More than anything else, a graphic designer needs a great monitor. Why? Well, it’s very simple; the monitor is where the designer gets to look at their work. The better the quality of the monitor is, the better the end product would be. A great quality monitor will be able recreate colors, able to display minute details and also look stylish while doing all that.
With an incredible diverse and confusing range of products out there, it is not an easy task when you’re looking to buy a monitor for art and graphic design. With the prices that the higher end models are charging, getting a product that does not suit your need or not worth its price is a terrible experience.
But you don’t need to worry, for we have compiled a thorough guide about how to choose a monitor for design work. And if just knowing the factors to look out for is not going to solve your dilemma of choice, then we also have compiled the list of the best monitors for graphic design in 2019
Since most of the specs that a graphic designer should be looking for in a monitor are very specific and niche, most run of the mill monitors will not be suitable for your needs. Consequently, most of these products are not going to be found in your local Micro Centre or BestBuy. With the price and specifications of the monitors on our list, most of them can easily be classified as professional quality monitor sets which sets them apart from the products more ubiquitously available.
Buying Guide for Monitors for Graphic Design
With that, let’s get into what separate great monitors from just good monitors. Make sure that you always keep these factors in mind when you’re shopping for a professional quality monitor, a necessity for graphic design work.
The first important factor which determines which monitors are the best, is the screen size. For graphic designing, you need at minimum a 27” screen. A 32” monitor will generally be slightly costlier than most mid-range 27” monitors. It however, also provides a much better aspect ratio which is the proper cinematic aspect ratio, making it the ideal choice if you’re working with video editing or composition. The need for a 32” monitor obviously is not as pressing if you’re not working with video related projects and most 27” models should suffice. Anything more than 32” is usually going to be superfluous since those extra inches aren’t going to provide anything meaningful while still being costlier.
Arguably one of the most, if not outright the most, important factor to be taken into consideration is the resolution of the monitor that you’re going to buy. For graphic design work, everything below 1920 x 1080 native resolution is straight away out of the running. You need to have a monitor which has a Full HD resolution in the line of work of design. Anything less than Full HD will severely impact and hamper your ability to create quality work. Above the standard Full HD display, you have more options like Quad HD and 4K displays. With 2560 x 1440 and 3840 x 2160 resolution respectively, Quad HD and 4K monitors are what you should be ideally looking for in a monitor.
Though 5K, 8K and even 10K resolution displays are available in the market, they’re generally not the best choice. 5K display only offers a marginal improvement over 4K displays with only in its width. 8K and 10K displays offer an incredible improvement in the resolution and number of pixels but at the cost of exorbitant cost. Also not all video cards can even support 8K or 10K monitors. One would need the best, top of the line GPU models from either Nvdia or AMD to even run it properly at 60 Hz.
Usually LCD monitors are put together in two ways; with TN panelling or IPS panelling. IPS (In-plane Switching) panel technology is a newer way of panelling for LCD monitors. It offers a consistent viewing experience especially from a wider viewing angle. IPS monitors also offer better brightness and last longer because they carry LED backlights instead of LCD or incandescent lights. The liquid crystals in the monitor move in a shifting pattern in that gives its name to the IPS panelling. This patterned shifting leads to an accurate color reproduction.
For graphic design work, any monitor which isn’t an IPS panelled monitor is out of contention for us, for e.g TN (Twisted Nematic) panelled monitors.
While some might recommend a gaming monitor we would suggest highly against them. Most, if not all, gaming monitors are TN panelled. TN panelled monitors offer a much higher refresh rate than IPS panels and very short response times. The TN monitor, however, sacrifices color accuracy and viewing angles for this speed. As graphic designers, you won’t really need anything above a 60 Hz refresh rate since the other will be waster and response time of the monitor, similarly, doesn’t matter that much either. TN monitors also have a limited range of view as well to make matters worse.
So, on the ending note, always go for IPS monitors when it comes to the best monitors for graphic design.
You want to look for a monitor which can reproduce a lot of colors, since that will lead to a smoother color scale. While 8-bit panel is very common and is present in a lot of monitors, it is vastly inferior to 10-bit panel monitors, which can reproduce more than a billion different colors. HDR monitors are also a good option since their color range is also impressive, but 10-bit is the minimum that you should keep your eye out for.
