curious to how I would be able to derive different colors (with different opacities?) from a desired color that will overlap to produce that desired color. I added the picture below to somewhat represent what I am trying to accomplish.

*I specifically chose the percentages from what this site said http://www.color-hex.com/color/0f51ba enter image description here

  • Can I ask why in RGB? I mean this makes since with CMYK or Spot colors and ink.. but what benefit is there to "overprints" with RGB? It's not like an additional color in RGB costs more or anything.
    – Scott
    Jun 18, 2017 at 3:24
  • That's good point. I suppose it doesn't really matter. I chose RGB because I want to have a logo that has a subtle glitch effect with hints of each overlapping color around the border.
    – MateoC
    Jun 18, 2017 at 3:27
  • .. actually on second thought.. with RGBA colors, this could be useful as a visual trick of sorts.
    – Scott
    Jun 18, 2017 at 3:30
  • Yeah, this was actually inspired by a lousy printer that printed text with individual RGB ink layers misaligned.
    – MateoC
    Jun 18, 2017 at 3:35
  • @MateoC interesting lousy printer you got there
    – joojaa
    Jun 18, 2017 at 14:21

3 Answers 3


Your sapphire blue is the sum of three RGB colors:

first: R=15, G=B=0 (nearly black onscreen) second: R=0, G=81, B=0 third: R=G=0, B=186

I put them to three circles in three different layers. First and second from the top have blending mode =ADD to perform the addition of the colors.

enter image description here

The wanted blue is at the middle. Note that nearly black red doesn't affect very much, but it affects. Surely the same final mixing result is available several ways. Add say some amount of green to the first layer and take it off from the second layer.

If you take a screenshot of my image and check the colors in a photo editor, you probably see much altered color numbers due the several color management stages between your photo editor and my Photoshop.

Where I took the numbers? You gave them in hexadecimal. 0f = decimal 15 etc... Of course the color selector tool in virtually all graphic programs does the conversion, too.

You may think that I cheat when I do not use normally blended layers and transparency, but add directly. It's very normal to use the different blending modes to achieve the wanted mix easily. Your sapphire blue probably is possible also by using the normal blending and opacities. And even in several ways, because only 3 RGB numbers must get the wanted values, but you can play with three colors and two opacities assuming the bottom layer to be not transparent.

If you want to find how to get the result without the ADD-cheat, you get the following vector equation:


X=the opacity of the top layer, scalar 0...1

T= the RGB color vector of the top layer

Y= the opacity of the middle layer

M= the RGB color vector of the middle layer

B= the RGB color vector of the bottom layer

W = the RGB color vector of the wanted mixing result

This reduces to 3 normal equations. Of course there exists trivial solutions (=all layers of the wanted final color). But Excel found also non-trivial solutions. Here's one:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Here's another non-trivial solution:

enter image description here


You don't mention which software you are using, but since you said it's for a logo, I will assume you mean Adobe Illustrator - although you could do the same in other vector image editors, such as Inkscape or CorelDraw.

See example below in Adobe Illustrator. This method doesn't use any opacity/blending mode techniques.

  1. Create three overlapping circles, and select them all.

  2. With the Path Finder, hit the Divide button.

  3. Ungroup all the shapes.

  4. Fill each section with the colour you want.

Screenshot of Edit in Adobe Illustrator


In Illustrator, where there is no 'Add' available in the Blending Mode, you can use one of these to get the same results in this case:

  • Lighten
  • Screen
  • Difference
  • Exclusion

Illustrator Blend

As user287001 has stated, just make separate shapes for each RGB color, then change the Blending Mode of the top two shapes in the layer stack.

This method has all layers set to 100% opacity

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