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The 8 Best Monitors for Graphic Design

The 8 Best Monitors for Graphic Design

Welcome, fellow graphic designers! If you're anything like me, you spend hours at your computer working on the next hot design project. Having the right monitor can make all the difference in effectively and comfortably bringing our creative visions to life digitally. I used to use some old hand-me-down monitor from my dad's office, but it was a game changer once I invested in a display optimised for design work!

In this comprehensive guide, I'll walk you through everything you need to know to find the best monitors for graphic design for every budget. We'll explore key specs to look for, break down top models on the market today in various price ranges, and tackle frequently asked questions. It's time to transform that digital canvas and take your graphic design skills to the next level!

Why a Specialised Graphic Design Monitor Matters

Dell Up3218K Monitor Hero1

Before making specific product recommendations, let's discuss why a specialised graphic design monitor can be a smart purchase. As artists, the quality of our tools matters when producing our best creative work. The proper display can help us:

  • Achieve better colour accuracy – Crucial for design work!
  • Enhance workflow efficiency
  • Reduce eye strain from long hours staring at a screen
  • Expand available screen real estate for standard programs
  • Improve overall final design quality

Upgrading from a generic cheap monitor to one purpose-built for graphic design makes a huge difference you can see right away. Colours will be more vibrant and true-to-life, little details will be more straightforward to spot, and having ample screen space will speed up your process. Although more professional displays often come with a higher price tag, they're well worth the investment over the long run.

Key Specs to Look For

Shopping for a new graphic design monitor can quickly get overwhelming, with many models and technical jargon floating around. Let's break down the key specifications and features that you should keep top of mind while searching:

Display Resolution

This determines the overall pixel density and dimensions of the monitor's display. For graphic design, look for:

  • 4K or Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels) – Offers incredibly sharp image quality perfect for spotting small design details. This high pixel density also enables more screen real estate.
  • 5K or 5120 x 2880 pixels – An emerging resolution that's even crisper than 4K, allowing more space for toolbars and menus without compromising your canvas size. Helpful for large, intricate, creative projects.
  • Widescreen, 16:9 aspect ratio – Compared to traditional displays, the extra width provides more horizontal room for multitasking. It helps use multiple applications and compare designs side-by-side.
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Panel Type

This determines how the monitor produces the images you see on the screen through the technology behind the LCD panel. Options include:

  • IPS (in-plane switching) – Considered the best all-around panel type for graphic design with solid colour accuracy, viewing angles, and fast response time. Provides a consistent, high-quality display from all positions.
  • VA (vertical alignment) – Offers enhanced contrast compared to IPS, but colours can shift at wider viewing angles. Response times are also slower, which can cause lag/ghosting.
  • TN (twisted nematic) – Fastest response times, but colour accuracy and viewing angles suffer dramatically. Not ideal for colour-sensitive work.

I'd stick with a high-quality IPS panel monitor for flawless colour replication from all vantage points. The accurate, consistent display will showcase the details of your projects precisely as intended.

Colour Gamut Coverage

This indicates what percentage of standard colour spaces the monitor can reproduce. For vibrant, accurate colours ideal for design work, look for:

  • 95-100% sRGB coverage – This smaller colour space includes most standard web/digital colours, which is vital for web graphic design.
  • 90%+ Adobe RGB coverage – This wider gamut contains more CMYK print colours, which is crucial for print projects.
  • Look for specific DCI-P3 percentages, too – This cinema colour space is increasingly important for digital content creation.

With comprehensive colour gamut coverage across standard spaces, your designs will transfer reliably between digital and print while vibrantly maintaining your intended colouring.

Colour Accuracy

Beyond just colour gamut coverage, displays also differ in absolute colour accuracy. These specs help quantify how exact and realistic colours appear:

  • A low deltaE value (ideally below 2) measures colour deviations. The lower the number, the more accurate the colours according to industry benchmarks.
  • Factory calibration – Opt for a monitor calibrated out of the box for optimal initial colour accuracy immediately with no extra steps required.

Plus, you'll want to invest in your calibration tool, like the Datacolor SpyderX Pro, to tweak settings periodically and maintain excellent colour precision over time, as monitor performance can drift.

Brightness & Contrast Ratio

These determine how bright the display gets (measured in cd/m2 nits) and the comparative luminance range between the brightest whites and darkest blacks:

  • 350-500 nits brightness – Excellent for viewing intricate designs without eye strain or squinting.
  • 1000:1 contrast ratio – Provides noticeable differentiation across subtle hue and value shifts crucial for colour-critical work.

Rich contrast showcases the full dynamic range of your creations, from faint highlights to deep shadows. And ample brightness keeps everything visible without washout or glare.