Another thing to keep your eye out for is contrast ratio. An HDR model will usually have a great contrast ratio because of its dynamic range but as a general rule of thumb, 1:1000 contrast ratio is a good benchmark to aim for. Brightness is also a factor but as long as the monitor is around the range of 250 cd/m2 – 350 cd/m2 it should suffice for most of your needs.
The two most common color spaces, the specific range of colors that can be reproduced in a single image, are sRGB and Adobe RGB. Most monitors will allow you to choose between the both of them. For design work, you’ll usually be working with Adobe RGB due it providing a much wider range of colors than sRGB. Even though the difference between colors is bigger, Adobe RGB is still the superior choice for graphic design work. Therefore, the best monitors for graphic design will have a higher Adobe RGB rate than its sRGB rate. There are a few other color spaces like DCI-P3, but they’re intended for purposes other than design work, like digital movie work in the case of DCI-P3.
While the color space lets you know about the range of colors covered by a monitor, the accuracy of those colors is captured by the ‘Delta-e’ or dE. This value is basically the difference between two colors. This will help you in determining how much difference your finished project will be from the print. You should look for a monitor which is calibrated to have a dE of 3 or lower. Be vary of any monitor which claims to have a dE of 1 or lower. Even if your monitor has a high dE value, you can always offset that with digital calibration software and hardware calibration devices like colorimeters. This calibration is very subjective and will highly depend on how you want the respective colors to fit.
Any good monitor will have multiple ports to connect it to the desktop. A good monitor should have, at the minimum, DVI ports, HDMI ports, and Display 1.2 ports. While DVI are the standard currently, HDMI ports are increasingly becoming more common and more important than its counterparts. If you want to link multiple monitors together to make one large seamless screen then you should definitely look for a model that comes with a Thunderbolt 2.0 or 3.0 or a DisplayPort 1.2, to make that process much easier for yourself. A monitor with USB connections will also be great to directly connect with flash drives or such. A card reader slot is also a bonus that one can look out for.
For graphic design work, a monitor which is flexible is almost an essential requirement, at least if you don’t want to bust your neck from strain. The best monitors for graphic design all are able to be tilt and have their height adjusted to reduce neck strain for design professionals working on them. Some monitors also have vertical swivel to let you switch them from portrait to landscape orientation.
Finally, the price is the last factor on our list that one needs to see for. High end professional 4K monitors can cost easily upwards of $3000 while a 27” inch Full HD monitor will come it at the fraction of the price at just $800-$1200. If you have already selected the monitor you want, you can be patient and wait for a good deal to buy it up. But generally speaking, the price and quality graph for professional design monitors would be in the general shape of a reverse bell curve. Monitors cheaper than $500 might not be the best choice while any monitor above $5000 will only offer marginal improvement compared to those which cost around $4000. Obviously exceptions to this are abound, as you will see in our list itself.
With that, we come to the end of the factors that help determine which monitors are the best monitors for graphic design.
Best Monitors for Graphic Design
Based on these factors, we have compiled a list of the best monitors for graphic design in 2019. The list is in no particular order and so with that let’s start:
#1 EIZO CG277-BK ColorEdge:
- Wide-Gamut LED IPS display with built in color calibration sensor for professional photography, design, print and post production.
- 27", 2560x1440 (16:9), 300 cd/m2 Brightness, 1000:1 Contrast Ratio, 99% Adobe RGB Coverage, 6 ms Response Time, DVI-D, DisplayPort, HDMI
- Five-year warranty and built to last and remain color accurate.
Eizo is one of the most, well respected and reputed manufacturers for monitors intended for graphic designers and design professionals. The CG277 is another great product from the reputed manufacturer. The 27” monitor comes with 2560 x 1440 resolution and has 16:9 aspect ratio. It also has a 1000:1 contrast ratio and 300 cd/m2 brightness output.
As for its color gamut and accuracy, it has 99% Adobe RGB Coverage. It has a respectably low response time of 6 ms and the refresh rate is 60 hz. The monitor is a 10-bit display system and has self-calibrating hardware.
