Best Graphic Design Software

10 Best Graphic Design Software and Apps for Sublimation

Graphic design software and apps play a crucial role in the world of sublimation. Sublimation is a popular printing method used in various industries, including apparel, home decor, promotional products, and more. It involves transferring designs onto materials like fabrics, ceramics, metals, and plastics by using heat and pressure. The quality and impact of sublimation products heavily rely on the graphic designs created for them.

Graphic design software and apps provide the necessary tools and features to create stunning and visually appealing designs that can be applied through the sublimation process. They enable designers to unleash their creativity and produce high-quality graphics that seamlessly transfer onto different substrates. These software and apps offer a wide range of functionalities, including image editing, vector graphics creation, color manipulation, and text manipulation, among others.

By utilizing best graphic design software and apps specifically tailored for sublimation, designers can bring their ideas to life and achieve professional-level results. These tools empower artists and entrepreneurs to design unique and customized products that stand out in the market.

Overview of Sublimation and its Applications in Various Industries

Sublimation is a printing technique that offers numerous advantages and applications across diverse industries. It involves the transformation of solid ink into a gaseous state, bypassing the liquid phase. This process allows the ink to penetrate the surface of the substrate, resulting in vibrant, long-lasting, and highly detailed designs.

The applications of sublimation are vast and encompass multiple sectors. In the apparel industry, sublimation is widely used to create custom sportswear, activewear, and personalized garments. The ability to print complex designs with vivid colors on fabric sets sublimation apart from traditional printing methods.

Sublimation also finds its place in the home decor industry, where it enables the production of customized products such as pillows, blankets, curtains, and wall art. The versatility of sublimation allows for intricate designs and photographic prints, giving consumers the freedom to decorate their living spaces according to their unique preferences.

Additionally, sublimation is a favored printing technique for promotional products, including mugs, keychains, mousepads, and phone cases. The durability and high-quality results achieved through sublimation make these products stand out in the competitive market, making them ideal for branding and marketing purposes.

Other industries that benefit from sublimation include signage and banners, automotive accessories, personalized gifts, and the hospitality sector. The applications of sublimation continue to expand as businesses and individuals recognize its potential for creating eye-catching and customized products.

10 Best Graphic Design Software

When it comes to graphic design, having the right software can make a world of difference. Here are 10 best graphic design software options available today:

1. Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is a leading suite of design software widely used by professionals in various creative fields. It offers a comprehensive range of tools that cater to different aspects of graphic design, making it a popular choice for sublimation design projects.

Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop is a versatile and powerful software for image editing and manipulation. It provides a wide array of tools and features for retouching photos, creating digital artwork, and designing graphics. In sublimation design, Photoshop is essential for enhancing images, adjusting colors, and creating stunning visual effects.

Illustrator: Adobe Illustrator is a vector graphics editor that enables the creation of scalable and high-quality artwork. It is ideal for designing logos, illustrations, and typography that can be resized without losing quality. In sublimation design, Illustrator is valuable for creating vector-based designs that can be easily printed on various substrates.

InDesign: Adobe InDesign is a professional desktop publishing software used for designing layouts and formatting text-heavy documents. It is commonly used for creating brochures, catalogs, and other marketing materials. In sublimation design, InDesign can be utilized for creating print-ready designs and arranging elements on a page for production.

2. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite

CorelDRAW Graphics Suite is a powerful software package that offers a wide range of design features suitable for sublimation design projects. It is known for its user-friendly interface and extensive set of tools.

Vector Illustration: CorelDRAW allows for precise vector-based illustration, enabling designers to create scalable graphics with smooth curves and sharp lines. This feature is essential for creating intricate designs that can be applied to various sublimation products.

Page Layout: CorelDRAW includes tools for page layout and design, making it suitable for creating designs with multiple elements and arranging them in a visually appealing way. It provides options for managing layers, aligning objects, and working with grids, facilitating efficient and organized design workflows.

Photo Editing: CorelDRAW also offers photo editing capabilities, allowing designers to enhance and retouch images directly within the software. This feature is beneficial for optimizing product images or incorporating photos into sublimation designs.

3. Canva

Canva is a popular online design platform that caters to both beginners and non-designers. It provides a user-friendly interface and a vast library of templates, graphics, and fonts, making it easy to create professional-looking designs for sublimation projects.

Templates: Canva offers a wide selection of pre-designed templates specifically tailored for various design purposes, including sublimation. These templates provide a starting point for creating designs and can be customized to suit individual preferences and branding.

