10 Best Monitors for Graphic Design in 2021

Arek Dvornechcuck
Branding Expert

I'm a strategist and designer based in New York who help brands grow by crafting distinctive brand identities, backed by strategy. Need help with your project?—Get in touch

The choice of a monitor is especially important for graphic designers—we need the right size, resolution and color accuracy in order to produce great work.

As a graphic designer, if you want to provide your clients with the best possible work that you can produce, the monitor you use can really make a difference.

What's the best monitor for graphic design in 2021?

You should definitely look for a monitor that can give you the best combination of great performance, high resolution, and broad color coverage.

As a designer you should get at least 4k monitor.

Fortunately for us designers, the improvement in technology have made 4k monitors better and more affordable than ever, so we can’t complain.

In 2021 there is no so many options available on the market that is hard to decide which one is best for your graphic design needs.

That’s why I reviewed them all—Here’s my list of top 10 best monitors for designers to buy in 2021.

10 Best Graphic Design Monitors

  1. Dell UltraSharp U3818DW—Best overall
  2. Eizo ColorEdge CG319X—Best performance
  3. LG 27UL850—Best budget
  4. BenQ PD3200U—Best value
  5. Samsung U28E590D—Most affordable
  6. Acer Predator XB273K—Best for gaming
  7. ViewSonic VP2768—Best cheap
  8. Asus ROG Strix XG438Q—Most versatile
  9. Philips BDM4350UC—Largest size
  10. Apple Pro Display XDR—Best for pros

Some of these monitors will come equipped with better features than others, which can improve a designer’s overall performance.

In this article, I will go over some of those features and talk about what they really mean from a perspective of a graphic designer.

So that hopefully you can make an informed choice when it comes to buying your next monitor.

How to choose a monitor for graphic design

If you're looking for choose the best monitor for designers—check out my quick guide to help you make up your mind.

When you work on the right monitor, with large bright screen, accurate colors and great resolution, you can do better work as a designer.

Getting the right monitor for your graphic design business is as important as the job itself.

First, you need to think about what kind of graphic design work you will use this monitor for.

The monitor you choose needs to have certain features to be considered the right choice for handling your specific graphic design tasks.

How to choose a monitor for graphic design.
5 factors for choosing a monitor.

I advise all designers to consider these 5 important factors when choosing the right monitor.

Here’s my checklist:

  1. Screen size
  2. Resolution
  3. Color accuracy
  4. Connections
  5. Price

Now let’s briefly talk about each of them how they relate to your job as a graphic designer.

1. Screen size

Screen size may not be the number one factor for some designers but believe me, the size actually matters.

The screen size really matters especially when you work on big, complex artworks with lots of details.

Generally, I’d advise most designers to get a screen size between 27 to 32”, but if you’re a pro who multitasks a lot, you might want to get something around 40”.

2. Resolution

Similarly as with screen size, the higher pixel resolution, the better and I wouldn’t recommend buying a monitor below 4k resolution.

As a designer you need the highest resolution possible to see clearly the tiniest details without any pixelation.

Preferably you should opt for 4k  (3,840 by 2,160 pixels), but of course you can go even higher, for example Apple Pro Display XDR is 6k  (6016 by 3384 pixels).

3. Color accuracy

Another very important factor to consider for designers is how well a monitor can reproduce colors, often referred to as “color gamut”.

Accurate color reproduction is important to every designer, whether it be for print or digital—you need the widest gamut possible.

Choose for a monitor that allows you to make frequent calibrations and one that also covers at least 99% of the Adobe RGB color space.

4. I/O Connections

It is recommended to get a monitor with multiple connections or ports so that you can plug in all your devices.

Make sure your monitor have I/O connections compatible with your workstation, either your laptop or computer.

The monitor you choose should have at least HDMI, dual-link DVI ports, and DisplayPort to be able to plug to most computers and laptops.

5. Price

And of course price can be an important factor when it comes to choosing the right monitor, because who likes to overspend?

Price will often reflect the quality you get, but not always—so it’s your job to choose wisely.

