Does your computer double as your artistic hub? Like everything else, art is becoming more and more digital, and studios are fast being replaced by laptops and desktops. Sure, you can technically use any old laptop for graphic design work, but if you’re serious about your work, you want to use a nice monitor that will optimize your potential and help you create your best material yet.
You’ll need a monitor with a high resolution, a wide screen, and touch-screen capabilities. And we’re here to help you find that monitor that will bring your art to the next level. That’s why we’ve written this list of the best monitors for graphic design. By the time you finish our list, you’ll be ready to get started on your next big project, and you’ll have bought the best monitor to do it.
Carry on reading to see our full list of monitors, followed by a quick recap of what each monitor has to offer. Or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.
What Should You Look For in a Monitor for Graphic Designers?
Criteria #1: Resolution – Screen resolution, which is measured in pixels in a width-by-height formula, is one of the main traits to look at when assessing how clear a screen will be. Basically, the more pixels, the clearer and more realistic the images on-screen will appear. A high-resolution screen will look crisp, smooth, and life-like, while a low-resolution image will have a blocky texture and will remind you of an old-school video game.
The average screen resolution among desktops in 2020 was somewhere in the range of 1366×768, but, of course, if you’re focusing on graphic design for your monitor, you’ll want a higher resolution. The standard we’ll be aiming for is closer to 3840 x 2160. Remember that there are other factors that contribute to great picture quality. For example, an IPS panel screen will give you a high-quality picture even if your resolution is a bit low. That being said, resolution is probably the first thing you’ll want to look at.
Criteria #2: Screen Size – We only want monitors that are big enough to let you see everything all at once and allow you to have multiple windows open in split-screen while keeping everything big and clear. You don’t want to be constantly scrolling or switching windows while you’re working on a project, and monitors for graphic design are sure to be on the bigger side. While a typical laptop screen will be somewhere between 12 and 17 inches, you can expect the monitors on this list to be closer to 30 inches and sometimes even more than that.
Criteria #3: Features – Those extra treats that you can’t see by looking at the specifications of a monitor can make all the difference. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having all the bells and whistles. Some great features to look for in a monitor for graphic design are a quick response time to keep you working seamlessly and a high refresh rate, so you don’t have to stare at any slowly-loading screens. It can also be helpful to have a lot of input and output ports.
Criteria #4: Price – If you’re a serious graphic designer, you should be ready to invest a bit in a good monitor for graphic design. That being said, we’re not here to make you spend a ton of money for no reason. Meeting this criterion is less about being cheap and more about justifying your price. We’d rather buy an expensive product, that’s cheaper than it should be, than waste money on a cheaper product that isn’t worth the money and that will just break on you or not perform well.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Graphic Design Monitors
We measured the specs of the top products on the market against our listed criteria to see how they held up and if they’re worth buying. We then checked customer reviews, blog posts, and “best monitors for graphic designers” articles to see if the products on our list performed as advertised.
And without further ado, here is our list – tailored to your specific needs – of the best Monitors for Graphic Designers.
#1: Dell UltraSharp 32″ UP3216Q Professional IPS 4K UHD Monitor (Best Value – All-Purpose)
I’m sure nobody needs to be introduced to the Dell brand. Other than perhaps Apple, Dell is one of the most prominent computer manufacturers in the world, and they’re certainly the most recognized when it comes to Windows machines. It’s no surprise then, that our number one monitor for any graphic designer is a Dell monitor. The UltraSharp 32″ monitor is tailor-made for graphic design and is equipped with all of the best specs and features.
To start things off, this monitor features elite color accuracy thanks to its “premiercolor” feature and its four color-spaces. This means that what you see on the screen will match what appears on paper after you press print.
Next, this Dell monitor comes with 3840 x 2160 Ultra HD 4K resolution – four times the resolution of standard HD – to give you the most amazing picture possible. The color accuracy and the resolution combined means that you’ll be able to see every color on the spectrum in all of your new designs, and you’ll be able to be as precise as you want when deciding where one color ends and the next shade begins.
As the name suggests, this monitor is about 32 inches wide, which means you’ll be able to fit everything on screen all at once for the best performance possible. The UltraSharp 32″ also has a response time of 6 milliseconds and a refresh rate of 60 hertz, so you’ll never be waiting for your command to register. This monitor will process things far faster than you can comprehend. As a nice bonus, this monitor is placed on a swivel whose height is completely adjustable, so you can get the perfect angle for your seat and avoid that glare from the window.
While it’s not exactly cheap, this Dell monitor has a price that’s about the average compared to the other graphic, heavy-duty design monitors on the market, which is pretty impressive considering all that you’re getting. Reviewers were huge fans of this monitor, and gamers and graphic designers alike were blown away by the beautiful picture. From the 3840 x 2160 resolution to the large 32-inch screen to the response time and the refresh rate, this Dell monitor is one of the best monitors to help you get to work and bust out your best pieces of work yet.
