Most, if not all, enthusiasts of graphic design and animation have experienced issues with computer monitors. Whether it’s issues relating to brightness, contrast and colour; or the realisation that what you create on screen looks very different to what you print or publish – we’ve all been there.
We’re currently in an age where technology is advancing faster than ever, and computer monitors are no different. Access to better tech gets cheaper every year, and a great example of that lies in this review. Many of the monitors on this list outperform those used in design and animation for blockbuster films created five years ago.
We’ve put together this list of the ten best monitors for graphic design, to help you find the perfect colours, display size and functionality to help improve your work, and remove as many hiccups as possible in the process. We’ve gone in-depth with each review, listing all relevant specs and information you might need, as well as including a handy buyer’s guide at the end of the article to help you understand some of the more confusing tech used in the latest models of computer monitors.
Whether you’ve got a six-screen desktop setup, or are looking for a new monitor to plug your laptop into, we’ve got options for you. Now, let’s take a closer look at our contenders.
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The wide-gamut IPS LED display (with accurate colour calibration, and a bundled calibration sensor) displays an astounding 99% Adobe RGB Coverage, 1000:1 contrast ratio, and a somewhat lacking but still great 10ms response time.
This EIZO monitor is going to produce some of the most accurate colour you’ve ever seen (or haven’t seen, because most monitors can’t produce the same colours), and is going to leave you with no colour or accuracy woes for the rest of your days.
With a fantastic 10-bit IPS panel displaying over 1 Billion colours with wide viewing angles; covering 87% of Adobe RGB and 90% of NTSC Colour gamut over a 4K display, this monitor hits consistently high in all required fields for graphic design while maintaining a reasonable price point.
Apart from this, the great I/O options, built-in USB-C docking station, MultiClient Integrated KVM and smart swivelling base make it an obvious choice for workflow and ease-of-access.
Dell is known for making some great quality computer monitors, and this one is no different. With a 27” 4K display, very thin bezels, Dell HDR and two USB 3.0 Ports on the left monitor side it’s a great trade-off between price and performance.
It’s not only one of the most affordable monitors on this list, but one of the best within that category too. It also rotates to a vertical mode, which can really come in handy if you’re working on print-format design work.
|ASUS ProArt 32" 4K Professional Monitor|| ||Graphic Design, Photo and Animation||8||$$||Check Price|
|EIZO ColorEdge CG2420-BK 24.1" Professional Color Graphics Monitor|| ||Graphic Design, Photo and Animation||8.5||$$$||Check Price|
|BenQ PV3200PT 32" 4K IPS Post-Production Monitor|| ||Graphic Design, Photo and Animation||9||$$$||Check Price|
|Lenovo ThinkVision P27h-10 27" Monitor|| ||All-Round||7||$||Check Price|
|Dell Ultrasharp U2718Q 27" 4K IPS Monitor|| ||Graphic Design, Photo and Animation||7.5||$||Check Price|
|ViewSonic ColorPro VP3881 38" WQHD Curved Ultrawide Monitor|| ||Graphic Design, Photo and Animation||9||$$||Check Price|
|Samsung UH750 31.5" 4K Monitor|| ||All-Round||8||$||Check Price|
|LG 27MD5KB-B UltraFine 27" 5K IPS Monitor|| ||Mac Users for Graphic Design, Photo and Animation||10||$$$||Check Price|
|Philips Brilliance 329P9H 31.5" 4K IPS Monitor|| ||Offices and Collaborative Workspaces||9||$$||Check Price|
|Acer Nitro XV273K 27" 4K IPS Monitor|| ||Graphic Design, Photo and Animation||8||$||Check Price|
Here’s our roundup of the ten best graphic design monitors currently on the market. You’ve got an idea of the winners in different categories, but these are the in-depth reviews.
You’ll notice we’ve added a few important buying points to each, as well as a list of pros and cons, so you can compare and consider at a glance, without a headache. We’ve also included a price rating of $-$$$ so you can see what kind of range they’re in at a glance.
Be sure to also check out our buyer’s guide section at the end of the article which explains what you should be looking for in a monitor, as well as some of the confusing terms that are used for colour, size and resolution specs.
