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A graphic design monitor is a display built for creative professionals. They feature ultra-high definition resolutions as well as ultra-high color accuracy, which is important when dealing with both digital and print art.
Many graphic design monitors have 4K resolutions or higher, which means you'll get better detailing than a 1080p or 1440p screen. They also usually have some sort of HDR support for better color saturation, contrast, and detailing than without it. Some screens, like the Asus ProArt, are factory calibrated for Delta E<2 accuracy or Calman Verified so you can create with confidence. Others are compatible with aftermarket calibration tools like the SpyderX Pro so you can ensure color accuracy.
If you're treating yourself or a loved one, I have rounded up some of the best graphic design monitors available and broken down their features, connectivity, and price points to help you find the best fit for your needs and budget.
Also: The best 4K monitors you can buy
Apple Pro Display XDR tech specs: Screen size: 32 inches | Resolution: 6K | Panel type: Apple Retina | HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Connectivity: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, USB 3.1 | Adaptive sync: No
Bar none, the Apple Pro Display XDR is the gold standard when it comes to displays for graphic designers and other creative professionals. The 32-inch screen produces absolutely stunning 6K resolution, not only giving you tons of vivid colors and lifelike detailing, but also allowing you to future-proof your work setup as the industry comes to embrace ultra-high definition graphics beyond 4K.
It also supports Dolby Vision and HDR10, so video editors can take advantage of smoother playback and detail rendering. It also has a peak brightness of 1600 nits, and you can choose a nano-textured glass panel to help improve visibility even in very bright rooms. The nano-textured glass isn't as glossy as a regular screen, reducing glare from overhead lights and windows. You can either wall mount the Pro Display XDR or you pair it with the Pro Stand for tilt, height, and swivel adjustments to suit your work style and reduce strain.
Asus ProArt 32-inch tech specs: Screen size: 32 inches | Resolution: 4K | Panel type: IPS | HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 400 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Connectivity: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, USB 3.1 | Adaptive sync: No
The Asus ProArt 32-inch monitor is the best of the best when it comes to color accuracy. It can produce up to 100% of the sRGB and Adobe RGB color gamuts as well as 98% DCI-P3. It's even Calman Verified for Delta E<2 accuracy right out of the box, so you can get started painting, editing, and drawing incredibly vivid and lifelike images right away.
It has Picture-in-Picture and Picture-by-Picture modes, making it perfect for multitasking in different programs or pulling up reference photos for drawings and paintings. There is also a built-in blue light filter to help reduce eye strain during long days in front of the screen.
Kelly Indah, editor-in-chief at Increditools, had a stellar experience with this monitor. Indah has been using it for a while, with noteworthy results.
"I worked on a project recently where I needed vibrant designs," Indah told ZDNET. "This monitor's Ultra HD resolution, HDR, and wide color gamut made getting the colors spot-on a breeze. It's like it read my mind!"
Indah cautions that the ProArt isn't for gamers because it doesn't have Adaptive-Sync or high refresh rates. It is, however, a high-performing graphic design monitor with a durable build and auto-calibration with an integrated meter.
"If you're serious about design, I'd definitely recommend giving this monitor a try," Indah said.
Dell UltraSharp 40-inch curved monitor tech specs: Screen size: 40 inches | Resolution: 4K | Panel type: Curved IPS HDR: No | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Connectivity: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, USB 3.1 | Adaptive sync: No
The Dell UltraSharp 40 is a great option for those who need more screen real estate for their work. The curved design of the screen means less glare from ambient light as well as a more comfortable viewing experience. It produces up to 100% of the sRGB color palette as well as 98% DCI-P3 for accuracy without the need for professional calibration.
It also has dual integrated speakers, which are perfect for animators and video editors to sync audio and video without the need for a headset. This monitor features Thunderbolt 3 connectivity for file transfers, device charging, and chaining displays for multitasking. And with Picture-by-Picture mode, you can get the benefit of a dual-screen setup on a single monitor.
"What sets this monitor apart from others is its ability to adjust to different lighting conditions with ease, thanks to its anti-glare coating and flicker-free technology," Vaibhav Kakkar, CEO of Digital Web Solutions, told ZDNET. Kakkar uses a Dell Ultrasharp monitor daily, and says that it excels in multitasking between different applications as well as in graphic design.
LG UltraFine 32-inch OLED tech specs: Screen size: 32 inches | Resolution: 4K | Panel type: OLED | HDR: VESA DisplayHDR 400, HDR10 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Connectivity: HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-C, USB 3.1 | Adaptive sync: Yes
LG has managed to shrink its OLED technology used in TVs into a 32-inch monitor for a true powerhouse for creative professionals. The OLED panel has 8 million individually lit pixels, which means deeper blacks, brighter colors, and enhanced detailing without the need for HDR, though it does support both VESA DisplayHDR 400 and HDR10. As if that wasn't already impressive, it can produce up to 99% of both DCI-P3 and AdobeRGB color ranges and a 1 million to 1 contrast ratio.