Graphics and Elements: Canva provides a rich library of graphics, icons, and illustrations that can be easily incorporated into sublimation designs. Users can search for specific elements or browse through different categories to find the perfect visuals for their projects.

Text and Typography: Canva offers a range of fonts and text customization options to add impactful typography to sublimation designs. Users can experiment with different font styles, sizes, and colors to create visually appealing text elements.

4. Affinity Designer

Affinity Designer is a powerful vector graphics editor that caters to professional designers. It offers advanced features and a smooth workflow, making it an ideal choice for those looking for precise control and flexibility in their sublimation designs.

Vector Editing: Affinity Designer excels in creating vector-based designs, allowing users to create scalable artwork with precision. Its comprehensive set of vector editing tools enables users to manipulate shapes, curves, and paths, making it perfect for creating intricate sublimation designs.

Advanced Tools and Effects: Affinity Designer provides a range of advanced tools and effects, such as gradients, blends, and masks, that can be applied to sublimation designs. These features offer creative possibilities and allow designers to add depth, texture, and visual interest to their designs.

Seamless Workflow: Affinity Designer offers a seamless workflow by providing features like artboards, layer management, and non-destructive editing. This ensures efficient design processes and allows designers to easily organize, edit, and export their sublimation designs.


GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, is a powerful open-source image editing software that offers a wide array of tools and functionalities. It is often compared to Photoshop and is a popular choice among designers and artists for creating and editing graphics for various purposes, including sublimation designs.

Image Editing: GIMP provides a comprehensive set of tools for image editing, allowing users to adjust colors, retouch photos, remove backgrounds, and apply various effects. These features are essential for enhancing and preparing images for sublimation designs.

Layers and Masks: GIMP supports layers and masks, enabling users to work non-destructively and make precise adjustments to their sublimation designs. Layers allow for easy organization and manipulation of different design elements, while masks provide control over transparency and selective editing.

Customization and Plugins: GIMP is highly customizable, allowing users to tailor the software to their specific needs. It also supports a wide range of plugins and extensions, which further enhance its capabilities and offer additional features for sublimation design projects.

6. Sketch

Sketch is a popular design tool specifically focused on creating user interfaces and digital designs. It is known for its intuitive interface, streamlined workflow, and robust set of features that cater to the needs of designers, including those working on sublimation designs.

Vector Editing: Sketch excels in vector editing, making it easy to create scalable designs for sublimation. It offers precise control over shapes, paths, and anchor points, allowing designers to create clean and detailed graphics that can be resized without losing quality.

Artboards and Symbols: Sketch uses the concept of artboards, which are like digital canvases, allowing designers to work on multiple design iterations simultaneously. It also offers the ability to create and use symbols, which are reusable design elements that ensure consistency and efficiency across sublimation projects.

Plugins and Integrations: Sketch supports a vast ecosystem of plugins and integrations, which extends its functionality and integrates with other design tools and platforms. These plugins provide additional features and streamline workflows, making it easier for designers to create complex sublimation designs.

7. Inkscape

Inkscape is a free and open-source vector graphics editor that provides a powerful platform for creating illustrations, logos, and other scalable designs. It offers a wide range of tools and features that are well-suited for sublimation design projects.

Vector Editing: Inkscape excels in working with vector graphics, allowing designers to create precise and scalable designs for sublimation. It offers a rich set of vector editing tools, including path manipulation, shape creation, and node editing, enabling users to create intricate and detailed designs.

SVG Support: Inkscape supports the Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) format, which is commonly used in sublimation design. This ensures compatibility with various sublimation workflows and allows for seamless integration with other software and platforms.

Extensions and Customizability: Inkscape supports a range of extensions and plugins that enhance its functionality and offer additional features for sublimation design projects. It is also highly customizable, allowing users to tailor the software to their specific needs and preferences.

8. Procreate

Procreate is an iPad app designed specifically for digital artists, providing a wide array of tools and features for creating stunning artwork, including sublimation designs. It offers a seamless and intuitive user experience, making it a popular choice among artists and designers.

Digital Drawing Tools: Procreate offers a vast collection of brushes, allowing designers to emulate various traditional drawing and painting techniques digitally. This enables artists to create intricate and expressive sublimation designs with a high level of detail and realism.

Layering and Blending Modes: Procreate supports multiple layers, providing flexibility and control over the design process. Users can organize their design elements into different layers, adjust transparency, and experiment with blending modes to achieve desired effects in their sublimation designs.

iCloud Integration: Procreate seamlessly integrates with iCloud, enabling users to access their designs across multiple devices and work on them from anywhere. This feature is particularly useful for designers who prefer to work on their sublimation designs on-the-go or across different iPad devices.