The ASUS ProArt is named as such for a reason. While it’s not as advanced as the EIZO monitors in terms of colour gamut, it’s a great contender at a far lower price point. It’s great for animation, graphic design and even video editing, thanks to its features and specs. Do note that there’s an Adobe RGB version of this monitor offering 99.5% Adobe RGB colour gamut, however, we’re looking at the sRGB model.
The monitor arrives with a non-glare surface to ease long use in bright environments. It has a 6ms Gray to Gray response time, over a 3840×2160 display, with stereo speakers, input selection and a 5-way OSD navigation joystick for easy menu access. There are two HDMI ports, 4 USB 3.0 ports for easy plug n play, and few more I/O ports for added versatility.
This monitor is an all-round great choice. It has the bonus of being wall-mountable, low-power, and has a low-blue-light mode to aid with your sleeping patterns for late night or early morning use.
This ColourEdge monitor from EIZO is a beast, all things considered. It’s built to last and created for two things: accurate colour, and lasting picture. It’s the gem of gems when it comes to graphic design monitors, as far as we’re concerned, and its specs show that to be true. So does the price point, however.
The monitors Wide-Gamut IPS LED display can achieve an astounding 99% Adobe RGB colour range, making it a must-have for anyone doing large-scale print production design. This is the kind of colour gamut you’d want if you were creating a building-sized print wrap or something of a similar scale.
One downside of these specs is that the resolution is somewhat smaller than most monitors with a lower colour range, at 2560 x 1440 pixels. This is likely because a higher resolution, in combination with the rest of the specs, would bump the price up a fair bit.
The monitor has DisplayPort, HDMI, and DVI inputs, as well as a 1000:1 colour ratio. It has a 10ms grey-to-grey response time, meaning it’s not amazing for gaming – not that you’re going to have any time for that when you try your hand at animation or design on this monitor.
This monitor for BenQ was initially designed for post-production, and as such is obviously appropriate for graphic design and animation. This is one of the things we love about BenQ – they design their products with utility in mind.
Displaying a 100% sRGB colour gamut over a 32-inch display with a max resolution of 3840×2160, this monitor is perfect for anything from home animation work, to professional level graphic design. It’s LED backlit, with a 1000:1 native contrast, and a 60Hz refresh rate, making it great for hands-on design with a tablet or pen mouse.
It’s got HDMI, DisplayPort, MiniDisplayPort, USB Upstream and Downstream ports, as well as an SD slot and USB 3.0 port so you don’t have to dig around under your desk to plug all your devices in.
All in all, it’s a great monitor on all fronts if you can afford to spend a little more. It’s a little over the top for most home users, but it could certainly be the upgrade you’re looking for if you’re a professional or a professional-to-be.
If you’re looking for a monitor that’s on the cheaper end of things, yet one that’s still got a large visual space to work with, as well as a great display and some nice nifty additions, then this ThinkVision model is the one for you.
While it won’t outperform any of the high-end monitors we’ve listed here, the drop price is a lot greater than the drop in performance. This makes it perfect for beginners, those on a budget, or anyone looking to pimp out their desk with two smaller monitors on either side of their main one.
With a 99% sRGB colour gamut, four fast-charge USB3.0 ports, a large 2560×1440 px IPS display, it’s meeting almost all of the add-on spec requirements of all the big players we’ve reviewed here. Connectivity options include USB-C, 2x HDMI, and DisplayPort both in and out. It’s also TUV Eye Comfort-certified, meaning it’s great for long periods of repeated use.
When you combine all of these features with its low price, wonderful glossy finish, and near borderless design, it makes for a great monitor. While you might not achieve a professional-industry standard, 100% accurate colour in the rarest of instances; this monitor gets you ninety-nine percent of the way there.
If you’ve got a little more to spend than the previous Lenovo monitor, then you’re in for a treat. This monitor is our pick of ‘best cheap monitor for designers’ for good reason.
Dell pulled out all the stops with the latest Ultrasharp model, to provide a monitor that saves on costs, but doesn’t compromise on quality. While this monitor may lack some of the fancier flairs of the industry-level monitors on this list, this is a beast of a contender at an astonishingly low price.
