10 Best Design Software for Sublimation Printing

Best design software for sublimation printing

Creative designing is best done with the best software for Dye-sublimation printing. And there are many software’s available in the market which can be used to create the best designs for sublimation printing.

Absolutely, you need a design or, more precisely, your favorite design or image for sublimation. Sublimation printing is not possible without a design. Whether you are sublimating Tumblers, a mug, or Cotton fabric, a design is an ultimate need.

However, selecting the finest option from so many possibilities may prove difficult, and some of us may become confused about which one to select. To ease your confusion, we have made a list of Top 10 best software for sublimation printing, and you can pick anyone from this list as per your requirement and need.

Products Feature Sublimation Compatible
Canva Free
Gimp Free
Inkscape Free
Adobe Illustrator Paid
Adobe Photoshop Paid
Adobe InDesign Paid
Pixlr Paid
CorelDraw Paid
Sketch Paid
Affinity Designer Paid

What are Sublimation Software?

Sublimation software specifically designed to create and edit designs for sublimation printing. This type of software allow users to create custom designs that can be printed onto a wide range of materials, including cotton fabrics, ceramics, metals and Tapered Tumblers. Sublimation software typically offers a wide range of features for creating and editing designs, including tools for creating shapes, paths, text, special effects, and filters.

Top 10 Sublimation Printing Software

The first entry in our top sublimation printing software list is Canva. It is widely popular for its ease of use and outstanding features required by designers, artists, or other professionals who want their designs to come to life.

Various other software available in the market can be used to create sublimation designs

Free Software to Design Sublimation Prints

1. Canva:

canva is free software and easy to use for sublimation designs

Canva is a popular graphic design tool that can be used for creating sublimation designs. Sublimation is a printing technique that allows you to transfer designs onto various materials, including Color changing mugs, ceramics, and metals.

Canva offers a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to create custom designs for sublimation. The tool features a wide variety of pre-made templates and design elements that can be easily customized to create unique designs. You can also upload your images and graphics to use in your designs.

pre design templates of canva

Pre Designed Templates

One of the main benefits of using Canva for sublimation design is the ability to create optimized designs for different materials. Canva allows you to create designs specific to the size, shape, and color of the item you are sublimating. This means your designs will look great on everything from t-shirts to mugs.

In addition to its design capabilities, Canva also offers a range of editing tools that allow you to adjust the size and resolution of your designs. This is important when creating designs for sublimation because it ensures that the final print will be high-quality and crisp.


GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is more or less like Adobe’s Photoshop program (mainly because they are similar).

Gimp provides tools to help create sublimation printing designs, including layers and an undo/redo function. All these features come under different menus inside the program, making it easy to find what you need. GIMP is different from all because of its open-source nature. 

The user interface is similar to Photoshop in many ways, but the menu structure is different from that program. So it doesn’t give me any trouble when I have been using Photoshop for a while and then have to use GIMP. The undo/redo functions are straightforward to use.

Another feature that makes GIMP great for sublimation printing is that it saves files in .xcf format, which can be a lifesaver if a problem occurs during a print and you need to go back and fix it. It is a raster rather than a vector image editor, which is best for sublimation design. There is also a feature that allows you to preview the different layers. If you find any errors, you may toggle them off and observe how the image looks without that layer.

What We Like

  • Open source Nature:
  • Free to create sublimation Designs
  • A lot of material related to how to use

What We May Not

  • Need to install third-party plugins
  • You may find somehow difficulties at the start with how to set up for sublimation, but you can follow the YouTube guide       

3. Inkscape

inscape menu

Inkscape has become a more and more popular tool in the world of digital design for some years now. Even though its development could be faster and quick to implement new features than similar software, it gains fans because of its high quality and amazing results. With Inkscape, you can work on images with no limitations whatsoever. You can draw as many shapes as you want and then put them together to form the design you need if you desire, import SVG files from other sources and adjust them with different tools. Below you can see the file format of Inkscape.

