The 5 Best Monitors For Graphic Design 2018

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As a designer working in the digital sector, you’ll know that having the correct equipment for the job will make the difference between a frustrating day at the office and an enjoyable creative experience.

We’ve previously covered the best laptops, computers, and printers for graphic designers, and next, we’re going to break down the world of monitors for you. After all, what’s the point of shelling out on the rest of the kit if your screen isn’t going to show your work the way you want it to?

How to choose a monitor:

  • Size – around 30” inches is generally considered to be the best option, but if you have space and the budget to go bigger, you can. Try not to drop below 24” inches wherever possible.

  • Resolution –4K (3840 x 2160) resolution is pretty standard in pro-level monitors now, but it’s fine to drop down to Full HD (1920 x 1080) if you’re going for a smaller monitor because of your budget. If you’re going UltraWide (21:9 aspect ratio), 1440p is enough. Always use the native resolution on an LCD monitor for best results.

  • Panel –try to stick with a display panel with In-Plane Switching (IPS) and no less than an 8-bit lookup table (LUT). A screen with these credentials can access a palate of 16.7 million colors, delivering stunning reproduction. If you can, aim for 10-bit LUT or more, as this will increase the number of colors to over one billion.

  • Color gamut – most monitors will have the sRGB color gamut, but this doesn’t cover as many colors as the Adobe RGB color gamut. If yoou only have sRGB, you’ll see an estimate of the colors in your images instead, which is less than ideal for professionals.

  • Connectivity – you’ll need DisplayPort, Thunderbolt, HDMI and/or DVI connections at least. Some monitors also come with card readers which is useful if you use photography in your work.

  • Calibration – to ensure consistency you’ll ideally need to calibrate your monitor at least once a month. Integrated calibration sensors make the job easier, but if your screen doesn’t have this, invest in a color monitor to do it manually.
  • Our top 5 picks

    5. BenQ SW2700PT

    Our favorite all-rounder comes from BENQ and offers stunning 4K resolution and incredible color accuracy for a lower price than other pro-level monitors.

    + Professional level color accuracy
    + High-pixel density gives great detail
    + Lots of connectivity options
    No pivot capabilities

    Specification

    • Screen size: 32”
    • Resolution: 3840 x 2160
    • Panel: IPS
    • Connectivity: HDMI (MHL), DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, card reader, USB 3.0

    Last update on 2018-10-18

    BENQ has, for a long time, been known as one of the best options for professional creatives, but with this monitor, they’ve finally made their price-point accessible for consumers, too.

    The stunning 4K IPS screen uses BENQs IPS technology to cover 100% of HDTV color space and 99.9% of Adobe’s RGB color space. The 12-bit LUT supports hardware calibration and contributes towards a picture that is bright and high-contrast.

    The factory-calibrated panel is accurate straight out of the box and is consistent right to the edges of the picture. Grayscale performance is just as impressive as color, and your monotone work will benefit from excellent accuracy in shadows and highlights.

    There’s plenty of connectivity on offer for linking up with additional monitors and accessories, and the ports are conveniently located for ease of use. The only real downside is that the monitor doesn’t have the ability to pivot, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker when you consider how much this professional-standard screen has to offer.

    If you’re looking for the best monitor for professionals, NEC’s MultiSync packs in all of the features and tech you’ll need to get the most from your work.

    + Stunning color accuracy
    + Can be manually calibrated
    + Lots of productivity-boosting features
    It’s not cheap

    Specification

    • Screen size: 32”
    • Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
    • Panel: IGZO technology IPS-type LCD
    • Connectivity: DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, HDMI 1.4, DVI-D

    Last update on 2018-10-19

    If you’re a professional graphic designer you’ll appreciate the incredible crispness and accuracy in this monitor.

    Colors are lifelike right out of the box, but if you prefer to calibrate your monitor manually at home you can. The IPS-type panel with wide gamut white LED backlight provides 99.2% coverage of the Adobe RGB color space, and the 4K resolution is a dream for intricate designs that demand to be seen in detail. The 14-bit LUT delivers precise calibration, and both color and grayscale performance is nothing short of spectacular.

    There are a vast array of settings which graphics professionals will appreciate, and there are multiple options for color, grayscale, picture presets and more. Picture-in-picture makes the most of the big screen by allowing individual windows to display content from various input sources.

