Buying one of the best monitors for graphic design you can afford is a brilliant investment. Whether you’re a professional graphic designer, a student who’s just learning the ropes, or someone with a passion or interest in graphic design – this wtg guide will show you the very best monitors for graphic design.
How can you tell the difference between a good monitor for graphic design and a great one? It really all comes down to color accuracy well…mostly. This is how well your screen can accurately display the colors from images being shown, in other words, how accurately the monitor shows reds, blues and other colors in the world. This may not sound so important, but for professional creatives, it is crucial.
While color accuracy is crucial, there are other factors, such as account brightness and contrast levels. These give you the best possible perspective on black and white levels in an image.
As well as that, there are now various display form factors to choose from, with a range of sizes that support 4K (3,840 x 2,160) resolution. The introduction to the market of ultra-wide monitors will give you masses of space to work in and the thinnest possible bezels.
Either way, if graphic design is your forte and you’re striving for perfection, here’s our pick of the best monitors for graphic design.
Screen size: 27-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 1 x DVI-DL | USB: 2 x USB 3.0
The BenQ 27-inch SW2700PT display is a more affordable color-accurate monitor for graphic design than some of the 32-inch behemoths on the market. It requires less desktop space to boot, but without sacrificing a high standard of image quality – making it one of the best monitors for graphic design you can get right now. It features a 2,560 x 1,440 resolution using the same 14-bit look-up table and offering the same 99% AdobeRGB coverage you find on displays from other manufacturers that can cost more than twice as much. Similarly, you get hardware calibration support and it comes with a nifty shading hood to eliminate glare from ambient light. While it may not support 4K resolution, the image quality is still very good for graphic design. The SW2700PT is an excellent purchase if you want a professional display without the high prices of larger 4K screens.
Take a Look: BenQ SW2700PT
Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1x Mini-DisplayPort, 4 x HDMI | USB: 3 x USB 3.0
The 32-inch Asus PA329Q is a 4K monitor with a fairly hefty price tag: it’s considerably more than other displays of its size. However, you can see where this extra money goes when you first catch a glimpse of its sumptuous image, thanks to its full support for Rec.709, sRGB and AdobeRGB (99.5%) color spaces.
It features proper 10-bit color depth (as opposed to cheaper 8-bit monitors which use trick called frame reference counting to simulate 10-bit color depth) with a 14-bit color look-up table. Features-wise, it has a lot to offer as well, with a three-port USB 3 hub, four HDMI inputs, two DisplayPort inputs and full tilt, swivel and rotate capability. Best of all, it has a joystick to quickly navigate through the on-screen menus, vastly speeding up the time to flick through all the different preset color options or make changes to the display brightness, gamma or contrast.
Take a Look: ASUS ProArt PA329Q
Screen size: 31-inch | Resolution: 4096 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 2 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI | USB: 3 x USB 3.0
Eizo trades heavily on a reputation for being the ultimate professional display brand. When you first see the clarity, vivacity and brightness of an Eizo display, it’s immediately obvious why they’re so much more expensive than other monitors and cost far more than most of us spend on an entire PC. The latest version of Eizo’s flagship 31-inch professional monitor, the Eizo ColorEdge CG319X, builds upon its predecessor, using an unmatched 24-bit look-up table for 10-bit color depth, supporting 99% AdobeRGB, 100% Rec.709 and 98% DCI-P3 color spaces. It also supports a slightly wider 4K resolution of 4096 x 2160, conforming to the professional DCI 4K standard used by some professional studios.
It has a unique built-in hardware color calibration tool that pops down with a click every time the monitor is power cycled, ensuring the colors remain in sync without needing to use a third-party colorimeter. New to this generation are hybrid-log gamma and perceptual quantisation for working with HDR video – a feature that, again, will be of most interest to studios and freelancers working with high-end imagery.
Take a Look: Eizo ColorEdge CG319X
Screen size: 25-inch | Resolution: 2560 x 1440 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 2 x DisplayPort, 1x Mini-DP 1 x HDMI | USB: 2 x USB 3.0
If you’re looking for a great monitor for graphic design that fits a more reasonable budget, Dell’s UltraSharp range delivers a great image. This 25-inch UltraSharp U2518D squeezes in under the $300 mark, and although it doesn’t offer the same absolute premium color reproduction of the priciest displays we’ve suggested, it’s still capable of full sRGB coverage with a quality IPS panel that is accurate to a delta E of less than three.
Contrast levels of 1000:1 are some of the best in this price range, with 350 nits of brightness to product a crystal clear image. The response time can go as low as 5ms, making it great for gaming on too – the U2518D makes a good all rounder display whatever you’re using your computer for. This is the best budget graphic design monitor you can get.
Take a Look: Dell UltraSharp U2518D
Screen size: 37.5-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 1600 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI | USB: 3 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB-C
The ultra-wide form factor is usually found in displays aimed at gaming or general computer use, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see ViewSonic has stepped in to offer graphic artists a massive 37.5-inch 21:9 display with the VP3881. Ultra-wide displays such as this are like having two smaller monitors together on the desk, without a bezel breaking up the desktop space. It gives you space to have multiple windows open at once, boosting productivity immensely as you can have webpages, file explorers, and multiple editing applications on-screen simultaneously.
The image quality isn’t quite in the same league as other displays listed here – it offers 100% sRGB coverage but a slightly narrower AdobeRGB conformity, and the 10-bit color depth is compensated by frame reference counting. But it has a very complete set of image customisation settings in the on-screen menus that’s enough to make the VP3881 a cut above other ultra-wide screens.
Take a Look: Viewsonic VP3881
Screen size: 32-inch | Resolution: 3840 x 2160 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Panel technology: IPS | Inputs: 1 x DisplayPort, 2 x HDMI, 1x D-Sub | USB: 2 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB-C
Acer’s 32-inch color-accurate 4K display, the ProDesigner PE320QK, is aimed squarely at people who care about professional-grade graphic design work. It comes with an anti-glare hood to eliminate ambient light that may affect on-screen color accuracy. And rated at 550 nits brightness, it supports 10-bit color, covering 100% Rec.709 and 90% DCI-P3 color spaces.
Unlike the other graphic design monitors here, there are a few extra features that may appeal to gaming users as well, such as a 4ms response time, a few gaming presets in the menus and support for FreeSync adaptive-sync technology (which only works with AMD graphics cards, unfortunately.) If you’re a gamer and a graphic designer, those extra features should be enough to persuade you that the PE320QK is the only display you’ll ever need.
Take a Look: Acer ProDesigner PE320QK