Some features make Inkscape a great tool for sublimation printing: paths, pencil and straight-line tools, and bezier curves. Thanks to its support for Bezier curves, you can create incredible designs without limitations.

To resolve any problem, you can join the Inkscape forum.

Inscape forum where people can discuss their problems

You can also watch a detailed video on editing and making sublimation designs with Inkscape.

Paid Software’s:

4. Adobe InDesign

If you are looking for an efficient sublimation designing tool, look no further than Adobe InDesign. One of the most powerful tools today, adobe InDesign, is created by adobe systems with great design capabilities, especially for the printing industry.

This incredible software allows designers to create many designs quickly. It is considered one of the best sublimation designing tools available in the market today.

The advancement in sublimation designing has made it possible to print large numbers of products with the same design. Adobe InDesign also allows the designer to use vector images, resulting in clear designs.

5. Adobe Illustrator

adobe illustater  menu page

Adobe Illustrator is an Adobe Systems vector graphics editor used to create illustrations or designs scaled to different sizes. Vector-based images are the future of printing since they retain quality when resized. This makes them ideal for home decor items such as tiles or canvas wall art prints.

Adobe Illustrator is great for sublimation designing. This software is used worldwide in the print industry, especially in printing on textiles and is supported by Inkjet Printers. It uses both vector graphics and rasters.

Adobe Illustrator is not just for home decor. However, it is also used by various designers and businesses to create high-quality graphics, from website buttons to printable stickers. Illustrator is a scalable vector graphics editor that can be used for almost any purpose, including logo design for your home decor-related business.

There is no need to worry if you’re at a beginner level and don’t know how to use this software for the sublimation process. It has a learning platform name learn illustrator

learn from lllustater library how to use this software porper

And also provide one additional facility stock market, where you can find pre-design images and prints.

found pre design image from adobe stock marketplace

Adobe Stock Market

6. Pixlr

here you can learn how to use pixlr to design sublimation images

Pixlr is an online photo editor and graphic design tool. Pixlr enables users to create and edit images and designs on the web by providing tools such as various effects, layers, color pickers, drawing modes etc.

Pixlr provides excellent features that will be helpful for those who want to start designing their clothes using sublimation methods.

You can employ Pixlr to create your favorite design or abstract for your apparel. Fortunately, you can use this software equally while sublimating on Coffee Mugs.

With pixlr, users won’t need any additional software as it combines all the necessary tools in one website. Under its Tools menu, users can find Image Effects separated into categories like Color Balance, Light & Shadow, Warping & Distortion etc.

Designers can use this section to modify photos before inserting them into the sublimation software.

Pixlr also has a Text Effects category that provides different writing styles that designers can use to decorate their images.

Pixlr offer 5 products and each product has a specific function.

5 pilxr tools that help to create effetive design
  1. Pixlr X
  2. Pixlr E
  3. Photomash
  4. Batch editor
  5. Remove Background

For technical details, you can directly contact technical support

7. Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is the most popular photo and graphic editing software from Adobe. This program enhances your design materials into something truly special with just a few clicks or brush strokes on the screen – whether you want an image edited down here at home using this application’s built-in features, including layers and tools such as filters/ Nik.

Photoshop can do everything ranging from 3d extrusion to image correction but doesn’t provide much value, so I added some extra info about Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop is an excellent tool for sublimation designing. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • 1) Adobe has been making photoshop since 1988, and there have been many improvements over the years to give users an even better experience.
  • 2) if you’re not a designer by trade but want to design sublimation clothing – photoshop is a great way to do it. The program offers many preloaded templates and stencils which can be modified and designed for your text and graphics.
  • 3) It has many tools and resources which can be used for designing your apparel or helping you repair existing apparel.

8. CorelDraw

Coreldraw cover page

The use of sublimation printing is getting more and more popular among professional designers. However, much different graphic design software may be useful for this type of design.