Connectivity

Look for a monitor equipped with modern ports/inputs to integrate with your computer setup seamlessly:

  • USB-C with 90W+ charging – Allows single-cable connectivity and device charging. Super convenient!
  • HDMI 2.0 – Supports 4K video to leverage the monitor's high resolution.
  • DisplayPort 1.2 – Enables the fastest refresh rates for smooth motion.
  • USB 3.0 Hub – Offers handy extra high-speed ports for accessories.
  • SD card reader – Makes accessing files from camera memory cards easy.

Prioritise a monitor with USB-C for fuss-free 4K display connectivity and charging combined into one cable. Then, you have the flexibility to add on other ports as needed.

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Ergonomic Design

Since you'll likely spend marathon sessions working on your latest hot designs, optimal ergonomics are crucial for avoiding physical fatigue, strain, and discomfort over time. Consider these design factors:

  • Fully adjustable stand – Allows modifying monitor height, tilt, swivel, and rotation to dial in perfect viewing position.
  • VESA mounting enables the monitor to be attached to the ergonomic arm for further adjustments.
  • Flicker-free, low blue light modes – Helps reduce eye fatigue during long sessions.

The ability to fully adjust screen positioning goes a long way towards achieving a comfortable work setup. And eye health features will keep you feeling fresh designing for hours!

Best Graphic Design Monitors

What Is An Ultrawide Monitor

Now that we've covered the key specs and features that make a monitor well-suited for graphic design let's explore some current top options across various price points:

Best 4K Monitors for Graphic Design Under $1000

For an affordable 4K display with strong overall performance for graphic design, check out these great options, all coming in under $1000:

BenQ PD3220U – $999

  • 4K IPS panel
  • 100% sRGB and Rec. 709 coverage
  • Factory-calibrated with great out-of-box colour accuracy
  • Ergonomic stand with height/tilt/swivel adjustments
  • EyeCare technology to reduce fatigue
BenQ PD3220U Thunderbolt 3 Monitor for Macbook 32″ 4K UHD | 100% Rec.709 & sRGB, 95% P3 | IPS | DeltaE ≀3 | Pantone | AQCOLOR | Calibration Report | Ergonomic | USB-C (85W) | USB Hub | Daisy Chain
  • Made for Designers: 32″ 4K monitor features Pantone Validated and Calman verified color accurate technology. Experience 95% P3 and 100% sRGB color coverage with Delta E ≀ 3. Built with M-Book mode which features Mac compatible color matching.
  • ICC Sync Compatible with Display P3: The ICC Sync simplifies the color mapping process and can be completed in 1 second through the BenQ Display Pilot software.
  • Daisy-Chain Technology: Free up your desk space and say goodbye to clutter thanks to the daisy chain connectivity capabilities! Seamlessly connect your computer/laptop to create a multi-monitor setup.
  • Thunderbolt 3: Synchronizes images, videos, data and charge all of your Mac devices with an all-in-one cable!

LG 32UN880-B – $650

  • 32-inch 4K display with USB-C 90W charging
  • VESA DisplayHDR 400
  • 99% sRGB gamut coverage
  • Height/tilt/pivot adjustable stand
  • Virtually borderless design
LG 32UN880-B 32 Inch UltraFine Display Ergo 4K HDR10 Monitor Bundle with 1 YR CPS Enhanced Protection Pack and Elite Suite 18 Standard Editing Software Bundle
  • LG 32 Inch UltraFine Display Ergo 4K HDR10 Monitor
  • Ergonomic Stand with C-Clamp
  • IN THE BOX: HDMI Cable – USB Type-C Cable – Power Cable
  • BUNDLE INCLUDES: LG 32 Inch UltraFine Display Ergo 4K HDR10 Monitor – Tech Smart USA Elite Suite 18 Standard Editing Software Bundle
  • 1 Year Extended Protection Plan in ADDITION to the Included FULL Manufacturer Protection

Dell UltraSharp U2720Q – $719

  • 27-inch 4K IPS panel
  • 95% DCI-P3 wide colour gamut
  • Excellent color accuracy with deltaE < 2
  • Fully ergonomic stand with VESA mount
  • Ideal 16:9 aspect ratio
Sale
Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS USB-C Monitor (7GZ651)
  • Create an efficient workspace with the Dell UltraSharp U2720Q 27 inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) LED Backlit LCD IPS USB-C Monitor (7GZ651)
  • Sleek design – 27 inch diagonal 4K UHD IPS screen with vibrant 3840 x 2160 resolution and thin profile that supports virtually seamless multi-display setups
  • Exceptional visuals – see consistent, vibrant colors across a wide viewing angle enabled by In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology
  • Experience simple, convenient connectivity – work with your most frequently-used devices with DisplayPort, HDMI, USB ports, and Audio Line out
  • Display Features: Tilt, Swivel, Pivot, Vesa Mount Compatible, Anti-glare, USB Hub, LED Backlights, In Plane Switching, Security Lock Slot, Energy Star Certified, 99% sRGB color gamut

This category hits the sweet spot, delivering stellar 4K resolution, accurate colour reproduction, and essential ergonomic adjustments at under $800. It is highly recommended for most designers seeking an affordably-priced upgrade!

