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How to Design a Sublimation Uniform Using Photoshop

Designing Outside the Box with Sublimation Printing

Sublimation uniforms open up a world of possibilities for uniform design. With unlimited colors and graphic options, the entire uniform is a blank canvas for any design you can think of. However, this freedom can also be overwhelming. There’s a pressure to create something amazing and unique and no clear structure for what goes where. 

To help address this dilemma, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to make designing your sublimation uniform from scratch easier to accomplish.

This guide assumes some level of comfort with photoshop. It will be important to keep distinct layers for each part of the sublimation printing design and to label them accordingly. Feel free to grab our t-shirt design template for use in Adobe Photoshop here.

Free Template Download

Sublimation shirt with logo

1. Place Your Logo(s) Inside or Outside the Sublimation Shirt

The easiest place to start is with your team logo. Typically, teams typically either prefer their logo big and centered on the front or near smaller on the right chest area. Adjust the logo size until it feels okay. You may want to adjust it later after adding in the background and other graphics. Next, go ahead and place any sponsorship logos on the uniform. 

Sidenote: Make sure you have a vector copy of all of your logos to give the designer, so they don’t come out pixelated. The designer should tell you if the quality is good enough if you only have a jpeg or png file.

Tee shirt in color scheme

2. Decide on Your Color Scheme 

The color scheme should include 2-3 colors max unless you are going for a more non-traditional look. I suggest using the main colors from your logo along with a neutral color such as white, black, or grey to give you more flexibility. Make sure you know the hex color code for your color scheme. See the picture above for where to find it after sampling the color. 

Tee Shirt with background

3. Create Your Background

At this point, it might be good to spend some time looking online at examples of jerseys from other teams in your sport. Common backgrounds include geometric shapes, diagonal or vertical lines, or some type of abstract vector stretched over the shirt. 

Again, unless you are going for a more non-traditional look, it’s good to keep the background simple and abstract. It’s easy to do too much with the background and end up with a chaotic and unpleasant design. 

If you aren’t sure how to make your background elements not overlap the boundaries of the uniform, check out this guide on how to create a clipping mask in photoshop.

Sublimated Tee shirt with graphics

4. Add Additional Graphics

If the sublimation shirt still seems too plain to you, consider adding some additional elements at the bottom of the uniform or around your main logo.

There are a variety of paid and free sites that offer vector images useful both for backgrounds and graphics. Below are a few of our favorite free options:

You can also purchase a single vector from many premium sites without paying for a subscription.

Sublimated shirt tee with background and number

5. Determine Your Name and Number Size and Font

Sublimation uniforms are not restricted to a single size for the names and numbers on the back. Similarly, any font can be used for both the names and the numbers. One consideration though is ensuring that it can be read at a distance easily for spectators off the field and teammates on it. 

6. Send PSD File to Factory for Print

The last step after you like the design is to send it off for print to an apparel company or a factory-like Sphere Sport. The designer will ensure all design elements are good enough quality for printing and will confirm with you the hex color codes. 

They will likely have to recreate the design onto a print file, so when they send it back to you, ensure that it still looks like your original design. You may need to readjust the size of the logos, names, numbers, etc. 

Alternative Method: Use Sphere Sports Designer for Sublimation Printing Design

If designing a sublimation uniform from scratch feels too overwhelming, feel free to use our in-house design team free of charge. Just give them your logo and color scheme and a general idea of what you’re looking for. 

They’ll come back with a few different concepts and you can keep tweaking it until you alight on the perfect design. From there, it will be easy to send it for production! 

To start an order using our in-house designer, contact us here

Daniel leads Sphere Sport’s special projects and support services from Seattle, Washington. He makes regular visits to Sphere Sport’s factory to integrate new features and technology. His passion for performance wear stems from his love of ultimate frisbee, baseball, and hiking. Questions for the Daniel? Connect with him below. 

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