#2: 27″ iMac (Best Machine)
Love ’em or hate ’em, no company has branded themselves quite like Apple. For a lot of users, Apple isn’t just a brand, it’s a lifestyle. Customers flock to buy the newest iPad and iPhone the day they’re released, and a huge reason for that is Apple’s signature GUI that everyone finds intuitive and easy to use. It’s not a far leap then, to imagine that an Apple iMac would be a great choice for graphic design. And you’d be right in that assumption. While it’s far more expensive than our number one monitor in the Dell UltraSharp, people just love Apple, and there are a few reasons you might decide to spring for the iMac if you can afford it.
Reason #1 to Choose This Product: 5K Display
4K resolution is the standard for graphic designers right now, but Apple is pushing the envelope a bit by offering you a breathtaking 5K resolution. This Apple desktop boasts one billion colors and 500 nits of brightness. Every single photo and video will look absolutely amazing, so you’ll definitely want this monitor to be the hub for your work. While this desktop offers a 21-inch monitor and a 27-inch monitor, the 5K display is only available with the 27-inch version, though you wouldn’t want to use a 21-inch screen for graphic design anyway. For that matter, one might view the fact that the monitor is “only” 27-inches as one of the few drawbacks of the iMac, especially if graphic design work is your priority.
Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Nano-Texture Glass
Never worry about glare ever again with the iMac and its nano-texture glass. While our number one monitor took care of glare by allowing you to move the monitor on a swivel, Apple does all of the work for you by giving you a monitor that will effectively get rid of glare without your doing a thing. As Apple states on their website, “The nano-texture is etched into the glass at the nanometer level. This reduces glare while preserving contrast, for jaw-dropping image quality.” You’ll never have to deal with that awkward hour at work when the sun shines right through your window. No matter what your lighting situation is, this monitor will give you the best picture and leave you unbothered.
In addition to the 5K display and the nano-texture glass, the iMac comes with True Tone technology to deliver the absolute best in color accuracy. As we mentioned above, the main reason you might not be interested in the iMac and the reason it’s not our number one monitor, is its price. That being said, since you can’t buy the monitor on its own, it justifies its price by being a full-fledged computer and not just a monitor. The actual computer is nothing to sneeze at either, but I’ll save that for a different article. If you’re a serious graphic designer and an Apple fanboy or girl, or if you need an entirely new computer and not just a monitor, the 27-inch iMac just might be what you’re looking for. Make sure to budget a bit first though.
#3: Philips Computer Monitors BDM4350UC (Best Big Monitor)
Sometimes bigger is better. Depending on your preferences, and the type of work you do, you may want the biggest monitor you can get your hands on. Well, that’s probably the Philips Computer BDM4350U. This bad boy has a massive 43-inch LED monitor, and it comes equipped with the standard 4K UHD 3840×2160 resolution, so it’s more than just a way to show off.
This monitor delivers a modern picture to go with its massive size. This monitor comes with two HDMI 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports, so you won’t have to worry about finding room for any of your extra flash drives or devices. It also has two 7-watt speakers that are perfect if you’re working on something a little more interactive or just really like to blast some music while you work. This Phillips monitor is equipped with an IPS panel that will bring to life all the colors on your screen and offers wide-viewing angles.
Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when you buy this monitor for graphic design. Customers were a little split on this monitor, and it basically came down to those who liked the size and those who didn’t. I certainly hope you have room on your desk if you’re interested in this monitor. Besides for just taking up more space, a predictable drawback of this monitor is that it’s pretty heavy, but that shouldn’t be a problem once you have it in place It also has a lot of ports, which is much easier to accomplish when you have all that extra space to work with.
Don’t buy the BDM4350UC if you’re just getting into graphic design. This monitor is for dedicated designers who need the biggest screen they can find, and there’s just no need for something so big if you’re not yet serious about design.
That being said, this monitor is pretty cheap all things considered, and it comes with a four-year warranty. It gives you that massive screen and meets all of our standards when it comes to specs. If you want a movie theater experience while you’re designing, this is one of the best monitors available.
#4: Samsung U28E590D 28-Inch 4k UHD LED-Lit Monitor (Best Low Cost)
If you’re just becoming more serious about graphic design and you’ve decided it’s time you upgrade from your laptop to a nice, big monitor, you might be a little discouraged by these prices. Don’t think that there’s too much of a paywall behind graphic design though. There are affordable options out there too. And none are better than the Samsung U28E590D 28-Inch 4K UHD LED-Lit Monitor.
