Display Choices for Creative Professionals

Ben Greiner -

We really hope all our readers have LCD or LED displays at this point. If you have a CRT display then you need to know that the average life span of an office CRT display is 3-5 years and the average life-span of a color accurate CRT display is only 3 years. If you still have a CRT monitor you need to get a new LCD or LED display. When it comes to displays used by creative professionals, only a few are SWOP Certified

Although LCD screens and parts from different vendors often meet the same specifications on paper, displays are not created equal and the electronics and backlighting are not the same. In today’s all-digital workflow, displays are often the only form of feedback designers have regarding the color choices they make. If the display is wrong then the color of the printed piece is seldom what’s expected.

Color Critical Work

The sampling of displays listed below are recommended for color critical work.


  • Retail price: $999 (27-inch) NOTE: Apple Enterprise pricing for our clients is currently $899
  • Resolution: Up to 2560 by 1440 pixels
  • Display colors: 16.7 million
  • Viewing angle: 178° horizontal; 178° vertical
  • Brightness: 375 cd/m2
  • Contrast ratio: 1000:1
  • Response time: 12 ms
  • Compatibility: Mini DisplayPort-enabled Mac notebooks and desktops. MagSafe connector that charges your notebook.
  • Additional: iSight, microphone, built in AC power cord, three USB 2.0 ports and 49-watt speaker system
  • Warranty: 90 days of free telephone technical support, one-year limited warranty, ability to purchase AppleCare to extend your service and support to three years from date of purchase.


  • MultiSync Widescreen series recommended (least expensive model: LCD2490WUXi2-BK)
  • $899 estimated street price (24-inch)
  • MultiSync P221W-BK Widescreen with Wide Color Gamut (a good monitor for the money)
  • Retail price: $459 NEC online store (22-inch)
  • MultiSync PA241W-BK Widescreen with Wide Color Gamut
  • $1,079 estimated street price (24-inch)
  •  MultiSync PA271W-BK Widescreen with Wide Color Gamut
  • $1,399 estimated street price (27-inch)


  • ColorEdge models recommended
  • Retail price: starting at $1,200 (21-inch)


  • All models are good.
  • Retail price: starting at $899 (24-inch)

Day-to-day Office Work

The displays below are fine for typical office work, but are NOT recommended for color critical work.


  • Great prices, but not recommended for creative professionals.
  • Dell Professional P2411H 24" ($250) looks good.
  • Retail price: cheap and includes 3-year warranty!

NEC - EA241WM 24-inch ($380)

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