The monitor itself comes a DVI-Dual port, a DisplayPort and HDMI port for multiple connection options. The CG277 also comes with a 5 year warranty to ensure your peace of mind after investing in to this product. There is also a 24/7 tech support desk in North America.
The monitor also comes with a screen hood which reduces all glare and screen reflection for a great working experience. The monitor can also be twisted around 90 degree from landscape to portrait orientation. The mount itself is VESA compatible.
- Quad HD resolution
- 1000:1 contrast ratio and 300 cd/m2 brightness output
- 99% Adobe RGB Coverage and 10-bit display system
- 5 year warranty
- No thunderbolt port
- No dE value given
The Eizo CG277 is a great monitor for graphic design professionals and should be in top of the list for everyone who’s looking for the best monitor for graphic design. With its 5 year warranty, it even offers longevity in a time where a lot of tech manufacturers intentionally make their products obsolete.
#2 Dell Ultrasharp UP3216Q:
- Accurate, consistent color: With PremierColor, your monitor provides superb color precision with four color spaces, including 99.5% Adobe RGB, 100%...
- Phenomenal viewing experience: Enjoy every little detail with 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD 4K resolution. That's four times the resolution of Full HD.
- Unmatched reliability: Get complete peace of mind with Dell's Premium Panel Guarantee and Advanced Exchange Service.
The Dell Ultrasharp monitor is one of the most color accurate monitors in the market currently, which makes it a great choice for graphic designers. It comes with PremierColor which provides 99.5% Adobe RGN coverage, 100% sRGB coverage, 100% REC709 and 87% DCI-P3 coverage. This incredible gamut of colors makes the Ultrasharp one of the best monitors for graphic design.
This IPS panelled monitor has a resolution of 3840 x 2160 or more commonly called Ultra HD for crystal clear details and a phenomenal viewing experience. The monitor itself is 31.5” and has a dE value of less than 2, ensuring that the wide gamut of colors that you are viewing are as accurate as possible even before any calibration. The Ultrasharp additionally has a color depth of 1.07 billion colors. But in case you are not happy with the color calibration you can always use the LUT hardware that the monitor comes with. The aspect ratio of the monitor is the standard 16:9 widescreen ratio. The refresh rate is the standard 60 Hz and the response time is 6ms. While it has a 1000:1 typical contrast ratio it can go up to 2,000,000:1 in its dynamic range. The brightness of the UP3216Q is 300 cd/m2.
The Ultrasharp also has a 178/178 degree viewing angle making sure that you don’t need to be straining your neck. Furthermore, the monitor can be tilted, swiveled, and have its height be easily adjusted for an easier viewing experience.
As for connectivity, the UP3216Q boasts a 6 in 1 media card reader, HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2, DisplayPort, a mini DisplayPort, and 4 USB ports to ensure that there is no compromise in your picture quality.
- 3840 x 2160 resolution
- 31.5” screen size
- dE value of less than 2
- Incredible colour space coverage across four different spaces
- Excellent connectivity
- No warranty
The Ultrasharp UP3216Q is one of the best if not the best monitor for graphic design just on the basis of its amazing color range and accuracy. All the additional features are a good bonus on top of this amazing piece of equipment. One solid choice for anyone who is looking for a monitor for professional design work.
#3 Phillips BDM4350UC Brilliance:
- Philips 43" class (42.51" viewable) LED monitor with 4K UHD 3840x2160 resolution
- IPS panel for wide-viewing angles and full colors, displaying over 1 billion colors for real-life color accuracy
- 50,000,000:1 SmartContrast ratio for deep black level details
This 43” monitor from Phillips is another great monitor for those who are working in design. With 3840 x 2160, 4K resolution, the Phillips BDM4350UC comes with DisplayHDR 1000, which delivers an immersive viewing experience with better contrast, brightness and hue due to its dynamic range.
The monitor is built on 10-bit IPS panels with an incredibly low response time of 4ms. The monitor boasts of a 1200:1 (50,000,000:1 dynamic) contrast ratio. It also comes with 99% sRGB coverage and Phillips’ Quantum Dot Color technology which gives more vibrant colors. The aspect ratio is the standard 16:9. And the refresh rate is 60 Hz on the Brilliance as well. However, there is no details about the AdobeRGB coverage from the manufacturers though independent tester have established that it is around 80% AdobeRGB coverage in their tests.