If you’re a graphic designer trying to stay on a budget, this is the only 4K monitor for you. This Samsung monitor comes with the ultra HD we’ve become used to and has a few tricks up its sleeve, besides its enticing price. It also has an instantaneous response time of 1 millisecond, so it’s perfect if the gamer in you is looking for a monitor that will also be good during those breaks from graphic design. It’s also great for video editing.
This budget monitor also has picture-in-picture technology available, in case you like to multi-task every now and then. And it has two HDMI 2.0 ports, so you can connect a device other than your computer – like a gaming console – to this Samsung and switch seamlessly.
The main drawback of this monitor is that its screen size of 26 inches is a bit smaller than our other monitors, though for a lot of graphic designers, that’s a small price to pay for saving a few hundred bucks. Customers really loved the lightning-fast response timer, the HDMI ports, and of course, the price of this monitor.
It’s really more of a gaming monitor than a graphic design monitor, but as both of those demographics are picky about their graphics, there’s quite a bit of overlap in the prevalent features of gaming monitors and graphic design monitors. Don’t feel like you can’t design to the best of your ability just because you’re not rolling around in cash. This Samsung monitor will let you create your best work without wasting an entire paycheck.
#5: Dell UltraSharp 32″ 8K Monitor UP3218K (Best 8K Monitor)
It seems that the Dell UltraSharp series will be bookending our list. We mentioned that 4K has become the standard resolution for any top-of-the-line monitor. And while the iMac goes beyond that, this Dell UltraSharp is just looking that far in the rearview mirror and offers an incredible 8K resolution that will look even better than real life.
Other than that insane resolution, there’s not much that separates this monitor from its counterpart, so I’ll spare you some extra words. Oh yeah, just one thing. It’s expensive. Like…insanely expensive. You better make a lot of money or be able to write off this monitor as a work expense or, sorry, it’ll just be a pipe dream.
While customers had a lot of sarcastic comments ready for this Dell’s price tag (the Amazon reviews make for great reading) they absolutely loved the 8K resolution, so I guess they decided it was worth it in the end. This is the absolute best monitor for graphic design when it comes to resolution. If you just won the lottery, or if you can get your boss to pay for it, and you’ll only settle for a picture quality that will blow your mind, this is the monitor for you.
What’s the Difference between a Monitor for Graphic Designers and Other Monitors?
Pretty simply – the picture’s better. As we’ve discussed earlier, a lot of monitors have begun to focus on keeping things small to save space, but if you’re a graphic designer, you probably don’t want to do that. You’ll want to aim for a large screen size. While a 4K monitor might be considered pretty fancy by the laymen’s standards, they’ve become the norm for graphic designers. On top of that, a nice UPS panel and a 3840 x 2160 resolution may be seen as an absolute necessity. Basically, it’s screen quality over everything, and the honest truth is that you’ll have to spend a bit more on a good monitor for your work than if you were just looking for a laptop to browse the Web.
Verdict: Your Best Monitors for Graphic Designers
If you’re still not sure which one of our monitors is right for you, take a look at this little recap to refresh your memory and find the best machine to design your newest work.
If you want the best value for money, pick Dell UltraSharp 32″ UP3216Q Professional IPS 4K UHD Monitor.
This 32-inch, 4K monitor is basically the standard in monitors for a budding graphic designer. It has the 3840 x 2160 resolution we crave, it’s a great size, and it has all the features you need. Plus, it has solid color accuracy and a nice refresh rate and response time. All of that comes at an affordable price, and that’s why this is our best monitor for graphic designers.
If you need the 8K resolution, pick the Dell UltraSharp 32″ 8K Monitor UP3218K.
Sure, 4K monitors are the standard, but you might not want the standard. You want the future. That’s what this Dell UltraSharp 32-inch screen offers with its insane 8K resolution. You won’t believe how crisp the picture is, and you’ll feel like you’re in the year 3000. I just hope you came into some money recently, because this monitor is expensive.
If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Samsung U28E590D 28-Inch 4k UHD LED-Lit Monitor.
With a solid amount of ports, an amazing refresh rate, and multiple HDMI ports, this Samsung 4K monitor is the cream of the crop when it comes to budget monitors. It’s a bit on the smaller side compared to the rest of our list, but if that doesn’t bother, you then this is an amazing computer monitor to help you save some money while still delivering excellent picture quality.
Remember to think about which features are a must for you while deciding on your monitor. You might be a lover of anything Apple, in which case you won’t be able to say no to the 5K resolution 27-inch iMac. Or you might want the biggest screen you can get your hands on, in which case the Philips Computer Monitors BDM4350UC is the best option for you. You’ll get more ports than you know what to do with as a nice side benefit.
We hope we’ve helped you find what you’re looking for, and while all of these monitors have displays that will bring your work to life, you should feel free to use our listed criteria as a jumping-off point to do your own research. Even if you’re not in love with our choices, the perfect display for your work process is out there somewhere.