9. Figma

Figma is a collaborative design tool that has gained popularity for its ability to facilitate real-time collaboration and seamless teamwork. It is particularly beneficial for remote teams and designers who need to work together on sublimation design projects.

Real-time Collaboration: Figma allows multiple users to work on designs simultaneously, making it easy for team members to collaborate in real-time. Designers can view each other’s changes, leave comments, and provide feedback, fostering a smooth and efficient design process for sublimation projects.

Cloud-based Platform: Figma operates on a cloud-based platform, which means that designs are stored online and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. This makes it convenient for designers working on sublimation designs across different devices or locations.

Design Systems and Prototyping: Figma offers powerful design system features and prototyping capabilities, allowing designers to create consistent sublimation designs and interactive prototypes. This enhances the efficiency of the design process and enables designers to present their ideas effectively.

10. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is a professional-level photo editing software that provides advanced tools and functionalities for sublimation design projects that require sophisticated photo editing.

Retouching Tools: Affinity Photo offers a wide range of retouching tools, including advanced selection tools, healing brushes, and frequency separation techniques. These tools allow designers to enhance and manipulate images for sublimation designs with precision and control.

RAW Processing: Affinity Photo has excellent RAW processing capabilities, enabling designers to work with raw image files from high-resolution cameras. This allows for maximum flexibility and control over image editing, ensuring the best possible quality for sublimation designs.

Non-Destructive Editing: Affinity Photo supports non-destructive editing, which means that changes made to an image can be reversed or adjusted without permanently altering the original image data. This feature is essential for maintaining the integrity of sublimation designs and allows designers to experiment freely.

Examples of Sublimation Projects Created with Adobe Software

Adobe Creative Cloud has been widely embraced by designers in the sublimation industry, and countless impressive sublimation projects have been created using Adobe software. Some notable examples include:

1. Custom Apparel

Adobe software allows designers to create intricate and vibrant patterns for sublimated sportswear, activewear, and fashion apparel. These designs can incorporate complex graphics, logos, and typography, resulting in unique and eye-catching garments.

2. Home Decor Items

Sublimated home decor items, such as personalized pillows, blankets, and wall art, often feature stunning graphics created using Adobe software. These designs can range from intricate patterns to realistic photographic prints, adding a personalized touch to any living space.

3. Promotional Products

Adobe software enables the creation of visually striking graphics for sublimated promotional products like mugs, keychains, and phone cases. These designs can incorporate company logos, custom artwork, and vibrant colors, making the products highly appealing for branding and marketing purposes.

Adobe Creative Cloud’s robust features and tools empower designers to push the boundaries of sublimation design and create visually stunning and professional-grade graphics. The software’s versatility and widespread usage within the industry make it a go-to choice for many sublimation professionals.

Choosing the Right Graphic Design Software/App for Sublimation

1. Factors to consider when selecting software or apps

When choosing graphic design software or apps for sublimation, several factors should be taken into consideration:

Design Capabilities: Evaluate the features and tools offered by each software or app. Consider the specific design needs for sublimation, such as vector editing, image manipulation, typography, and layout design. Look for software that provides the necessary functionality to bring your sublimation designs to life.

Ease of Use: Consider the user interface and overall usability of the software or app. Look for intuitive workflows, easy-to-understand tools, and a user-friendly interface. This is particularly important if you’re new to graphic design or have limited experience with design software.

Compatibility: Ensure that the software or app is compatible with your operating system and hardware. Check system requirements and compatibility information provided by the software developer. Compatibility extends not only to your computer but also to any sublimation equipment or printers you plan to use.

Learning Curve: Consider the learning curve associated with the software or app. Some graphic design tools may require more time and effort to master, while others offer a more streamlined learning process. Assess your available time and resources for learning and decide accordingly.

2. Budget considerations

Budget is an important factor when choosing graphic design software or apps. Consider the following:

Cost: Evaluate the pricing structure of the software or app. Some options offer one-time purchase licenses, while others may require a monthly or annual subscription fee. Assess your budget and determine how much you’re willing to invest in the software.

Free Alternatives: Explore free or open-source graphic design software options, as they can provide robust functionality without the cost. Keep in mind that some free software may have limitations or lack certain advanced features found in paid alternatives.

Value for Money: Consider the value you’ll get from the software or app based on its features, support, and updates. Compare the pricing with the features offered to determine if the investment aligns with your needs and the potential benefits it can bring to your sublimation design projects.