First and foremost, the thin and tastefully designed borders, in addition to the 90-degree swivel, make this line of monitors very popular for multiple-display setups. If you’ve seen a desktop setup with monitors in sequence divided by perfect-looking, thin borders, then this is likely the monitor you’ve seen.
Encased within these super-thin borders is a 27-inch 4K IPS display, with a 1300:1 contrast ratio, three-directional adjustment with tilt, a 5ms response time and a 99.9% sRGB colour gamut. It’s got a 178-degree viewing angle, making it perfect for wall-mounting or alternate-placement setups, and it means that you won’t experience a hue shift when working with the monitor at an angle.
It’s also got a whole host of I/O support, with HDMI and DisplayPort, audio line out, one USB upstream port and two USB downstream ports. The Dell HDR is a nice addition, but it’s also just a minimal pro in the larger scheme of this monitor. The HDR10 support, however, is great, and instantly noticeable when the monitor is connected to a PS4.
All in all, this is a fantastic modern monitor meeting all industry standards, that would probably be a wise purchase even if you’re not doing animation or graphic design work. The price makes it all the more worth the while, although the base specs and standards are really what drive this monitor home as a winner.
First off, there are two things to note about this particular monitor. Firstly, it’s made for professionals who want a little something extra out of their monitor. Secondly, the price point reflects this target market pretty well – this is likely a monitor best left-avoided unless you’ve either got a huge budget or are really looking to step up your workspace.
This monitor has a massive 38-inch WQHD+ Display at an aspect ratio of 21:9. This means it’s a wide, quad-HD plus display, ie. a 4K max resolution, over a wide display with a curve radius of 2300. It’s also got an ultra-wide viewing angle of 178-degrees both vertical and horizontal. When combined with the anti-glare hard coating, as well as the 100% sRGB Colour Gamut, it’s a beast when it comes to dealing with graphic design and animation work.
The monitor also features a whole host of connectivity options. It’s got 2 HDMI Ports, a DisplayPort, a USB-C port, as well as 3 Down / 1 Up USB 3.0 connectivity. This means you can just about never touch your laptop or desktop’s connectivity ports again, keeping your workflow simple and streamlined.
All in all, this is just about the Porsche of all the monitors on this list. If you’ve not used a curved monitor for work before, you’ll probably want to give one a try before spending so much on a curved monitor, although if you’re going to bite the bullet you won’t be disappointed. There’s not much other to this monitor, as the specs speak for themselves, so you’ll have to find out the rest for yourself.
This is another of the more affordable, and less specialized options on this list. Most popular for Xbox One and PS4 use, as per its reviews, this monitor produces a great, clear picture (with good colour, likely the reason it’s so popular for console use) and sits at a comfortable price point for such a wide screen.
The monitor features a maximum resolution of 3840×2160 (4K) over a 31.5-inch display, with 125% sRGB colour gamut, a 4ms GTG response time, 3000:1 static contrast ratio, a 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angle, as well as a stunningly low 100W Power consumption. It’s really topped out all of the specs in these categories, as well as having all the standard features of Samsung monitors such as MagicBright mode, a wall mount, an eco saving setting, and an eye-saver mode.
This Samsung monitor also has 2 HDMI inputs, 4 USB 3.0 ports, a mini DisplayPort and standard DisplayPort, and a headphone jack. It’s also got tilt, swivel and pivot, all-in-all meaning you could probably connect your laptop to it and never touch the laptop itself ever again.
If you’re looking for a nice monitor upgrade, mainly in terms of pure screen size, but additionally colour reproduction and image clarity, then this is a fantastic option. It’s not the professional upgrade, but rather the every-day use and multi-purpose upgrade, which you’ll struggle to find a good competitor for. It is, however, more than enough for most professional work in graphic design and animation, and a lot more versatile than some of the monitors geared towards these sectors.
This monitor is not just the only 5K monitor on this list, but also the only one that doesn’t use sRGB or Adobe RGB colour gamut – rather DCI-P3. It’s pretty unique in these ways, but in others, it’s a pretty standard hulk of a monitor. Not everyone needs a 5K monitor, but those who do will find just about everything they’re looking for in this one.
