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The 5 best graphic design monitors: Technicolor dream screens

What is the best graphic design monitor? The Apple Pro Display XDR is our top recommendation for its awe-inspiring 6K resolution. We focused our research on features like screen size, resolution, panel type, refresh rate, connectivity, price, color accuracy, HDR support, and more.
taylor-clemons
sean-jackson-author.jpg
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer and  Sean Jackson on
Reviewed by Elyse Betters Picaro

A graphic design monitor is a display that is built from the ground up 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 or higher resolutions, 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. 

I've rounded up some of the best graphic design monitors available and have broken down their features, connectivity, and price points to help you find the best fit for your work needs and budget.

Also: Best 4K monitor: Not just for gamers 

Apple Pro Display XDR review | Best graphic design monitor
Apple

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 in even 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 can pair it with the Pro Stand for tilt, height, and swivel adjustments to suit your work style and reduce strain.

Pros:

  • 6K
  • Dolby Vision and HDR10 support
  • Nano-textured glass panel available

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Pro Stand costs $1,000
  • No adaptive sync support
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ASUS

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-PE; 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. 

Pros:

  • Incredible color accuracy
  • Blue light filter
  • USB-C connectivity

Cons:

  • No adaptive sync support
  • No Dolby Vision support
dell-ultrasharp-40-inch-curved.jpg
Dell

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 a Picture-by-Picture mode, you can get the benefit of a dual screen setup on a single monitor. 

Pros:

  • Great color accuracy
  • Integrated speakers
  • Thunderbolt 3

Cons:

  • No adaptive sync
  • No HDR
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LG

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.

Pros:

  • OLED
  • Great color accuracy
  • VRR support
  • HDR10

Cons:

  • No Dolby Vision support
  • No integrated speakers
  • Expensive
ASUS ProArt PQ22UC review | Best graphic design monitor
ASUS

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.

Pros:

  • OLED
  • Excellent color
  • Dolby Vision

Cons:

  • No touch input support
  • No adaptive sync 

What is the best graphic design monitor?

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

Screen size

Resolution

Refresh rate

Apple Pro Display XDR

32 inches

6K

60Hz

ASUS ProArt 32 inch

32 inches

4K

60Hz

Dell UltraSharp 40 curved monitor

40 inches

4K

60Hz

LG UltraFine 32 inch OLED

32 inches

4K

60Hz

ASUS ProArt PQ22UC

22 inches

4K

60Hz

Which graphic design monitor is right for me?

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 ultrawide 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 they 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 or are…

Apple Pro Display XDR

Best overall

ASUS ProArt 32 inch

Best color accuracy 

Dell UltraSharp 40 curved monitor

Best ultrawide

LG UltraFine 32 inch OLED

Best OLED monitor

ASUS ProArt PQ22UC

Best portable 

How did we choose these monitors?

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.

Do graphic designers need a 4K monitor?

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.

Are curved monitors good for graphic design?

That depends on what you're doing, but for most applications, a curved screen is just as good (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. 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.

Do graphic designers need HDR?

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 work with photo or video editing or finely detailed digital art.

Are there alternative graphic design monitors worth considering?

There are plenty of options out there for graphic design monitors. Here's a short list of other displays that I think are great choices:

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