My list includes monitors for designers with different budgets: from very affordable like Samsung U28E590D ($333.23) to best value like BenQ PD3200U ($699.99) to high end like Eizo ColorEdge CG319X ($5,739.00) or Apple Pro Display XDR ($4,793.95) and everything in-between like for example Asus ROG Strix XG438Q ($1,099.00).

So let's dive right into it.

1. Dell UltraSharp U3818DW

This monitor is the #1 on my list for a reason, this 4k display monitor is packed with great value at an affordable price.

The best overall 4k monitor for graphic design to buy in 2021.

This high-end monitor is perfect for design, because it has a wide display and a high Adobe Coverage of a whooping 99%

Price: $1,076.05

Dell UltraSharp U3818DW—Best overall.

Dell UltraSharp U3818DW has a 37.5-inch curved screen that creates a near-complete field view.

What it means in reality is that this monitor provides an almost uniform visual focus that reduces your eye movement across the screen.

So that you’ll be able to work more comfortably with fewer distractions and more productivity.

It’s also good for your eyes as this monitor has a flicker-free screen with ComfortView, a feature that filters harmful blue light emissions.

With Dell UltraSharp U3818DW you can also expect outstanding detail and consistent color across a wide viewing angle.

You’ll be able to multitask like a pro, you will get enough screen space, and the tools and the features you need the most as a designer.

I connect this monitor to my Macbook Pro using Thunderbolt/USB-C cable and it works flawlessly!

Multitasking becomes very easy with such a wide screen (and as a designer you have to!)

So if you’re looking for the best monitor at around $1k—Look no further.

Overall, Dell UltraSharp U3818DW is a great choice if you're looking for the best monitor for Macbook Pro.

Specs

Screen Size: 38 Inches
Resolution: 4K UHD Ultra Wide 1600p
Display Technology: LCD
Brand: Dell
Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Pros

  1. 4K Curved screen.
  2. Blue-light filter.

Cons

  1. Noticeable motion smearing.

2. Eizo ColorEdge CG319X

When it comes to performance monitors, Enzo is the definitely most popular brand among professional graphic designers and artists.

The best performance monitor for professional designers (print & 3d).

This monitor is the ideal tool for 2D and 3D CGI or visual effects, everything from compositing to color grading.

Price: $5,739.00

Eizo ColorEdge CG319X
Eizo ColorEdge CG319X—Best performance

This is absolutely the best 4k monitor you can buy as of now and with a price tag that reflects that as well.

It is the most expensive monitor on my list for a reason: Einzo is the connoisseur’s choice when it comes to high-quality displays.

Eizo ColorEdge CG319X features DCI 4K display with maximum resolution of 4096 x 2160, an excellent contrast ratio of 1500:1, and brightness of 350 cd/m2.

All of which combined will allow you to edit your graphics and images to the tiniest pixel.

On this monitor, the text contours are going to be clear and precise and the photos are going to look as real as it gets.

This LCD display also provides 178 viewing angles, meaning that you can see colors and contrasts as stable.

The CG319X covers 99% of the Adobe RGB color space and the color reproduction is extremely precise, the black are truly black and the colors are as real as they get.

This monitor also offers significant advantages for printing: It covers almost the entire CMYK color space as well.

An absolute must for professional graphic designers, whether it be for print, 3d or video editing.

Specs

Screen Size: 31.1 Inches
Resolution: 4K DCI 2160p
Brand: Eizo
Hardware Interface: DisplayPort, HDMI
Response Time: 9 Milliseconds

Pros

  1. Self-calibration
  2. Many ports
  3. Anti-glare coating

Cons

  1. Very expensive

3. LG 27UL850

Many of the quality 4K monitors can be quite expensive, but the LG 27UL850 gives you great value for a good price.

The best budget (4k) monitor for graphic design.

If you are looking for a 27" monitor that has a good color quality, you won’t be disappointed with this one.

Price: $496.99

LG 27UL850—The most affordable (4k) monitor for graphic design.
LG 27UL850—Most affordable.

This 27” monitor from LG provides superior color control covering 99% of RGB color gamut.

It is a flat display (no curve) with maximum resolution of 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels).

To help you more fully realize your vision as a designer, this monitor is compatible with VESA DisplayHDR 400 high dynamic range (up to 400-nit peak luminance).

