A graphic design monitor is one of the most important pieces of hardware a design professional can buy. Look for the right technical specifications, including color accuracy, screen size, panel type, resolution, and more.
Use our guide below to streamline the process of buying a professional graphic design monitor. Or see how ViewSonic put it all together into making professional monitors.
Those new to graphic design may not place picking a graphic design monitor at the top of their priority list, but it might be the difference between success and failure. Graphic design is all about creating designs that leave lasting impressions and communicate a message to the viewer. In essence, it creates a bridge between the designer and the viewer.
If you’re a graphic designer, then you know the ins and outs of the world of graphic design and the significance that presentation plays. Getting positive reviews on any form of graphic design work is all about how the design is visually presented.
What Are Graphic Design Monitors, and What Are They Good For
Would you design graphics with your shades on? Probably not. Portraying the wrong colors on-screen is exactly why having the wrong monitor can be perilous to your work. As such, obtaining a high-resolution graphic design monitor is one of the best ways you can ensure that your work will stand out visually. Needless to say, this is one investment you definitely want to make for the sake of your career path as a graphic designer.
The Drawbacks of Graphic Design Monitors
Before getting into the areas you should be looking into prior to purchasing an ideal graphic design monitor, let’s consider the drawbacks.
Oftentimes, when it comes to purchasing electronics, customers are duped into purchasing products with unnecessary features. Of course, avoidance of this issue is easier said than done. That said, it’s understandable. In today’s well-marketed and materialistic world, it is easy to find yourself wrongly swayed. Though, if you read up on graphic design monitors, the following factors should help keep your decision-making on the level.
Don’t ever select a monitor simply because it looks cooler than the others. A monitor that is very slim may look attractive, but that’s pretty much as far as it goes. The monitor’s internal specifications are what determine how well it will perform, not the exterior. As they say, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, so too, don’t judge a monitor solely on its looks.
Built-in speakers, a good range of USB ports, and a proper TV Tuner shouldn’t distract you from considering a monitor’s internal setup. Even though these are great features for a monitor to possess, they do not guarantee an overall high-quality product.
If you are a certified graphic designer, as opposed to a professional gamer, response time shouldn’t really matter. Basically, the response time determines the time delay when a rapid action takes place on the screen. For gamers, as many actions are taking place on-screen within short periods of time, a good response time ensures the gamer’s ability to play at proper speed, without lags on screen.
What to Look for in Potential Graphic Design Monitors
Serious graphic designers want a display that not only brings an optimal level of performance but also includes a high resolution. In today’s world of wireless connections, a good display is properly wired with the newest routes for connectivity. After all, the world runs on the ability to remain connected and linked. When it comes to purchasing the right monitor, a serious graphic designer knows that there’s more to it than simple numbers. That’s part of what makes ViewSonic’s VP line of monitors so attractive.
As with all other technology, purchasing a monitor requires you to do some background reading. While there are quite a few selections out there, unless you know the exact specifications, you might end up purchasing an LCD that doesn’t present your work with justice.
The following provides you with a list of things you want to consider before finalizing on any monitor purchases.
Gray-Scale and Color Accuracy
Graphic designers need colors that will match the on-screen display with as much precision as its print out. This necessitates a monitor that can display a good accuracy of the colors being used. For this, color accuracy and consistency are essential.
Some of the finest monitors come with in-built blue light filters. The blue light that is emitted by fluorescent and LED lights is considered the worst type of light for our eyes so a blue light filter works miracles for our eyes in the long run.
This is where your hunt begins for a model that uses top-notch technology like the AH-IPS panel. For those who are hearing it for the first time, it’s an Advanced High-performance In-Plane Switching panel. In order to be able to perform regular calibrations, the monitor should cover well over 99 percent of the Adobe RGB color area. (The term color gamut may also come up.) It’s best if the monitor has a 10-, 12- or 14-bit lookup table (LUT) so that you can perform regular calibrations with ease.
When it comes to color consistency, fortunately, there are many professional monitors in the market that feature software and hardware calibration tools. You can opt to purchase a third party calibration solution if you aren’t satisfied with the options. A monitor that has an efficient IPS panel can display different shades of dark and light gray, this helps determine the level of shadow and highlight you will see on your screen.
Another huge advantage of using the IPS technology is the fact that it provides you the option of wide viewing angles of excellent color luminosity and fidelity, whether viewed from the top, bottom or any other sides.
For some graphic designers, screen size is not a factor. However, those working with high-resolution image files that contain great detail, size does matter.
Office size is, of course, a matter of concern, especially if multiple screens are needed. Those working on several projects at once would prefer utilizing maximum space of the screen so that a number of projects can be viewed on the same screen. If you are looking to minimize the space your screen takes up but want the luxury of viewing several projects at a glance, opt for 29-inch WQHD monitors that are ultra-wide.