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Best Premium 4K+ Graphic Design Monitors

Do you have extra room in your budget for a top-tier professional display? These high-end monitors pull out all the stops when it comes to cutting-edge specialisation for graphic design:

Dell UltraSharp UP3221Q – $3,664

  • 31.5-inch 4K+ monitor perfect for spacious high-res graphic design work
  • Next-level colour accuracy with built-in CalMAN calibration and 99% Adobe RGB coverage
  • IPS Black panel technology for inky rich blacks
  • Height, tilt, swivel and pivot adjustments plus VESA mount
  • Integrated colorimeter, KVM switch, and USB-C connectivity
Dell UltraSharp UP3221Q 31.5″ LCD Monitor
  • Number of Screens: 1
  • Screen Size Class: 32″
  • Viewable Screen Size: 31.5″
  • Features: High Dynamic Range (HDR)

Asus ProArt PA32UCG – $2,800

  • 32-inch professional 4K 120Hz monitor
  • VESA DisplayHDR 1000 with peak brightness up to 1200 nits
  • Quantum dot IPS panel for cinematic DCI-P3 gamut
  • 99.5% Adobe RGB coverage and factory-calibrated super colour accuracy
  • Ergonomic stand with quick-fit cam system for aligned multi-display setups
Sale
ASUS ProArt Display 32” 4K HDR Computer Monitor (PA32UCG-K) – UHD (3840 x 2160), Mini-LED IPS, 1600nits, 120Hz, 10-bit, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI2.1, w/Calibrator, Compatible With Laptop & Mac Monitor,Black
  • 32-inch Mini LED Backlight with 1,152 zones local dimming providing 1600 nits peak brightness & 1000 nits full screen sustained brightness
  • Support multiple HDR formats (Dolby Vision, HDR-10, HLG) presents lifelike experience and flexibility
  • 48~120 Hz Variable-refresh-rate (VRR) with FreeSync2 HDR for game developer
  • True 10 bit color with Quantum-dot technology provides DCI-P3, Rec. 2020, Adobe RGB and sRGB for exceptional color fidelity
  • World-leading βˆ†E < 1 color performance and ASUS ProArt Hardware Calibration Technology for color-accuracy optimization, uniformity and color profile write-back

Ready to truly invest in your creative setup for the long haul? Either of these best-in-class monitors will provide unmatched quality and convenience to maximise your productivity as a graphic designer.

Best Budget Graphic Design Monitors Under $350

If you're just starting with graphic design or working with a limited budget, you can still find solid-performing displays without emptying your wallet. Here are the top economic picks:

ASUS VA24EHE – $109

  • 23.8-inch 1080p IPS display
  • 72% NTSC color gamut coverage
  • Built-in flicker-free tech and blue light filter
  • Affordable entry-level option
Sale
ASUS VA24EHE 23.8” Monitor 75Hz Full HD (1920×1080) IPS Eye Care HDMI D-Sub DVI-D,Black
  • 23.8 inches Full HD (1920×1080) IPS monitor with 75Hz refresh rate and 5ms (GTG) response time Features adaptive Sync to eliminate screen tearing and choppy frame rates
  • Frame less design gives an almost-seamless multi-display setup view and 178 degree wide viewing angle panel paired with an ergonomic tilt provides great immersion and better viewing
  • Asus Eye Care technology features flicker-free and blue light filter technologies to minimize eye fatigue
  • Connectivity featuring HDMI, D-Sub, and DVI-D ports as well as VESA mount
  • Exclusive Asus game plus crosshair and timer for a better gaming experience

Acer SB220Q – $99

  • 21.5-inch slim bezel 1080p IPS display
  • 75Hz refresh rate with AMD FreeSync
  • Tilt and VESA mount capable
  • Super budget-friendly price point
Sale
Acer SB220Q 21.5inch Widescreen Monitor Display Full HD (1920 x 1080) 75Hz 4 ms GTG (Renewed)
  • This Certified Refurbished product is Certified Factory refurbished, shows limited or no wear, and includes all original accessories plus a 90-day warranty.
  • A Full HD (1920 x 1080) display keeps you captivated for your viewing pleasure.
  • 4 ms GTG response time.
  • 75 Hz refresh rate.