    All this comes at a price though, and this monitor is probably too expensive for most hobbyists and consumers. It’s also not the most attractive-looking screen in the world either, but if you’re serious about your digital designs you’ll easily be able to overlook those flaws.

    If you have a big budget and prefer a monitor with an inbuilt hood, this Eizo is unbeatable.

    + Spectacular color accuracy
    + Self-calibration sensor
    + Clarity is astonishing
    Incredibly expensive

    Specification

    • Screen size: 31.1”
    • Resolution: 4,096 x 2,160
    • Panel: IPS
    • Connectivity: DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA

    Last update on 2018-10-19

    Go inside any digital agency or production house and you’re likely to see Eizo monitors everywhere. That is, in part, due to the higher than normal 4K resolution which suits the slightly taller 4K used in digital video production. It’s also due, of course, to the phenomenal performance of this 31” powerhouse.

    Covering 99% of Adobe RGB spectrum and 98% DCI-P3, color reproduction is pure brilliance. 10-bit color is supported by 16-bit LUT, and you’ll be amazed at how accurate the colors are. They’ll remain accurate too, thanks to the self-calibration sensor. Designed to check calibration every time you switch the monitor on, you’re guaranteed the consistency needed for long-term projects.

    The hood is down to personal preference: some designers love them and some loathe them. But we appreciate the great job the inbuilt one on this monitor does at blocking ambient light and ensuring that what you’re seeing on screen is accurate.

    The obvious downside of this monitor is the incredibly high price, but you do get what you pay for and this investment will up your graphic design game to a whole new level.

    With monitors for graphic design, bigger is often better. This huge screen from Philips is our pick for best large screen monitor.

    + Huge curved screen is spectacular
    + MultiView 4K makes the most of the big screen
    + Lots of connectivity options
    Color accuracy is lacking

    Specification

    • Screen size: 40”
    • Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
    • Panel: VA LCD
    • Connectivity: DisplayPort, HDMI 2.0, HDMI 1.4, USB 3.0 VGA

    Last update on 2018-10-19

    Size is everything with this beauty, and 40” is the ideal surface area to enjoy 4K resolution in all its glory.

    The monitor has stunning aesthetics and the subtle curve in the screen provides an immersive viewing experience that’ll get you closer to your work. The 10-bit VA LED panel delivers rich colors to bring your designs to life, and a contrast ratio four times that of a typical IPS panel injects deeper blacks in your creations.

    There are plenty of connectivity options around the back, although not being able to adjust the position of the monitor makes them difficult to reach. It’s easy to make use of the huge amount of screen on offer with Phillips’ MultiView, which can handle up to four sources and makes it easy to collaborate on multiple laptops or even watch TV while you’re working.

    The lack of an IPS display is disappointing for a mid-range monitor and professionals might notice the difference in color accuracy, but other than that this is great looking, higher performance monitor that’ll look extremely impressive on your desk.

    If you don’t have thousands to spend on a monitor for graphic design, this Acer is our best budget option.

    + Impressive color and grayscale performance
    + Delivers sharp UHD imagery
    + Good looking design
    Lacks USB ports

    Specification

    • Screen size: 27”
    • Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160
    • Panel: IPS
    • Connectivity: DVI-in, HDMI, DisplayPort

    Last update on 2018-10-19

    This monitor might be smaller, but it still packs that 4K punch that serious graphic designers need to do their job well.

    The non-reflective IPS panel is ready to go straight out of the box and delivers great color accuracy and impressive grayscale performance. You’ll also love the sharp and detailed picture that will allow you to manipulate your designs as much as you need to. And also, if you work with video this monitor will keep up with you easily with a 4-millisecond response rate.

    The modern design will look great on your desk and the ports are tucked neatly around the back. Although, the panel can be tilted but not adjusted by height or angle, which might be annoying to some designers.

    The size may be a little small for some designers, and the lack of USB ports seems like a real oversight, but this really is the best option if you’re on a budget.

    Wrapping it up

    In general, monitors for graphic designers don’t come cheap, but, professionals and passionate hobbyists will recognize the importance of having the right one for the job.

    Using our recommendations and buying tips you’ll have all the information you need to ensure that you’re investing in the right model. Just remember to check that your laptop or desktop is compatible with your chosen monitor before you buy.

    Which is your best monitor for graphic design? Let us know in the comments.

    About the author

    John Thatch

    John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

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