The best monitors for graphic design deliver pixel-perfect precision, color accuracy, and high-resolutions.
Whatever graphic design software or drawing apps you use, the very best graphic design monitors maintain fidelity and consistency throughout the design process. So, your artwork looks as good on the screen as it does when it’s exported or printed, without endless reworking before sign-off.
Like photo editing monitors, monitors for designers need a good screen size - a broad canvas gives you space to breathe and create. A 4K resolution is the best baseline, too, giving greater detail and image clarity. For the most accurate colors, a minimum of 95% coverage of the DCI-P3 and AdobeRGB gamuts is recommended
To help you find the right screen for your next project, we’ve tested the best monitors for graphic design. We’ve compared each display across a range of specs including color coverage, luminance, and refresh rate, while assessing screen size, connectivity, and value for money.
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The best monitors for graphic design 2023
Looking for one of the best entry-level monitors for graphic design work? You could do a lot worse than the Philips 288E2A. It’s a 28-inch 4K model with plenty of desktop real estate.
The pixel density is also decent, so fonts and menus are nice and crisp. It uses an IPS panel, which makes for excellent viewing angles, albeit this isn’t the brightest screen in the world at 300 nits and there’s absolutely no HDR support.
It’s worth noting there’s no USB-C connectivity, which is no surprise at this price point. Still, the slim-bezel design looks contemporary, and the stand provides both height and tilt adjustment. There are more accurate monitors with more features. But they all cost a lot more money.
Read the full Philips 288E2A review
4K at 32-inches is arguably the sweet spot when it comes to balancing panel size with pixel density. The AOC U32P2 nails that remit with a 32-inch VA panel at a relatively affordable price.
The VA tech delivers great contrast, but not the best color accuracy. At this price point, you also don’t get USB-C single-cable connectivity with charging.
However, if what you mainly want is a nice, big display with the precision and desktop elbow room that comes with 4K at 32 inches, the AOC U32P2 is great value.
If ergonomics are important, it’s also worth noting that this AOC’s stand supports a full range of adjustments including rotate into portrait mode.
Read the full AOC U32P2 review
If you want maximum screen space while retaining decent precision and pixel density, look no further than the Dell UltraSharp U4021QW. One of the best monitors for graphic design, it boasts a massive 40-inch ultrawide panel with no fewer than 5,120 x 2,160 pixels. That makes for a huge working space.
It also offers excellent color coverage at 98 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut. USB-C connectivity with 90W of power delivery rounds out what is, frankly, an epic all-round package.
Of course, this class of display doesn’t come cheap. And there’s no HDR support. But as conventional SDR panels go, this is about as good as it gets for graphic design workflows.
Read the full Dell UltraSharp U4021QW review
If you’re in the market for a 4K panel and have the budget for a bit more precision, the Viewsonic VP3268a-4K should be on your shortlist.
It’s a 32-inch model with IPS panel technology for great viewing angles and colors. It’s a cut above the budget IPS options with improved accuracy and Pantone Validation, the latter being handy for workflows aimed at print products.
You also get USB-C connectivity with 90W of power delivery for quick and slick single-cable connectivity to a laptop. There are cheaper 4K monitors and HDR support is conspicuous by its absence. But as an overall monitor for graphic design, this is a very appealing proposition.
Read the full Viewsonic VP3268a-4K review
In a world of wide and ultrawide monitors, the Huawei MateView does things differently. Instead of 16:9, 21:9 or even wider, it’s an unusually tall 3:2 aspect screen. Pixels-wise, you get 3,840 by 2,560 on a 28.2-inch panel. So, think of it as a 4K monitor with added space above and below.
Depending on the software and tools you use, that could be very handy. So, could the USB-C interface with 65W of power delivery for easy single-cable connectivity.
It’s bright, too, at 500 nits and offers good accuracy at 98 percent coverage of DCI-P3. Add in extra frills like wireless display mirroring and you have an impressive package at a remarkably reasonable price.
Read the full Huawei MateView review
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Best graphic design monitors: FAQs
How to choose the best monitor for graphic design
While those 27-inch and 28-inch monitors can be great value, some users will prefer a slightly larger 4K panel to provide more working space. The 32-inch form factor is increasingly popular, giving a larger panel while retaining reasonably high pixel density.
Moving up the size scale, even larger 40-inch and 42-inch 4K monitors are available, often relatively affordably. Note, however, such screens are typically based on TV panels and tend to lack accuracy. At that panel size, pixel density is much lower too, which is noticeable in terms of font rendering and sharpness.
Other than conventional 4K, you have the option of a limited number of 5K and 5K2K displays. The former basically boils down to a 27-inch panel with 5,120 by 2,880 pixels, a fairly substantial step up on the 3,840 by 2,160 pixels of 4K or UHD. The result is very high pixel density of 217DPI and ultra crisp fonts.
Ultrawide form factors are also worth considering. Entry level ultrawide would be 34 inches and 3,440 by 1,440 pixels. If you want something really expansive, there are a few 40-inch models with fully 5,120 by 2,160 pixels. The resulting 138DPI is about the same as a more conventional 32-inch 4K panel, but you get extra width either side for tools and multi-tasking. If you can afford it, it’s a very sweet display, indeed.
Color accuracy can be important for digital design work, so look out for coverage rates of 95 percent or more for the AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 gamuts. However, it’s unlikely that forking out for a true HDR display is worthwhile for digital design work. Instead, prioritising usability and connectivity makes more sense.
For starters, a monitor stand with a full range of adjustment is critical. Height and tilt adjustments are the bare minimum, while swivel and rotate into portrait are desirable if not critical extras. Then there is connectivity. Most monitors will have both DisplayPort and HDMI connectivity, so hooking up to a desktop PC, workstation or Mac shouldn’t be a problem. That said, do take care to consider your PC’s output with regard to higher resolutions. You’ll need HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.2 or better for 4K at 60Hz refresh, for instance.
If you’re a laptop user, we’d strongly advise stretching to a monitor with USB Type-C connectivity. It does add a price premium. But you absolutely, positively won’t regret it. USB-C allows you to drive the display, charge the laptop and connect peripherals like keyboard, mouse and external storage, all with a single cable. It’s quicker, so much slicker and ergonomically makes everything so much tidier. Just be sure to check that any given monitor with USB-C includes power delivery. A few skimp on that feature, making USB-C far less functional.
Best graphic design monitors: 5 things to look for
Five things to look out for on a display for digital design:
- Pixels and lots of them. More pixels give you more space to work with and better visual clarity. 4K is now affordable so you can treat that as a basic requirement.
- USB-C connectivity with power delivery makes life so much easier and tidier for laptop users. Simply hook up to the display with a single cable.
- A monitor with a fully adjustable stand is critical for ergonomics. At minimum, look for height and tilt adjustments, buit swivel and rotate to portrait mode can be handy, too.
- Depending on your workflow, color accuracy can be important. If so, aim for at least 95 percent coverage of the AdobeRGB and DCI-P3 gamuts.
- Consider different aspect ratios. Most monitors are currently 16:9 aspect, but ultrawide or even extra tall displays could be the perfect fit for your workflow.
How we test the best monitors for graphic design
We review monitors based on a number of factors including price, design, and performance. We consider the size of each display, along with panel type, resolution, refresh rate, color coverage and HDR support. We also consider connectivity, including HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C and wireless interfaces.
Pixel density and color accuracy are particularly important for digital design monitors, but so are ergonomics, so we assess stand adjustability and stability. Finally, build quality and value for money are judged against competitors in the market.
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