Creating beautiful designs for your sublimation projects is essential for making your products stand out. And there are dozens of design apps that can help you craft the perfect designs for your sublimation jobs, including free and paid ones.
To make things easier for you, we’ve reviewed 5 of the best sublimation software for design, so stick around.
Our Top Picks
- Adobe Photoshop – Best Overall
- GIMP – Best Free Choice
- CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021 – Best for Payment Flexibility
- INKSCAPE – Best for Beginners
- Sketch – Best for Mac Users
The 5 Best Sublimation Software for Design in 2022
Now let’s explore what each of these sublimation software has to offer, the platforms they’re available on, and how you can pay for them. We’ll also explore some free options, so stick around.
1. Adobe Photoshop – Best Overall
Adobe Photoshop is the undisputed king of the graphic design world. It’s a well-rounded software with cross-platform support that’s especially great for sublimation designs.
Being one of the most popular design programs in the world, you can easily find free resources on how to use it for sublimation designing, and it doesn’t have a steep learning curve.
In addition, Adobe regularly updates Photoshop, so you’ll always find new features being added. Some of the existing features include image editing, 3D extrusion, color manipulation, and many more.
- Easy to use
- Lots of resources to learn from
- Supports 3D extrusion
- Cross-platform support
- Regularly updates
- Somewhat pricey monthly subscription
Adobe Photoshop is the best sublimation software for design globally, with regular updates, tons of easy-to-use features, and a massive library of free learning sources.
2. GIMP – Best Free Choice
GIMP is an open-source design software available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it’s probably one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop.
You can directly download it from their website for free or get it on a CD from Amazon for practically nothing.
GIMP offers a wide range of features that are available on Photoshop, including image editing, layer editing, rastering, color matching, and transcoding.
However, there are limited third-party plugins available, making your designs a bit restricted.
- Open source code
- Supports image and layer editing
- Limited third party plugin support
- Some features don’t work as good as in Photoshop
If you’re a beginner looking for a free, capable design software for your sublimation jobs, GIMP would be your best bet. It works similarly to Photoshop, minus the costs.
3. CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021 – Best for Payment Flexibility
One of the best things about the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021 is the payment flexibility it offers; you can either pay a flat fee once to get the license or opt for a monthly subscription.
The software is also pretty capable, providing features like multi-monitor support, vector representation, and a live sketch tool.
In addition, it offers a massive content library that includes a wide range of templates, photos, and gradients.
The software is available on Windows and Mac, and we particularly like the user interface that offers lots of customization options.
The only downside of this software is that it struggles with raster image loading and manipulation, so keep that in mind.
- Flexible payment options
- Supports various features
- Large library
- Customizable user interface
- Not suitable for raster images
The CorelDRAW Graphics Suite 2021 is a solid choice for sublimation designers who want to create professional sublimation projects and have the freedom of choosing a payment plan that suits their lifestyle.
4. Inkscape – Best for Beginners
Inkscape is another impressive free vector graphics editor that stands out with its functional plugins that allow you to overcome many of the software’s limitations.
What’s more, it’s quite easy to use; you can probably get acquainted with it within a few hours of practice. And it’s compatible with all operating systems, namely Windows, Mac, and Linux.
We also like how the set of tools and gradients available on Inkscape take the design process to the next level.
However, it does lack a few essential features that are found in higher-end software like Photoshop, but since this is a free tool, we can’t complain much.
- Free and open-source
- Easy to use and set up
- Offers a wide range of plugins
- Has functional tools and gradients
- Lacks some high-end features
Whether you’re looking for free design software or for a software that supports many plugins, Inkscape won’t disappoint you. It’s also pretty easy to use, making it ideal for beginners.
5. Sketch – Best for Mac Users
Available exclusively on Mac devices, Sketch is a full-fledged design software that integrates a wide range of custom plugins and responsive screen templates.
The software is originally intended for UX/UI designers, but it works great for sublimation designs, too.
It autosaves every step you make to prevent your work from getting lost, and it allows you to mirror designs.
Sketch also offers proprietary cloud storage for saving your designs. Not to mention, the software is very lightweight and doesn’t consume much RAM, and it comes at a yearly subscription of $99/month.
However, the only major downside here is that there’s no Windows or Linux version.
- Dedicated cloud storage
- Large plugin library
- Design mirroring support
- Unavailable on Windows or Linux
If you’re a Mac user, Sketch should be at the top of your list with its custom plugins, cloud storage, and affordable yearly subscription model. It’s also pretty lightweight and won’t take up much from your computer’s resources.
Factors to Consider When Shopping for the Best Sublimation Software for Design
Let’s walk you through some of the things you need to consider when deciding on a sublimation software for design.
Free vs. Paid
The first thing you need to keep in mind is whether you want all the extensive functions of a paid software or can make do with a few missing functionalities of free software.
Both will help you create great sublimation designs, but a paid software will definitely allow you to come up with trickier designs if you can fit it into your budget.
The user interface can make a world of difference in design software. With an easy-to-use interface, you’ll be able to learn the ins and outs of the software quickly, allowing you to create the designs you want with less effort.
Plugins are essential in any sublimation design software because they allow you to do more with your designs. So, when choosing a design software, make sure that it supports the third-party plugins you’ll be needing.
That was everything you needed to know about the best sublimation software for design. If you’re searching for an excellent all-around pick, you can’t go wrong with Adobe Photoshop with its various tools and regular updates.
Alternatively, you can opt for GIMP if you’re looking for free software. Or consider going for Sketch if you’re a Mac user; we particularly like its cloud storage option and massive plugin library.