What it means in reality is that it supports specific levels of color and brightness that exceed the capabilities of other ordinary monitors.

LG 27UL850 is a great choice for photographers, graphic designers or anyone looking for a quality color reproduction at a decent price point.

I’ve presented you with other more expensive options, but if you don’t do super advanced CGI’s, this monitor will definitely do the job.

If you’re a designer with the budget set at around $500, you won’t find a better deal.

Specs

Screen Size: 27 Inches
Resolution: 4K UHD 2160p
Display Technology: LCD
Brand: LG
Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Pros

  1. Very affordable
  2. Good color gamut

Cons

  1. Bad speakers
  2. No camera

4. BenQ PD3200U

If you didn’t like the previously mentioned affordable monitor from LG, then check out this one from BenQ—a next in line when it comes to value/price ratio.

The best value monitor for video editing and 3D work.

The best thing about this monitor is that it comes in 3 different configurations, so that you choose something that suits you best.

Price: $699.99

BenQ PD3200U—Best value.

BenQ PD3200U offers you 4K UHD (3840x2160) resolution that will provide extraordinary clarity of fine details.

Creative professionals often demand color accuracy as the most important factor when it comes to monitors and BenQ delivers here really well.

Exclusive AQColor technology covers a wide variety of color spaces such as Adobe RGB, sRGB and Rec. 709

This simply ensures that the colors on your screen are the brightest, boldest and most accurate.

BenQ PD3200U is a great choice if you want your animations, visual effects, graphics, and photos look at their best.

This BenQ monitor also offers curated display modes to deliver professional results: Darkroom mode, Animation mode and CAD/CAM mode.

You’ll be able able to adjust the height, tilt, swivel, and pivot to get the perfect fit for your workstation.

You can tilt it 90 degrees when working on web design, or keep in horizontal orientation for regular graphic design work or gaming.

For a professional monitor that offers this variety of features, it is relatively affordable.

Great monitor for any designer who values quality stuff, definitely recommended!

Specs

Screen Size: 32 Inches
Resolution: 4K UHD 2160p
Display Technology: LED
Brand: BenQ

Pros

  1. Good value for price.
  2. Ergonomic design.
  3. Color accuracy.

Cons

  1. Edge shadow effect.

5. Samsung U28E590D

As I mentioned at the very beginning, as a designer you wouldn’t like to buy a monitor with lower resolution than 4k.

The most affordable good quality (4k) monitor for designers.

So if you’re on a budget, this 28” monitor from Samsung is definitely the best deal you can get as a designer (without compromising quality).

Price: $333.23

Samsung U28E590D—The most affordable good quality (4k) monitor for designers.
Samsung U28E590D—Most affordable.

This monitor is a solid choice that delivers beautiful 4K Ultra HD view of everything you design, watch or read.

With Samsung U28E590D you’ll enjoy pretty smooth images, even during fast moving scenes (only 1ms response).

The fast response time provides a steady visual allowing you to work on animations, play games, or just watch movies.

Plus you'll have the advanced power and performance you need to multitask more efficiently.

So if you’re a beginner designer or on a tight budget this is a monitor for you.

Remember that the cheaper the monitor the lower resolution, lesser color accuracy and  more motion blur, judder, and ghosting.

But that’s not the case when we talk about Samsung U28E590D—this is truly the best deal you can get as a designer.

Anything cheaper than that won’t be 4k and it certainly wouldn’t be recommended for graphic design work.

Specs

Screen Size: 28 Inches
Resolution: 4K UHD 2160p
Display Technology: LCD
Brand: SAMSUNG
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Pros

  1. Only 1ms refresh time.
  2. Crisp and bright image.

Cons

  1. Bad viewing angle.
  2. Weak stand.

6. Acer Predator XB273K

If you’re a designer who also likes gaming, then you’ll absolutely love what Acer Predator XB273K can deliver.

The best for gaming, video editing and 3d graphic design.

This monitor from Acer is all about no compromises on gaming performance, color or speed.

Price: $629.99

Acer Predator XB273K—The best monitor for video editing and gaming.
Acer Predator XB273K—Best for gaming.

