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How to Choose the Best Monitors for Graphic Design

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Which are the best monitors for graphic design available today?

Here we’ll discuss the specifications and features that professional designers need for the work they do. Then we’ll sort through manufacturers’ product offerings to choose their best design monitors on the market right now.

Let’s jump right into some of the engineering involved in LCD monitors and how that pertains to design work.

IPS panels make for better graphic design monitors

It’s important to note that monitors for graphic design have a few different features than monitors that are meant for gaming. The differences are mainly found in how the LCD panels are put together.

Gaming monitors are built so fast-moving images in high detail appear smooth. Displays are engineered to have high refresh rate (144 Hz or 240 Hz), and low response times (4 ms). Gaming monitors almost always employ a twisted nematic (TN) panel type which is great for fast performance, but has limitations for color accuracy and viewing angles.

In monitors for graphic design, in-plane switching (IPS) panel technology delivers color accuracy at wider viewing angles. IPS was developed specifically to address the TN panel limitations. Display manufacturers developed several iterations of IPS technology. Most new IPS monitors developed after 2012 employ plane to line switching (PLS) which lowered production costs and offered a brighter display compared to previous generations.

Factors that determine color accuracy

Color spaces standardize colors for content delivered across specific media. The full range of colors is called a gamut, and is usually greater than the range of colors than the human eye can detect. Having a wide gamut of colors makes images more accurate to true color.

In short, the more colors a monitor displays, the greater the accuracy images have.

There are several standardized color spaces. Monitors with Adobe RGB color space are built specifically for graphic designers working in print media. NTSC is another color space standard typically used in television and film. sRGB applies to HD television. DCI-P3 is common for digital movie projection.

Product listings for design monitors have percentage rating that pertains to one of more of these standards. Monitors often list ratings for various color gamut standard. For example, ASUS ProArt PA329Q is rated 100 percent for the HDTV standard Rec. 709, and 99.5 percent for Adobe RGB.

Backlighting also figures into color accuracy. Light emitting diode (LED)-backlit monitors tend to deliver a wider color gamut and color accuracy. Cold cathode fluorescent lamp technology (CCFD) backlighting is older technology, and tends to be more durable and inexpensive. CCFL lighting is a bulkier build and uses more energy than LED, and has been phased out of newer monitor designs.

High-resolution displays which allow them to work in greater detail. Larger screens typically are beneficial for design work, so designers commonly use 27-inch monitors or larger in their desktop PC setup.

ASUS VZ27AQ

Size: 27-inch

Resolution: 2K QHD (2560 x 1440)

VZ27AQ features a high-performance IPS panel that provides a 100,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Capable of 178-degree viewing angles. Its LED-backlit display covers 100 percent of sRGB color space, ideal for professional-grade photo and video editing. Comes with extra features designed for eye care.

List price: $350. View product page for ASUS VZ27AQ for current pricing & product specifications.

 

BenQ GW2765HT

Size: 27-inch

Resolution: 2K QHD (2560 x 1440)

Mid-range specifications at a competitive price point. GW2765HT give you everything needed for professional design work plus ergonomic flexibility—a five-inch height adjustment plus ample tilt and swivel angles. 100 percent sRGB gamut coverage, and extras for eye care. Some reviewers noted panel inconsistency around the screen edges, which you might notice if working in a darker room.

List price: $329. View product page for BenQ GW2765HT for current pricing and product specifications.

 

Dell UltraSharp UP2716D

Size: 27-inch

Resolution: 2K QHD (2560 x 1440)

The UP2716D is ideal for design professionals working with a dual monitor setup. The ‘Infinity Edge’ zero bezel design gives it a sleek, clean feel along all four edges of the monitor. The display offers a full range of ergonomic adjustments and raises up to five inches. White LED backlighting and 99 percent sRGB coverage.

List price: $450. View product page Dell UP2716 for current pricing and product specifications

 

Acer K272HUL

Size: 27-inch

Resolution: 2K QHD (2560 x 1440)

One of the best monitors under $300, K272KUL offers a no-frills approach to a design monitor. You get the necessary design specifications—wide viewing angle, wide gamut, and LED backlighting—at a tremendous value. It doesn’t look like much, and has fewer USB ports than most monitors. Reviewers did not like that the stand is tilt-only, meaning you can’t raise it.

List price: $280.80. View product page Acer K272HUL for current pricing and product specifications

 

Acer ProDesigner BM320

Size: 32-inch

Resolution: 2k QHD

Designers that would like more real estate to work should consider a 32-inch QHD screen. Here’s one that checks the necessary boxes and won’t break the bank. Covers Adobe RGB and DCI-P3 standards, and has reasonably slim (10mm) bezels around each edge. Eye care extras like flicker-free backlighting and low blue-light features.

List price: $769. View product page for Acer ProDesigner BM320 for current pricing & product specifications.

 

ViewSonic VP2780-4K

Size: 27-inch

Resolution 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)

Engineered specifically for graphic artists, VP2780-4K offers advanced color technologies like 14 bit 3D lookup table, and a gamut of over 4 trillion colors. Preset EBU for video editing. The display is fully adjustable with tilt, pivot, 5-inch height adjustment, and swivel. Comes with anti-glare coating and eye-friendly flicker-free and low blue-light features.

List price: $600 View product page for ViewSonic VP2780-4K for current pricing & product specifications.

 

Summary
How to Choose the Best Monitors for Graphic Design
Article Name
How to Choose the Best Monitors for Graphic Design
Description
Which are the best monitors for graphic design available today? Here we’ll discuss the specifications and features that professional designers need for the work they do.
Author
Adam Lovinus

Adam Lovinus

A tech writer and Raspberry Pi enthusiast from Orange County, California.

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