10 Best Software To Print Sublimation | 2024 Guide

Sublimation printing is a fantastic method that uses heat to bind dye with fabric on a molecular level to create brilliant prints. You can use this game-changing method on everything from t-shirts to mugs. But before you print your design, you’ll need software to create or edit the image.

Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw are the perfect premium software choices. If you prefer free alternatives, there’s no need to worry, as there are plenty of options like Inkscape, GIMP, and Canva that still offer a fantastic array of design tools.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll go through the pros and cons of each one, so you can pick the best design tool for you. We’ll also reveal the top ten software options available today. Finally, we’ll give you some tips and tricks about Best software to print sublimation.

Sublimation Software

If you’re looking for a way to create or modify designs for a shirt or some other cool item, sublimation software is your answer. But don’t just take our word for it – the quality of the finished product depends heavily on the design process!

Here’s a brief overview of how sublimation printing works: Use your design software of choice to create, download or modify a design. Then, print the design using a sublimation printer and dye it on transfer paper.

Now for the fun part – grab a heat press and place the transfer on the shirt. The heat will activate the sublimation process, turning the dye into a gas and fusing it with the fabric fibers. And voila! A beautiful, vibrant design that is sure to turn heads.

Sublimation printing is becoming significantly popular due to its long-lasting prints. And guess what? You can create these prints at home, whether as a small business owner or just for fun, but here’s the kicker, the print quality is all in the design quality.

So, let’s chat about good sublimation software, it not only offers super precise and accurate designs but also intuitive design tools and photo editing software. You can create unique, professional-looking images and graphics, with a little bit of creativity. 

10 Best Sublimation Printing Software: Free and Paid

1. Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator and the programs in the Illustrator Suite are the industry standard for top-quality designs. It can handle vector graphics and raster images like a pro. With this feature-rich software, the sky’s the limit for sublimation designs.

Adobe Illustrator

However, it can be overwhelming for a newbie graphic designer. To use the advanced software, you’ll have to master basic graphic design skills. No pressure, though, because many pros and art students use this software, which means millions of tutorials available on Adobe and YouTube.

The downside of the software is that a high monthly subscription fee and it comes bundled with products that you may not need. But, there’s a free seven-day trial to test it out for free. Try it to see if it matches your creative needs.

2. CorelDraw

CorelDraw provides a mind-boggling array of design options that you would typically find in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. It’s a jack-of-all-trades package, complete with a built-in library of designs and fonts to get you started on your design journey.

Unleash your creativity with CorelDraw’s customizable design interface, configuring your tools to fit your work style best. The versatility of this software shines through by interfacing with a wide range of file types that allow you to edit 48 different file formats without slogging through different software for each format.

Let’s be honest, CorelDraw is excellent, but it has its limitations too. Its photo editing software isn’t loaded with as many tools as Photoshop. Nonetheless, CorelDraw gives its competition a run for its money with a price tag of $499 or a monthly subscription of $20.99.

While CorelDraw does not hold every single feature in Adobe Illustrator’s kit, artists are finding this design software to be their new fav. With all the tools needed under one umbrella, it’s no wonder CorelDraw is the go-to solution for those looking to create stunning designs without burning a hole in their pocket.

3. Gravit

Discover a unique vector design program with Gravit Designer Pro. It’s a versatile web and in-app tool optimized for touchscreens like smartphones, tablets, and Apple Pencils.

Use it to elevate your digital design game across media channels, including print design, website development, and lettering. While similar to Adobe Illustrator, it also has some differences to master. Keep in mind that Gravit’s forte is vector design and not as much with photo editing. 

Best of all, you can try it for free, and upgrade to the Pro version at a very reasonable price of $49.99 per year.

4. Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the number-one design tool for anyone using photos or detailed images for sublimation prints. It’s been around for a while, and “Photoshop” has quite literally become a verb in our language! But Adobe is constantly expanding and developing this comprehensive program, making it even better every year.

With its design tools, you can easily edit photos, create digital paintings, or customize downloaded designs. What’s more, hundreds of plug-ins and add-ons are available to give you even more design firepower!

It’s worth noting that while Photoshop remains the best-selling photo manipulation tool in the world, it’s based on raster editing – this means photos are typically displayed in pixels rather than vectors. Nonetheless, it is an invaluable tool for designers and photographers alike.

5. Affinity

Affinity Designer, a professional graphic design software suite, offers an array of graphic design tools alongside a photo-editing piece. Although it appears to target companies seeking an Illustrator alternative, it also has several big advantages for individuals.

The software is cost-effective, selling for just a one-time payment of $49.99 compared to Illustrator’s subscription-based pricing. And, with a focus on vector design tools plus a robust photo-editing program, Affinity Designer gives you everything you need for all aspects of design.

For the ultimate deal, make sure you purchase Affinity’s bundle package – it’s a must-have for the modern, design-savvy individual.

6. Sawgrass

Sawgrass has launched an amazing line of sublimation printers, equipped with an online design space known as Sawgrass Creative Studio, which is gaining immense popularity. Unlike other graphic design programs, this online design program offers a learning academy and a plethora of graphic design tools that help you craft your very own sublimation prints effortlessly.

What sets Sawgrass Creative Studio apart from its competitors is that it is exclusively tailored to work with sublimation prints. You no longer have to scratch your head while trying to figure out how to create a kick-ass sublimation design. Sawgrass simplifies everything for you!

This program comes with a huge repository of pre-designed art. All the designs are curated to serve as sublimation prints, giving you access to stunning, ready-made designs at your fingertips.