Acer Predator XB273K delivers 27” (3840 x 2160) monitor that combines excellent specs including an IPS panel that supports ultra-fast 144Hz refresh rate.

And if you’re into gaming or video editing, you know how refresh rate and color accuracy can really make a difference.

This monitor also has VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification (just like LG27UL500 27) but the similarities end there.

You can optimize colors with Quantum Dot Technology which make no color difference when compared with Delta E<1.

Overall, Acer Predator XB273K is a beast for the price—it offers great clarity and response time and even has built-in speakers and LEDs.

A beautiful 4k monitor for video editors and gamers who want an excellent HDR experience.

Specs

Screen Size: 27 Inches
Resolution: 4K UHD 2160p
Display Technology: LED
Brand: Acer

Pros

  • Gaming friendly.
  • Great color reproduction.
  • Low input lag.

Cons

  • Not enough ports.
  • Not best black levels.

7. ViewSonic VP2768

If you don’t mind buying a less known brand in exchange for a better performance, then the ViewSonic VP2768 is your best choice.

The next best cheap monitor that has decent performance.

This is a very aesthetically pleasing monitor with slim bezels, metal stand, thin display—looks and feels much more expensive than it really is.

Price: $379.99

ViewSonic VP2768—The best non-brand and cheap monitor that has good performance.
ViewSonic VP2768—next best cheap.

The ViewSonic VP2768 is a sleek 32-inch 4k UHD monitor with a modern and minimalist look perfect for your home or office.

If you’re a designer looking for a quality monitor—this one will probably give you the most crisp image and good contrast in that price range.

With SuperClear MVA panel technology and 80M:1 dynamic contrast ratio, this monitor offers best in class screen performance with ultra-wide viewing angles.

Moreover, the ultra-slim frameless design combined with 3840 x 2160p resolution makes this monitor look as good as it performs.

Similarly as with more expensive monitors you will get flicker-free technology and blue light filter for your eye comfort.

ViewSonic VP2768 also give you flexible connectivity—this monitor supports laptops PCs and Macs with HDMI DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort inputs.

If you compare it to other monitors at this price range, the colors are brighter and more vivid, and contrast is richer and more detailed.

So if you don’t mind settling for a less known brand, then this monitor is your choice.

You couldn’t get all of these specs for such a low price if you chose one of the bigger brands like Samsung or Dell.

Specs

Screen Size: 32 Inches
Resolution: 4K UHD 2160p
Display Technology: LCD
Brand: ViewSonic
Series: VX3276-4K-MHD

Pros

  • Pleasing aesthetically.
  • Crisp image, good contrast.

Cons

  • Glossy panel.
  • Low quality speakers.

8. Asus ROG Strix XG438Q

If you’re looking for an optimal monitor that you can be used for everything: designing, gaming and watching movies, this is a safe bet!

The most versatile monitor for work and play.

If none of the these monitors mentioned above caught your eye, this huge 42” Asus certainly will.

Price: $1,099.00

Asus ROG Strix XG438Q—The most versatile monitor for work and fun.
Asus ROG Strix XG438Q—Most versatile.

Although as a designer you don’t necessarily need such a big of a screen, it will be certainly appreciated.

Many people ask me the question: “Are gaming monitors good for graphic design?”—The short answer is: YES.

And the reason is that monitors advertised as “gaming monitors” are optimized to display high-level graphics seamlessly, effectively and efficiently.

What matters for gamers often matters for designers as well: high resolution, wide color spectrum, good brightness and contrast, fast refresh rate etc.

Asus ROG Strix XG438Q is a huge 42” non-glare monitor with 120Hz refresh rate for super-smooth visual effects.

It will work well for your video and photo editing work as well as for gaming or watching movies.

A great all-in-one option for those who need one monitor that can do it all.`

Plus, you will get a remote control in the box, so you can even use it as a TV.

Specs

Screen Size: 43 Inches
Resolution: 4K UHD 2160p
Display Technology: LED
Brand: ASUS

Pros

  • Huge 42” screen
  • Fast 120Hz refresh rate

Cons

  • Not great brightness uniformity.
  • Only HDMI 2.0 ports, not 2.1

9. Philips BDM4350UC

If like the idea of designing on a huge TV-like monitor, then you’ll surely like this new display from Philips.