The Brilliance also comes with AdaptiveSync (FreeSync) which reduces tearing and blurring at the edges of the screen during gaming. So while an impressive feature, it is not something we are supremely concerned with. However, the Multiview technology is something that would benefit graphic designers a lot. Multiview technology lets you connect multiple input devices so that you can work with multiple devices at the same time.
As for connectivity, it features one port of HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-D, VGA each and two USB 3.0 ports. The monitor is VESA compatible. As for the flexibility of the monitor itself, unfortunately it can only be tilted 15 degrees, so it is not as adjustable as some others on our list.
- 4K resolution
- HDR monitor for better viewing experience
- 99% sRGB coverage
- Quantum Dot Technology and Multiview Technology
- Lower AdobeRGB coverage than a few other monitors
- Monitor cannot be adjusted a lot
- Marketed towards gaming
In the end, the Phillips BDM4350UC is a monitor that tries to take the best out of professional monitors and gaming monitors and achieves something in the middle of both. It is the perfect choice for those design professionals who love to game and can see themselves playing on this monitor. Even if you’re not a gamer, the features that the Brilliance offers at its price point makes it a solid choice just for pure professional design work as well.
#4 Asus ProArt PA329Q:
- 32-Inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) resolution display with DisplayPort 1. 2, Mini-DisplayPort 1. 2 and 4x HDMI 2. 0 inputs; Color Temperature Selection : 4...
- 100% rec. 709 & 99. 5% Adobe RGB true Color reproduction, factory pre-calibrated for outstanding color accuracy (Delta). supports dic-p3 and Rec. 2020...
- ASUS ProArt calibration technology with 14-bit look-up table (LUT) and uniformity Compensation capability. Digital signal Frequency: 30 to 135khz(h)/...
This monitor from Asus is a 4K monitor which is 32” in size. It is an amazing quality monitor with 99.5% coverage for AdobeRGB colour space and 100% coverage for Rec. 709. On top of that, the ProArt also supports DCI-P3 and Rec. 2020 colour spaces well. It had 350cd/m2 peak brightness and an anti-glare screen shield.
The ProArt is specifically made with design professionals in mind. The monitor is outfitted with 10-bit panels assembled with IPS technology. The monitor also supports a 14-bit LUT and is compatible with uniform color compensation.
The monitor is also compatible with hardware color calibrators and lets you save color parameter settings into profiles directly into the monitor, which are then easily accessible by hotkeys later on. This makes it ideal for designers who are working with different color settings frequently.
The monitor is outfitted with Asus Eye care technology which makes it much easier on the eyes and reduces eye fatigue massively. It has massive connectivity options with DisplayPort 1.2, MHL 3.0, USB 3.0 and HDMI ports and also compatible with MAC.
To top it all off, the ProArt is amazingly adjustable with ergonomics in mind. You can tilt, swivel, adjust the height, mount on a wall or pivot it for your ideal comfortable viewing position.
- Wide colour gamut and wide range of supported colour spaces
- Easy on eyes and causes less eye fatigue
- Filters out blue light
- Compatible with a wide range of colour calibrators
- 14-bit LUT compatibility
- Easy access to various colours profiles
- Ergonomic design
- sRGB and AdobeRGB coverage is dependent on the specific model
The Asus ProArt is truly a monitor made with design professionals in mind with its exhaustive list of features which lets the ProArt be one of the best monitors for graphic design. With it trying to reduce eye fatigue and easy access to a wide variety of color profiles and colors spaces, it is meant for the consummate design professional.
With that we come to the end of our list for the best monitors for graphic design in 2019. As one can see the list is short, but we felt like instead of trying to fill the list with inferior choices or products that may no longer be available that we should focus on making a comprehensive list of the best items on the market for graphic designers. Even if you do not agree with our list, we hope that our selection method and the criteria based on which we choose our monitors will help you in choosing an appropriate monitor for your design based needs.