This monitor also acts as a connectivity hub with USB-C, USB 3.0, DisplayPort, and HDMI inputs for connecting peripherals, storage devices, and even extra displays when you need more space for work. And unlike the other displays on this list, the LG UltraFine OLED monitor features a Dynamic Action Sync mode for matching variable refresh rates from different sources to prevent screen tearing and stuttering.
Asus ProArt PQ22UC tech specs: Screen size: 22 inches | Resolution: 4K | Panel type: OLED | HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10 | Refresh rate: 60Hz | Connectivity: Micro HDMI, USB-C | Adaptive sync: No
If you're a freelance or remote creative professional, it's a must to have a display that can go with you wherever you need to be. The Asus ProArt portable monitor is a near-perfect solution for working on the go. The 22-inch screen connects to your laptop or tablet with micro HDMI or USB-C cables, and the OLED panel produces 4K resolution as well as 100% sRGB and 99% Adobe RGB color gamuts.
It supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 for even better detailing, and the 400-nit peak brightness means you can see your work no matter where you are. The only complaint I have is that it doesn't support touch inputs, so you'll have to bring your tablet or 2-in-1 laptop with you when you use this screen.
The Apple Pro Display XDR is the best graphic design monitor, based on our research of monitor features such as screen size, resolution, panel type, refresh rate, connectivity, price, color accuracy, HDR support, and more. Moreover, we provided this table to help you see how the best graphic design monitors measure up to each other in key metrics:
Best graphic design monitor
Apple Pro Display XDR
Asus ProArt 32 inch
Dell UltraSharp 40 curved monitor
LG UltraFine 32 inch OLED
Asus ProArt PQ22UC
Once you've recovered from sticker shock while shopping for a new graphic design monitor, you'll want to choose a screen that is big enough for you to see the details of your work without it overwhelming your desk. All the screen space of an ultra-wide monitor may be tempting, but you'll regret buying one if you have a small workspace or desk.
An OLED monitor is hard to find, but is well worth the work and price, since it can give you exceptional contrast, colors, and detailing that will be closer to what you will see in print.
This buying tree can help you determine the best fit for your needs:
Choose this graphic design monitor…
If you want…
Apple Pro Display XDR
The best overall monitor for graphic design. The 32-inch screen has 6K resolution so you're a step above the competition.
Asus ProArt 32 inch
The best graphic design monitor for color accuracy. It can produce up to 100% of the sRGB and Adobe RGB color gamuts as well as 98% DCI-P3.
Dell UltraSharp 40 curved monitor
The best ultra-wide design screen. The curvature of the screen lends itself to a more comfortable viewing experience.
LG UltraFine 32 inch OLED
The best OLED monitor. It has 8 million individually lit pixels, which means deeper blacks, brighter colors, and enhanced detailing without the need for HDR.
Asus ProArt PQ22UC
The best portable monitor for graphic design. This monitor is ideal for working on the go, with an OLED panel that produces 4K resolution.
Aside from price -- because monitors designed specifically for creative professionals tend to run on the expensive side no matter what -- I chose monitors that had ultra-high definition resolutions and high color accuracy. Both are important when dealing with digital art, photos, and video editing. I also looked at connectivity, HDR support, and refresh rates.
You don't necessarily need a 4K monitor, per se, but you do want a higher resolution than 1080p. A 1200p or 1440p screen will do the job, but it often doesn't have the same color accuracy or contrast ratios.
It also doesn't ever have HDR support, which is important when dealing with finely detailed images.
It depends on what you're doing, but for most applications, a curved screen is just as good as (or sometimes better than) a flat screen. If you're doing web design, you'll want a flat panel monitor, since that's what most people will be using; and you'll want your work to look as close as possible to what they'll see in the end.
Meanwhile, if you're editing photos or working with digital paintings and drawings, a curved monitor is a great choice. They reduce glare and make it more comfortable to view the entire piece.
This question has a similar answer to whether or not you need 4K: not necessarily. A 4K monitor usually will have some sort of HDR support, whether it's VESA DisplayHDR, Dolby Vision, or HDR10. Lower resolutions will not.
And while it isn't a hindrance for most kinds of creative work, it may be worth it to spend the extra money on a 4K monitor with HDR support if you edit photos, videos, or finely detailed digital art.
There are plenty of options out there for graphic design monitors. Here's a short list of other displays that I think are also great choices:
This 27-inch 4K monitor offers an adjustable viewing experience, color accuracy, and consistency.
This gaming monitor has a high refresh rate and a curved interface that matches the curve of the human eye. It's suitable for graphic design as well due to its immersive experience.
This 43-inch monitor has a response time of 1 ms and a 144 Hz refresh rate, making it suitable for both gaming and graphic design.