The biggest 4k monitor for space demanding graphic designers.

The expansive 43” Ultra HD display gives you the enormous room to spread out all of your creative apps, so that you can multitask like a pro.

Price: $597.47

Philips BDM4350UC—biggest 4k monitor.

This monitor use an advanced technology which gives you extra wide viewing angles, so that you can view your designs from almost any angle.

Most LCD screens tend to have some fluctuations in brightness and color, but Philips BDM4350UC delivers very accurate and uniform images—which is crucial for photography and printing.

The images are crisp and with vivid colors, making it ideal not only for photo retouching, movies and web browsing, but also for professional graphic design.

Of course it’s not quite as good as the previously mentioned Asus, but for half the price you really can’t complain.

And don’t forget that Philips monitors come with 4-year warranty and replacement in the United States, minimizing any risk.

A great option for graphic designers who want to get a large 4k monitor, but without breaking the bank.

Specs

Screen Size: 43 Inches
Resolution: 4K UHD 2160p
Display Technology: LCD, LED

Pros

  • Huge 43” (size matters).
  • Incredible value.
  • Excellent color accuracy.

Cons

  • A big desk needed.
  • Not the best gamut.

10. Apple Pro Display XDR

My list wouldn’t be complete without a monitor from Apple—the first 32” and 6k display ever created!

The best for pros and designers who love Apple products.

The gorgeous Apple Pro Display XDR delivers super-wide viewing angle, up to 1600 nits of brightness and over a billion of colors!

Price: $4,793.95

Apple Pro Display XDR—Best for pros.

The problem with monitors is that the contrast our eyes see between brightness and darkness is very challenging to reproduce in a display.

A solution to that problem is the development of High Dynamic Range (HDR) and these monitors tend to be more expensive.

However, Pro Display XDR takes brightness, contrast, and color to a whole new level—far beyond HDR, and to what they call Extreme Dynamic Range (XDR).

While most typical monitors will have sustained brightness around 350 nits (pro displays slightly more), this monitor produces an industry-leading 1000 nits!

What it really means to us, designers, is that we can maintain extreme brightness without ever dimming that monitor.

Along with efficient backlight control, you can expect outstanding contrast between the brightest brights and the blackest blacks.

Pro Display XDR will also give you the truest representation of your graphics work thanks to its P3 wide color gamut support.

With such a wide color palette you will be capable of creating the most vibrant imagery.

And moreover, the state-of-the-art calibration and a sophisticated algorithm ensure that you get the most accurate colors possible.

It is also easy to adjust Pro Display XDR to match the requirements of HDR, HD, SD video, digital cinema, and broader uses such as photography, web development, design, and print.

As you can see, this monitor has everything you need in a modern workstation, bringing a new level of efficiency to every designer.

A truly outstanding display (only EINZO compares to it), but of course the price reflects that as well.

Overall, Pro Display XDR is the best monitor for Mac Pro or any other Apple computer for that matter.

Specs

Screen Size: 32 Inches
Resolution: 218
Display Technology: LCD display with oxide TFT technology
Brand: Apple
Hardware Interface: USB Type C, Thunderbolt

Pros

  • Retina 6K resolution (6016 by 3384 pixels).
  • Superior brightness, contrast and color gamut.

Cons

  • Doesn't come with a stand.
  • VESA adapter not included.

Conclusions

While 4K monitors are a bit more expensive than 1080p ones, designers gain the most out of them due to the improved resolution.

There’s a lot of different brands who offer affordable 4k monitors, so depending on your budget, you can get a monitor for as low as $300 or as much as $5,000

And of course the bigger the budget the more vibrant and alive your images you will get.

For any graphic designer a professionally calibrated monitor that covers most of the AdobeRGB or DCI-P3 color space would be recommended.

As a designer, you need to invest in a good monitor, computer and software—this will definitely pay off in the long run.

So while you don’t have to spend a fortune, I strongly recommend you to go for the most expensive monitor you can afford.

Bigger and better screens are undoubtedly a priority when it comes to graphic design.

Do you like any of these above mentioned 4k monitors?

Have some recommendations?—Leave a comment below.

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