To gain access to this design program, you’ll need to purchase a Sawgrass printer. But don’t worry, many sublimation printers have found this brand to work exceptionally well, so buying one could be a great choice.

7. Sketch

Sketch is one of the world’s best design tools for creating websites and apps, offering all the graphic design features you need for print design too. Its huge popularity has resulted in hundreds of plug-ins for additional features.

While Sketch is optimized for Apple products, it’s also available online for all computers. It facilitates teamwork with collaborative tools, making group design work a breeze.

Try Sketch today with our free trial and get started on your next design project. After that, it’s just $9 a month to keep using Sketch’s amazing tools.

8. Inkscape

Create stunning vector graphics with Inkscape It’s free, open-source software, that does for designers what Michael Jordan did for basketball. With Inkscape’s thousands of add-ons, you can create graphic designs that could make Van Gogh jealous. You won’t feel alone either, with helpful tips and support available from its massive community.

However, the only downside is that you may need to spend a bit of time either watching educational videos or learning about the world of graphic design. Nonetheless, Inkscape gives you access to cutting-edge features without having to break the bank.


Discover GIMP, the open-source design program that anyone can use, without breaking the bank! Unlike proprietary software, GIMP’s source code is open, so anyone can access it. GIMP offers features similar to Photoshop but with a less slick appearance.

You might need to spend some extra time to get used to it, but it is free, so you can learn to create amazing sublimation designs from scratch without leaving your wallet high and dry. 

Please keep in mind that while it is perfect for tweaking your photos or image downloads, it is not designed to generate vector graphics.

10. Canva

There is an amazing design tool that’s both versatile and user-friendly. You should definitely check out Canva. Initially, it may seem like a simple drag-and-drop program for creating flyers or social media posts, but it’s so much more than that. With Canva, you can also design sublimation prints for t-shirts and other items. Plus, the program’s help page offers detailed instructions on how to get started.

One of Canva’s most significant advantages is its easy-to-use web-based interface that lets you quickly create custom designs or modify existing templates. Although it’s not as comprehensive as Adobe Illustrator, it has numerous free tools and designs to choose from. And, to top it off, there’s a “Pro” version available if you want extra features and don’t mind paying a monthly subscription. See? Canva provides everything you need in a design tool.

Things to keep in mind while selecting the software for sublimation

When selecting the Best software to print sublimation there are several important factors to consider. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

1. Compatibility: Ensure that the software is compatible with your operating system (Windows, macOS, etc.) to ensure smooth installation and operation on your computer.

2. Design Capabilities: Consider the design features and tools offered by the software. Look for features such as image editing, text manipulation, layering, color adjustment, and template creation. The Best software to print sublimation should provide the necessary tools to create and customize designs for sublimation printing.

3. Ease of Use: User-friendliness is crucial, especially if you are new to sublimation printing or design software. Look for software with an intuitive interface, easy navigation, and clear instructions. User-friendly software will make the design process more efficient and enjoyable.

4. Print and Color Management: Ensure that the software provides accurate print and color management features. Look for options to adjust color profiles, preview prints, and manage color accuracy. The software should allow you to control the output and ensure consistent and high-quality prints.

5. Template and Product Libraries: Check if the software offers a library of templates and pre-designed graphics that can be customized for various sublimation products. Having access to a range of templates can save time and inspire creativity.

6. File Compatibility: Consider the software’s compatibility with various file formats, such as JPEG, PNG, SVG, and AI. Ensure that the software can import and export files in the formats you commonly work with to facilitate seamless integration with other design tools or printers.

7. Integration with Printers and Devices: Check if the software is compatible with the sublimation printer or devices you plan to use. Look for features such as printer drivers, direct integration, or the ability to export designs in printer-friendly formats.

8. Support and Updates: Consider the level of support provided by the software manufacturer. Look for software that offers regular updates, bug fixes, and responsive customer support. Updates ensure compatibility with the latest operating systems and improve the software’s functionality over time.

9. Cost: Evaluate the cost of the software and consider it in relation to its features and your budget. Some software options may offer a one-time purchase, while others may require a subscription model. Consider the value and long-term cost when making your decision.

By considering these factors, you can select the best sublimation printing software that suits your design capabilities, workflow, and budget, ultimately enhancing your sublimation printing experience and allowing you to create high-quality designs.


Selecting the right design software for sublimation is no small task; however, with a little patience and research, you can find the perfect fit. Consider the features that are most important to you – like vector or raster imaging as well as if there is an accompanying app.

Many software packages have both features, so it’s ultimately up to you to decide what meets your needs. Don’t forget to read reviews of other users as well in order to make certain the choice you ultimately settle on is the best one for your unique situation. No matter what, you should come away feeling confident that you’ve found the right design software for sublimation that fits within your budget and meets all of your specialized expectations. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is there a sublimation software?

CorelDRAW has been the go-to design software for decades, making it one of the best options for sublimation printing. It has everything you could need for sublimation printing right at your fingertips and with affordable pricing options. Not only that, but it also works seamlessly with sublimation ICC color profiles, so your designs will always come out just the way you envisioned.

Q. Is sublimation printing RGB or CMYK?

Printing applications like dye sublimation and paper printing usually depend on CMYK color space files. This is because the inks used in these printers are physically CMYK inks. Interestingly, these printers start with a white fabric base or white paper stock and then add color to it. It’s a seamless fit with the CMYK process.

Q. Is Canva suitable for printing?

Canva is an awesome online alternative to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Numerous print customers opt to select this platform when creating their print-ready files. However, to get the best print outcome, it’s critical to ensure your files are set up correctly.

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