As an aspiring or even a professional sublimation artist, you should know your way around Google Docs for designing. Even in a world full of loaded designing platforms like CorelDRAW, Adobe Illustrator, and more, Google Docs seems to make an impression courtesy of the free-to-use accessibility, support for real-time collaboration, and more.
Platforms other than Google Docs often come with steep learning curves, compatibility issues, and expensive software costs — making it harder for a beginner or even intermediate to work with a piece of mind. As a professional sublimation artist with 5+ years of experience, even I rely a lot on Google Docs for my standard sublimation printing requirements.
And even though I do use other high-end resources like Photoshop, Canva, and more, Google Docs continues to be my favorite.
Today, I shall help you make sense of Google Docs for sublimation in a way that became useful to me over time. By the end of this piece, you should have a comprehensive understanding of this cloud-based platform in regard to creating and editing impressive sublimation layouts.
Related: Recommended Sublimation Software
Setting up the Google Doc
Before I dive deep into the world of Google Doc designing, here is a quick guide on setting up the document correctly:
Step 1: Choose the page size and orientation
- Firstly, you need to determine the size of the print you are considering, depending on how you want it to show on the substrate of choice. Once done, you need to head over to the “Page Setup” section under the “File” menu to zero in on the right page size.
- You can choose from predefined page sizes, including A4, Letter, and more. Or you can customize the page height and width to set the size per your needs. Regardless, the dimensions should align with the print surface.
Step 2: Customize the layout and margin
- Your design needs to fit the area assigned for it on the substrate. For that, you can head over to the Page Setup section and adjust the margin values if needed. The ideal setting for sublimation is often between 0.25-0.50 inches, but that can change per your layout.
- You can even customize the layout by heading over to the “Format” tab and selecting “Columns” or “Table,” per your requirements. This might help if you want to focus on printing multiple sublimation designs on a single sheet.
Step 3: Zero in on the color profile
- If you plan on designing on the Docs directly, say using your iPad and the Apple Pencil, you might not want to tweak any setting associated with the color profile. Google Docs uses the RGB color profile by default — something even the sublimation printers rely on.
- However, if you have plans to import designs or images, you can check the color profile using platforms like GIMP and Adobe Photoshop. If the CMYK color profile is selected, it is better to change the same to RGB before importing it to Google Docs.
Following these steps will set your Google Doc for the subsequent printing tasks.
Importing and (or) creating designs
Here is how you can use Google Docs to create basic designs:
- Head over to the “Insert” section and then move to the “Drawing” subhead. Click on the “New” tab and choose “Shape” to get in a simple design. This way, you can choose between circles, lines, rectangles, and other options. Once you are inside the drawing zone, you can play around with the dashboard to customize color, dimensions, border, and other aspects, as needed.
- The “Drawing” dashboard also has the “Line” option, in case you want to prepare your own designs. There is a “Scribble” option hidden within to do fun things with the layouts.
- You can even add text to your designs by selecting the “Text Box” in the “New” section inside the “Drawing” tab.
- If you have a design ready, you can simply head over to the “Insert” section and click on the “Image” tab to upload any image from the corresponding drive location, part of your PC, or directly from the URL.
- Once the image is uploaded, you can always resize, reposition, and rotate the same inside the document. In case you plan on keeping the aspect ratio intact, you can keep holding the “Shift” key while dragging the handles.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind while designing:
- Always aim for a higher resolution, a minimum of 300 dpi, while dealing with sublimation printing designs. This is valid while importing images to Google Docs.
- Use colors that are within the RGB color gamut, especially to align them perfectly with the printing style of the Google Docs.
- For sublimation, always focus on using bright and bold design elements.
Formatting designs using Google Docs
Once your design is ready, here is how you can format the same inside Google Docs:
- Resize the images as mentioned above.
- If you want to reposition, choose the “Align” option from the “Format” tab and ensure proper margin-specific positioning.
- If you prefer using a set design template, turn your Google Doc into one by having placeholders for text and image and then saving the doc as a new file. You can head over to the “File” section and choose “Make a Copy” to have a consistent template available for all your designs.
- There is a wide range of pre-defined templates that you can access by heading over to “File,” “New,” and “From Template.
Mirror and export designs to finalize prints
Sublimation prints are transferred to the substrate in the reverse format. Hence, it is necessary to head over to the “Format” section, scroll down for “Image,” choose “Rotate,” and then “Flip” to do the same inside Google Docs. However, this only works for images.
In case you want to flip a text, the first step would be to convert the same into an image. Here is how you can do this:
- Create a box for text in the “Google Drawings” document.
- Type the text and then save and export the document as a PNG or JPEG.
- In Google Docs, head over to the Insert section and select that saved image and use it.
Once you have mirrored the image (text), you need to export the same as a PDF for printing. Here are the steps for the same:
- Head over to “File,” hit “Download,” and select “.pdf” as the option. Once done, the PDF is all ready to be used for sublimation.
- If your Doc needs to be saved as an image — JPEG or even a PNG — you need to import the doc into a “Google Drawings” document. Once done, you will get the option to download the JPEG option in the File menu.
And that sums up preparing your sublimation designs using Google Docs.
Related: read our guide on the best sublimation printers of the year.
Once you are done prepping the image using Google Docs, the next step is to warm up the printer, arrange the right sublimation ink and paper, and start optimizing the print settings using the proprietary tool to include the best print quality and color management options.
Additionally, you can even focus on testing prints to see if the designs are coming out right or not. And yes, if you have time to space, you can even delve deeper into the “Insert” section to experiment with other design elements. In the end, it is all about how powerful your imaginative skills are.