Sceptre E275W-QPT168 – $99

  • 27-inch QHD 1440p display
  • 90% sRGB coverage
  • AMD FreeSync support
  • Blue light shift and anti-flicker
Sceptre E275W-19203R 27 inch1080P LED Monitor 99% sRGB 2X HDMI VGA Build-In Speakers, Machine Black (E275W-19203R series)
  • 27″ LED Monitor 1920 x 1080 Full HD Resolution Up to 75Hz Refresh Rate Adaptive Sync Supported VESA Wall-Mountable HDMI x 2, VGA x 1
  • 75Hz Refresh Rate: With 75Hz refresh rate, images change faster and smoother than the standard, reducing screen tearing
  • Ports: One VGA and two HDMI ports each accelerate refresh rate up to 75Hz, providing the visual edge you need to defeat any opponent during all of your gaming adventures.
  • Built-in Speakers: With built-in speakers, the monitor delivers office level audio for conference calls and internet workshops. Similarly, enjoy engaging audio while listening to your favorite tunes.
  • Blue Light Shift: Reduce your monitors blue light to protect you from eye fatigue, irritation and strains. This enables you to work on your documents, watch movies, or play games more comfortably for extended periods.

While you'll have to accept some sacrifices in colour gamut coverage and features compared to more advanced monitors, these wallet-friendly alternatives still deliver the sharp visuals and accurate colours needed for most basic graphic design work.

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They also make extra side displays to supplement a primary professional monitor without overloading your workstation budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still evaluating options for upgrading your graphic design monitor setup? Here, I'll tackle some frequently asked questions to help narrow down the ideal display for your creative needs and budget:

What size monitor is best for graphic design?

For the primary monitor, focus on 27 to 32-inches. This provides enough generous screen real estate for standard programs and tools while keeping objects large enough for comfortable detailed work without excessive zooming and panning. It can supplement with smaller side displays.
Many designers opt for dual 27-inch monitors or a single expansive 32-inch display. However, workspace size, portability needs, and personal preference all come into play.

Is 4K necessary for graphic design?

4K resolution is highly recommended but optional. The ultra-high pixel density allows for fitting more content on the screen at once. This enhanced workspace efficiency speeds up workflow.
But a QHD 2560 x 1440 display still delivers ample resolution for most tasks. Greater affordability makes 1440p monitors a sensible compromise for budget-focused buyers.

Is a curved or flat display better?

Stick with a flat rather than curved monitor for graphic design. The curved shape feels more immersive for gaming and entertainment. However, it can distort lines/shapes viewed at wide angles, which is problematic for creative precision.
Flat displays better maintain consistency and accuracy across the entire field of view, which is essential for colour-sensitive design projects.

Can I use my graphic design monitor for gaming, too?

Many monitors offering specs ideal for graphic design also work excellently for gaming! Priorities like refresh rate, response time, and adaptive sync support directly crossover between categories.
Models listed, like the Asus ProArt PA32UCG, even advertise gaming-friendly capabilities. Taking advantage of your high-performance monitor for both design work and gaming during off hours is feasible.

Should I get one high-end monitor or multiple cheaper displays?

The best setup often combines a flagship central monitor flanked by affordable secondary displays. This allows you to focus most of your budget on one cutting-edge, specialised central monitor ideal for mission-critical colour correction work.
Then, supplementary cheaper displays provide peripheral real estate for palettes/tools or display reference material. Mix and match based on your own workflow needs and budget flexibility.

Transform Your Creative Workstation

As a graphic designer, upgrading to a professional monitor purpose-built for visual creative work rather than whatever old screen I had was an absolute game-changer! I can now see minor details, my colours are more vibrant and accurate than ever, and my workflow feels faster and more seamless.

Carefully selecting a monitor based on resolution, panel technology, colour performance, ergonomic adjustments, and connectivity considerations explicitly tailored to enhance graphic design opens up new creative possibilities. Excellent monitors are available to suit diverse needs, whether you prioritise colour accuracy, screen dimensions, feature sets, or budget limitations.

This comprehensive monitor breakdown gave you some fresh insight into shopping for the ideal display to show your graphic design skills a significant boost. Let me know if you have any other questions during your buying journey. I'm always happy to offer advice or monitor recommendations. Best of luck with your design projects – now armed with a more capable display, you're sure to take your creative talents to the next level!

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Last update on 2024-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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