Firstly, the DCI-P3 gamut is likely to display more of the CMYK colour range than your current sRGB monitor – that’s the only real difference. This monitor delivers a 5K display (5120×2880 px) at 27 inches, essentially allowing for a 27-inch retina display monitor. It’s built to reproduce the detail of a Mac, as is shown with its rare Thunderbolt 3 connectivity. This port is impressively able to transmit 5K video and data, while simultaneously charging a new MacBook Pro over a single cable.
Apart from the great IPS Panel, the monitor also features two pretty strong stereo speakers, as monitor speakers go, as well as three USB-C ports, a camera, an ambient light sensor, a mic, wall mounting, and a sleek look to top it all off.
This is the professional’s monitor, for the professional who’s a Mac user, and looking for the best screen quality, colour and detail reproduction that money can buy. Sure, it won’t come cheap, but it’s all the more worth it when you look at how fine-tuned it is to these specifications.
This Philips Brilliance monitor not only offers a great display and fantastic colour reproduction, but also has features that make it perfect for sitting in a conference room or office, for use with team members or clients, or collaborators on whatever it is you’re working on.
The screen itself is a 31.5” 4K UHD 10-bit IPS Panel. It offers fantastic brightness and clarity, as well as a strong colour gamut at 87% Adobe RGB and 90% NTSC. It has two HDMI ports, a DisplayPort in and out, USB-C, audio in/out, and astoundingly, an ethernet port.
The reason we’re glossing over the specs, as impressive as they are, is that the real benefits of this monitor appear from its workflow-oriented design. It’s got built-in KVM, meaning you can have two computers connected and working side-by-side on screen, simultaneously with individual controls. This is great for everything from presentations, collaborations, and even training programmes or tests.
It’s also got a webcam, which slides into the top of the monitor when not in use, a built-in USB C docking station with power delivery, making it an all-in-one cable for all things display, data, and power. The monitor also features a SmartErgoBase, which allows for super-simple rotation and movement, a great feature to use in hand with the other abilities of this monitor.
As we said before, this is a monitor for the workplace – if you’re working solo, or freelance, on your own or with a small team, it’s likely not the one for you (although the picture and colour would certainly still meet your standards). This monitor works, and fits best in a busy work environment where there’s much to be done, and with ease.
If you’re working with animation or video games, or graphic design related to gaming, then this monitor’s likely already on your radar. It’s got all the requirements of a great gaming monitor built in a versatile format, allowing it to be used for animation and graphics work with great success. While the price is a little steep, it’s still a steal considering some of the features you’re getting from this monitor.
With a 3840×2160 px 4K display, this monitor delivers a huge image. It’s nVidia G-Sync compatible, with a 120Hz refresh rate which can be overclocked further to 144Hz using two display ports. The screen covers 130% of the sRGB space, as well as 95% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, which is incredibly wide even for the monitors on this list.
The monitor is adjusted and configured to be easy on the eyes for long periods of repeated use, and this is only helped by the included shielding hood which aids focus, and removes glare (as well as helping colour representation fall on a more consistent basis. The monitor also has 2 DisplayPort connectors, as well as 2 HDMI, and 4 USB 3.0 ports. More than enough for most gamers and designers.
This monitor really is a great compromise of price and quality, and it works great for anyone looking for a sharp, clear image with fantastic colour and performance.
There are quite a few factors to consider when buying a monitor. Understanding these factors better, as well as many of the confusing terms used for monitor specs, will help you make a more informed decision, and end up with a monitor that’s perfect for you.
The most obvious and simple factors are shape and size. If you’re working from a tiny coffee table, you probably won’t want a 34” ultrawide monitor – and conversely, if you’ve got a giant workspace, an 18” little LED monitor probably isn’t ideal. Monitor sizes are measured diagonally, and as such it’s a good idea to take out your tape measure, and create a cardboard cutout of the screen size you’re looking at to see how it’ll sit in your workspace.
Related to this, but slightly less important is the base. More and more people are going for wall-mounted monitors so as to save on desk space and clutter – so if you’re looking for a wall-mountable one, be sure to double check the specs.