Corel Draw is one of them. It has many tools for creating high-quality prints in color and black & white.

Firstly, CorelDraw was created as a tool for vector designing (drawing), but nowadays, creating sublimation-ready images with Corel Draw is pretty popular.

One of the most useful Corel Draw tools for designing sublimation prints is the Gradients tool (the icon is a blue and black arrow). You can use it both to add some color effects and make your pictures more realistic and vivid. There are a lot of CorelDraw applications which can be used for various purposes in sublimation printing.

CorelDraw Applications Comparison Table

9. Sketch

sketch menu page

Nowadays, graphic designers need to do more than create beautiful visuals. They need to create print-ready artwork that can be used for a wide range of physical media like paper and fabric. Therefore, most design software comes with all tools you need to prepare your files for the printing process.

Using Sketch, you can create pixel-perfect mockups and detailed icons without worrying about the pixel grid. It supports layers with multiple fills, borders, and shadows. It also supports gradients with interactive editing on canvas as well as native support for exporting artboards as PDF or as PNG/SVG cutout.

In addition, Sketch is a well-known tool among the design community for its ease of use and intuitiveness compared to other popular vector editing software. It gets rid of unnecessary features that have been added over time which only convolutes its usage.

10. Affinity Designer

how to use affinity desinge as sublimation tool

Affinity Designer is a macOS and Windows vector graphics editor. It only focuses on vectors and has unique features compared to other software in its class.

 Affinity Designer has a “Stylus” interface which makes drawing smooth straight lines or shapes quickly with a pen-like stylus or your mouse/trackpad.

I have been using this software to create retina banners, Facebook cover photos, Instagram posts etc. I can work for an hour in one day because Adobe Illustrator’s tools are intuitive and easy to use.

Affinity Designer is an alternative to Adobe Illustrator, and it’s worth the price.

If you don’t use all or parts of Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw, they will take up space and slow down your computer. Even though I’ve been using Adobe products for years, their products tend to get sluggish on my laptop and take a long time to load.

Here is a list of compatible devices.

Best App for Sublimation Printing:

All of the above-given apps are considered the best for sublimation printing, which is why we have added them to our list of best Sublimation printing software. But Canva has a simple interface and is easy to use.

If you still have any questions in mind or want to know more, you can join this thread for Reddit.

What is an ICC Profile in Sublimation Designing?

In the context of sublimation designing, an ICC profile (International Color Consortium profile) is a set of data that describes the colors of a particular device or medium, such as a printer or a type of paper. It contains information about how colors should be reproduced on that device or medium, including the device’s color gamut (range of colors it can produce), color space (the specific colors it can produce), and color response (how it reproduces colors).

How to Choose the Best Software for Sublimation Designing?

The best software for sublimation printing is a complex topic. Many aspects must be considered, including the type of printer you use, and sublimation issues during print graphics or photos. However, some common denominators can help with your decision-making process.

Flexible user interface: A flexible and easy-to-use design is one of the most significant qualities to search for in any sublimation designing programme.

Free or Paid: Many free alternatives can help you create awesome designs without costing anything, but for the paid tool before purchasing, make sure it has all your needs covered by checking out its capabilities with other tools such as Plugins/Extensions, also known as addons which allow custom options specific only those who know how they work; this will save time when using them later on down the road.

Tools and plugins should be considered first because they give customization opportunities like never seen before and make lives easier while working within programs themselves!

Graphic Or Vector: A graphic or vector editing style should be chosen depending on your needs.

The type and quality of the software it offers are also important when choosing an output format, especially if you want to save time in production later down the line!



We hope you’ve found this article helpful in your quest to find the right tool for your business needs. The software listed above are great tools that can help enhance design creativity and bring ideas to life, so it may be worth looking into which one is best suited to meet your company goals. Feel free to ask If you have any questions about these tools or would want additional information on how they might be used in conjunction with other marketing strategies

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