As a designer, we like our space. Therefore, having just that extra bit of monitor space can significantly impact your day-to-day UI, UX, or graphic design work. However, it is getting harder to pick the best monitor for design with today’s increasing number of monitors.
That’s where this post comes in. We’re going to provide you with a list of the features and specifications you have to keep in mind when you’re looking for a new monitor as a part of your UX equipment. We’ll also include a few monitor suggestions based on these specs and features to help you out.
Table of Contents
Just as we did with our best laptop for UX designers post, we will start with the recommendations. We don’t want to take too much of your time. That’s why we will provide you with a checklist of the actual specs at the end of this post. Of course, if you want, you can then pick your monitor for UI and UX design yourself.
The best monitor for designers
Further down this post, we will describe several design monitor specifications. If you put them all together, you will get the following list. Therefore, your next design monitor should have at least the following specs.
- Screen size: at least 22 inches.
- Resolution: at least 1440p.
- Panel: IPS.
- Color depth: 8-bit.
- I/O Connectivity: depends on your setup.
The best monitor you can get has slightly higher specs than the list we wrote about just now. For our suggestion, we’re going for a bigger screen that has a color depth of 10-bit. Take a look at our tips below.
The best monitor we can suggest for UX and UI designers is the LG 34GP83A-B. We have been using this monitor for over a year for our day-to-day UI and UX work. It has been an absolute delight. Here’s why.
It has a resolution of 144p on a 34-inch ultrawide screen. In addition, the monitor has a 10-bit color depth, an IPS panel with a 144hz refresh rate, and HDR support, making it a fantastic choice for almost any designer.
The best budget monitor for under 500 dollars
The monitor we suggested just above is well over 500 dollars. That’s expensive! Luckily enough, there are cheaper alternatives that will get you a quality graphic design monitor as well.
Take a look at the LG 27GL83A-B, for example. It is 27 inches in size as well and has an IPS panel. However, it does not have a 4K resolution.
For just under 400 dollars, it is the best monitor for UI and UX design you can get at this price point. Check it out on Amazon over here.
What should I look for in a design monitor?
Monitors have an incredible number of specifications to keep in mind. There are tens, if not hundreds, of things to keep in mind. We’ve broken down the list to just a handful of essentials. If you manage to follow these, you will most definitely get yourself a monitor that’s well suited for UI and UX design work.
The size of a monitor is measured diagonally from the two opposite corners of the display. You calculate this using inches. Most monitors for design work start around 22 inches and can go up to well over 30 inches.
Today’s monitors come in a different number of aspect ratios. We have the traditional 16:9 widescreen, 21:9 ratio, and ultrawide displays. Keep in mind that bigger monitors are more expensive. The jumps in price get more significant as the monitor gets bigger as well.
Determining the right size for your design needs also depends on the screen size of your laptop and whether or not you already have another monitor that you can use. For example, if you already have a 15″ design laptop, you will not need a second monitor as much as when you only have a 13″ laptop.
There is no ideal screen size. We use 34-inch monitors for our design work, but that is in part personal preference. Having a bigger monitor gives you more possibilities, of course, but that comes at a price.
Out of all monitor specifications, the screen resolution is the one that is most commonly known. You might have heard of labels like Full HD, 4K, 1440p, or 2160p. This label is what determines the monitor resolution.
You measure the resolution of a monitor by counting the number of pixels in a vertical or horizontal row. For example, you count 4K and 2160p vertically. Full HD, or 1080p, is calculated by measuring the pixels in a vertical row.
In the case of selecting a monitor for design work, the saying “bigger is better” applies here. High resolutions result in a more crisp display of your design on-screen. The only thing to keep in mind is that higher resolution monitors require more from your GPU.
We suggest going for at least a 1440p monitor.
The panel of a monitor is what sits in the back of the screen. It determines the color depth and usable viewing angle of your monitor. Three common panel types are IPS, TN, and VA. Here’s what they’re all about.
- TN panels have a higher refresh rate, making them a better choice for PC gaming.
- IPS is considered to be the best panel type for design monitors. It has the best color range and a wide viewing angle. However, this makes monitors that have this type of panel more expensive than TN and VA panels.
- VA panels are a good average between TN and IPS panels. They aren’t too bad, but they also don’t stand out.
We suggest monitors that have an IPS panel for designing.
Monitors with a higher color depth can display a higher number of colors. As a designer, this is very important. The color depth in most of today’s monitors is either 8-bit or 10-bit.
The most commonly used color depth is called 8-bit. It means that your monitor can display well over 16 million colors. Monitors that have a 10-bit color depth can show over a billion different colors. These types of monitors are better suited for designing, watching movies, and video editing. However, as you could’ve guessed, 10-bit monitors are more expensive than 8-bit monitors.
Gray-scale is another crucial aspect of having excellent color depth. The level of the grayscale is also determined by the panel type you use. Especially graphic designers need to be able to see their designs on a monitor that closely resembles the way it will look when printed.
Our suggestion is to go for a 10-bit display if you can afford it. You can go for an 8-bit display if you’re on a budget.
You will need to connect your new design monitor to your computer, laptop, and maybe even some other devices as well. The ports available on a machine are what we call the I/O connectivity.
For monitors, the ports need to align with the ports on your laptop. For example, if you have a Mac with only USB-C connectivity, you will need a monitor with the same ports. Otherwise, you’ll need to use converters or docks. It makes sense to think of this before you purchase a monitor. But, again, it is an easy thing that can just slip by you.
Monitors usually have USB-C or HDMI output. Keep that in mind. Other ports that can be interesting to your needs are the AUX or USB-A output for speakers and external hard drives.
Frequently asked questions
Selecting a new monitor that fits your type of design work is quite a challenge. As a result, we receive a lot of questions. Here are the most frequently asked questions we can answer to help you purchase the best monitor for design available today.
Do I need a 4K monitor as a graphic designer?
No, you do not need a 4K monitor for graphic design. To create 4K design work, you do not need a monitor displaying a 4K image. Instead, you can zoom in and pan to see your work.
Keep in mind that having a second monitor requires a high-performance laptop as well. The more pixels you have to display, the stronger your laptop has to be. It also applies to having more than one extra monitor for your design work.
So, to answer your question, if your laptop can handle it and you have the money, go for it. However, it is not a requirement. You can do your graphic design work just fine on a 1440p or 1080p display.
Are curved monitors worth it?
Yes, for professional designers, curved monitors are worth it. In most cases, curved monitors are slightly more expensive than flat monitors. The benefits, however, weigh up to the additional costs. For example, a curved monitor causes less strain on the eyes and has a better viewing angle.
As a designer, having a better field of view is essential. You’ll see the on-screen color in a better way. It means that you can be more productive while being more efficient and less taxing on your mental health and eyes. If that’s not worth it, we don’t know what is.
Are IPS monitors good for design?
IPS, or in-plane switching, monitors are considered to be the best panel type you can get today. So yes, this type of monitor panel is very good for all kinds of design. This includes graphic, visual, and UX design.
Graphic designers need to have a monitor that displays a wide range of colors under a wide viewing angle. That’s exactly what IPS monitors do.
It is essential to have a good monitor when you are a designer. However, there’s more to a complete workspace than just the monitor. Have you considered getting yourself a laptop stand that’s good for your posture? Check out our post on laptop stands.
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