Connectors are also a very important factor. There’s no use in buying a monitor for graphic design if you’re going to end up using a converter attachment to connect it to your graphics card. This can cause issues with colour, tearing, and other less-obvious areas – so always be sure to double check that the I/O ports on the monitor are compatible with your existing setup.
Another factor that’s a little more of a luxury is a USB connection. Many ‘professional’ style monitors for designers and animators are starting to arrive with USB ports built into them, to make plugging in and removing devices easier. We’d really recommend this as a feature in your monitor of choice as solves a lot of headaches of being a designer. A few seconds saved each day adds up.
Now, let’s take a look at some of the terms you might have heard used in monitor specs and descriptions. They’re all pretty simple when you understand them, and knowing what they mean will help you make a more informed decision when it comes to biting the bullet.
IPS is a type of LCD Panel, like OLED (which you’ve likely heard of in the last few years). The type of LCD panel used in a monitor affects things such as contrast ratio, viewing angle, response time and black levels.
IPS stands for “In-Plane Switching”, referring to the shifting patterns of the liquid crystals in the display (LCD stands for ‘Liquid Crystal Display’). In short, this means that IPS monitors have the ability to produce more accurate colour performance and consistency, at a higher range of viewing angles (up to 178 degrees vertically and horizontally).
IPS monitors can also display different colour ranges, such as Adobe RGB – imperative for serious graphic designers who are trying to keep up with professional agencies.
Contrast ratio refers to the ratio of luminance (or brightness) between the darkest dark, and the brightest white on the screen. In most cases, a higher contrast ratio is better.
Static Contrast ratio refers to a measurement of this ratio at a single point in time, where as Dynamic Contrast Ratio refers to a measurement taken over a period of time. In most cases, the static contrast ratio is the most important, and the figure to keep an eye on.
Do keep in mind, however, since most manufacturers test their own contrast ratios, it can be a less-accurate metric on which to compare monitors. It’s one of the aspects of computer monitors that is often abused for advertisement/catch-phrase purposes. For example, your 1 000 000:1 contrast ratio probably isn’t quite that high.
This is where things get a little confusing, and this comparison probably isn’t super important to you unless you’re an industry professional looking to go the extra mile. As a precursor, gamut refers to the range of colours available in a given monitor, or application. Note that the range refers to the difference between the colours, not the number of colours.
sRGB is “standard Red, Green, Blue”, and is the industry standard pretty much entirely, throughout the world, for everyday application. It’s got a smaller range of colours than Adobe RGB. It’s used in almost every app, web browser, and design tool you use every day, and has the bonus of helping maintain consistency over all platforms.
Adobe RGB, on the other hand, allows for a higher range of colours, or colour gamut, over the same number of colours. While this can cause issues in terms of being displayed on sRGB tools, or accidentally converted to sRGB when opened with the wrong program, there are some upsides.
Obviously, the higher colour range is desirable for print and production, allowing you to be far more accurate with your colours than you can with sRGB. It can also be converted to sRGB down the production line, making it a little more reversible than the former.
Largely, however, noone but the real professionals will be able to tell the difference. In addition, You’ll have to adjust your workflow to incorporate this somewhat rare and tricky colour range in a manner that doesn’t cause issues – so always be sure to double check what your monitor supports, and if it can switch.
These terms all relate back to monitor size, but less so on a physical level. 1920×1080 pixels is the standard minimum for what makes a FullHD image. This is the basis on which most of these terms are constructed, so knowing that, let’s break them down simply.
All in all, you’ve got to take all of these factors into consideration when you’re looking for a new monitor. They’ll help you understand the decisions you’re making, as well as which specs you’re winning and losing in.
While colour gamut, for example, might not be as important to a hobbyist designer, it’s still cool to know what it means, and help you make informed decisions.
These reviews have surely been a confusing affair of specs, stats, comparisons and numbers, but you should have a pretty good idea by now, regardless of where you’re headed. Be sure to refer to our buyer’s guide when choosing your final product, and we’d recommend always checking out a YouTube video or two before making your final purchase.
We hope you can find the perfect monitor for you, and would love it if you shared any of your latest creations on your new monitor for our community to check out!
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