However, it’s important you keep in mind that bigger doesn’t always mean better. Don’t sacrifice your monitor’s display performance just to get a bigger screen. If you intend to play games or watch movies, just go for a TV rather than a monitor.
Many may not know this, but the panel actually determines how good your graphic design monitor actually is. There are a few types of panels in the market, they are as follows:
- Twisted Nematic or TN panels – These are the cheapest ones and the most available due to their affordable prices. This type has the fastest response time but response time shouldn’t be the highest priority for a designer when working. The colors and viewing angles are actually not all that great on this panel; this will distort the appearance of your designs.
- Vertical Alignment or VA panels – Even though not as popular as other options, this panel type is a midrange choice. VA panels are significantly more expensive than the TN ones. Performance-wise, they aren’t worth it in terms of price. Even though they have features that are better than the TN panels, the price range is almost as much as the next type of panels, making it a better choice to go for the IPS monitors.
- In-Plane Switching or IPS monitors – These are possibly the best choice for price versus performance. They are typically higher in price than VA panels, but the difference in performance makes it worth it. With IPS monitors, you will get great viewing angles and accurate color rendition.
- Super IPS panels – The objective of this panel was to get a faster response time sided with a better color rendition while keeping the price low. Many users opt for this panel due to its friendly pricing combined with good specifications.
Pixel resolution is a huge must-have for a graphic designer. When it comes to resolution, the greater it is, the better it is. This is especially true for work that is comprehensive or meticulous. High-resolution graphic design monitors will cost you considerably more than Full HD monitors. However, they are worth it in the long run if visual fidelity is a top priority.
Ultra-High-Definition or UHD monitors offer some of the highest possible resolutions, standing at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. Then you have the Wide-Quad HD or WQHD, which stands at 2,560 x 2,160 pixels, trailed by Wide-Quad HD (WQHD), standing at 2,560 x 1,440 pixels.
With all the resolution options available, it can sometimes get confusing. Check out this article to learn more: What Is Monitor Resolution? Resolutions and Aspect Ratios Explained
It’s more than likely that you’ll be spending a significant amount of your time glued to the graphic design monitor as you try to chalk out the best of your work. Therefore, it’s best to go with a model that comes with an ergonomic stand. The ergonomic stand will allow you to modify the height as well as rotate the panel for the best viewing options. A stand that allows you to turn the screen a good 90 degrees is more convenient than a screen that only shifts halfway. The times you work with lengthy documents or extensive websites truly tell just how handy a pivoting screen can be.
As for ports that allow you to plug in thumb drives or to charge your phones, these ports should be placed beside the cabinet, making for easy reach. A card reader slot may also come in handy, especially if you end up having to upload files and your desktop is located underneath your desk.
Preferably, your graphic design monitor display should have DisplayPort 1.2, dual-link DVI ports, and HDMI. If you need to connect multiple monitors, you’ll want a model that has Thunderbolt-in and -out ports or a DisplayPort 1.2.
Irrelevant to the nature of the product, the cost is a primary factor before any purchase. When you compare prices for high-end monitors in the market, it’s difficult to avoid putting in a good amount of money to purchase a monitor fit for the job.
You can expect to spend a few thousand bucks, anywhere starting from $800 to $1,200 for a 27-inch WQHD display, to $3,000 or more for a 32-inch UHD monitor, and above $500 for a 24-inch model.
If you do some hunting around, you are bound to find a few good deals, especially during the holiday season. But keep in mind that with graphic design work, you want the best color performance that will do justice to your work. So, it’s best not to go for something less than optimal simply to save some money. Investment on this front will pay off in the long run.
If you are confused or can’t make up your mind on the specifications, feel free to speak to specialists regarding monitors that go best with your budget as well as your line of work. Make sure to look into the specifics of the monitor more than the price as the specifics will either make or break the deal for a graphic designer’s future.
Do You End up with a Defective Monitor?
The world of electronics is such that there is always the possibility of ending up with a bad apple: an item that has defects. Even after doing your research and choosing the best possible monitor, you may end up with one that just doesn’t live up to its expectations. Sometimes even warranties are useless when there is an internal defect that just cannot be fixed.
In such cases, don’t lose hope. Take it as a learning experience. Save up and opt for another monitor. If you take proper care of your electronics, they are bound to last you a good few years before calling it quits. The positive side to this is, once you find a good graphic design monitor, whether it be from ViewSonic’s VP series or otherwise, it can change the whole output quality of your profile, thereby helping you establish your name in a growingly competitive field.