3. Compatibility with sublimation equipment and workflow

Ensure that the selected software or app is compatible with your sublimation equipment and workflow. Consider the following:

File Formats: Verify that the software or app supports the file formats used in sublimation, such as PNG, JPEG, or SVG. It should also provide options for exporting or saving files in the appropriate formats required by your sublimation equipment or printing service.

Color Management: Pay attention to color management features and support within the software or app. Accurate color representation is crucial in sublimation design, so ensure that the software provides color profiles and calibration options to achieve desired results.

Integration: If you use other software or tools in your sublimation workflow, consider compatibility and integration options. For example, the ability to import designs from other graphic design software or export files seamlessly to printing software can streamline your workflow and enhance productivity.

By considering these factors – design capabilities, ease of use, compatibility, budget, and compatibility with sublimation equipment and workflow – you can make an informed decision when choosing the right graphic design software or app for your sublimation projects. Take your time to research and explore different options, and consider trial versions or free alternatives to test the software before committing to a purchase. Ultimately, selecting the right software or app will empower you to create stunning sublimation designs and enhance your productivity in the sublimation process.

Tips for Designing with Graphic Design Software/Apps for Sublimation

1. Utilizing templates and mockups

Templates: Take advantage of pre-designed templates available within the software or app. Templates provide a starting point and can save time in creating sublimation designs. Customize the templates to match your vision, and adapt them to suit your specific project requirements.

Mockups: Use mockup templates to visualize how your sublimation design will look on different products or surfaces. Mockups allow you to present your designs in a realistic and professional manner, helping you and your clients visualize the final product.

2. Understanding color management and file formats

Color Profiles: Ensure that you understand how color management works within the graphic design software or app. Use color profiles and calibration tools to achieve accurate color representation in your sublimation designs. This is especially important when transferring the design onto physical substrates.

File Formats: Familiarize yourself with the file formats commonly used in sublimation printing, such as PNG, JPEG, or SVG. Pay attention to the recommended file resolution and color mode for optimal results. Export or save your designs in the appropriate file format required by your sublimation equipment or printing service.

3. Incorporating typography and other design elements

Typography: Experiment with different fonts and typography styles to enhance your sublimation designs. Consider the readability, legibility, and appropriateness of fonts for the intended purpose of your design. Play with font sizes, spacing, and alignment to create visually appealing compositions.

Design Elements: Explore various design elements like shapes, icons, patterns, and textures to add depth and visual interest to your sublimation designs. Experiment with layering and blending modes to create unique effects. Balance the use of design elements to create a harmonious composition.

Composition and Layout: Pay attention to the overall composition and layout of your sublimation designs. Consider visual hierarchy, balance, and focal points. Use grids, guides, and alignment tools to ensure elements are properly placed and aligned. Maintain consistency and a sense of coherence throughout your design.


In conclusion, the world of sublimation design offers a plethora of opportunities to showcase creativity and create stunning products. Choosing the right graphic design software or app plays a crucial role in maximizing your potential and delivering exceptional results. Throughout this article, we explored some of the best graphic design software and apps for sublimation, including Adobe Creative Cloud, CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, Canva, Affinity Designer, GIMP, Inkscape, Procreate, Gravit Designer, and Sketch.

Each software and app brings its unique set of features, tools, and capabilities that cater to the diverse needs of sublimation designers. Adobe Creative Cloud offers a comprehensive suite of tools with extensive customization options, while CorelDRAW Graphics Suite excels in its design capabilities. Canva provides a user-friendly platform with customizable templates, and Affinity Designer offers powerful design tools specifically tailored for sublimation.Additionally, we explored other notable options such as GIMP, Inkscape, Procreate, Gravit Designer, and Sketch, which provide alternative choices depending on your preferences and requirements.

When choosing the right graphic design software or app for sublimation, it is essential to consider factors such as budget, compatibility with sublimation equipment, and the specific features and functionalities required for your projects.

By following the tips provided for designing with graphic design software or apps, such as utilizing templates and mockups, understanding color management and file formats, and incorporating typography and other design elements, you can elevate your sublimation designs to new heights.

Ultimately, the success of your sublimation design ventures relies on your creativity, skill, and the tools you choose. Take the time to explore different software and apps, experiment with their features, and continue to learn and refine your design techniques. By selecting the right tools and honing your design skills, you can unlock the full potential of sublimation and create remarkable designs that leave a lasting impression.

Remember, sublimation design is an exciting and ever-evolving field, so embrace the journey, stay inspired, and let your creativity soar as you explore the possibilities that graphic design software and apps offer for sublimation.

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