Computer monitor guide for architects, architecture students, artists & designers (2019)



Architects and designers spend a huge amount of time in front of their computer screens, and rely heavily on what the monitor is displaying and how the colours, brightness and contrasts are presented.

The image quality needs to be accurate, so that when a drawing, diagram or image is opened on an alternative screen or physically printed, it will appear exactly as you want it.

As architects, designers, and students you need to aim for at the very minimum, a 24 inch sized screen with the highest resolution your budget can stretch to.

To provide a short answer to the question of which is the best suited monitor for architecture and design work, the below three examples (priced in descending order) do the job very well:

Best high-end monitor for architects and designers

- Dell UP3216Q UltraSharp Monitor

Resolution –  3840 x 2160  LCD

Aspect Ratio  16:9

Dimensions – 87.81 x 55.5 x 26.59 cm

Angle of view – 178 degrees

Screen Size – 31.5 inches

Refresh rate – 75HZ

Best mid-range monitor for architects, students and designers

- Dell U2715H UltraSharp Monitor

Resolution –  2560×1440 LED display

Aspect Ratio  16:9

Dimensions – 61.27 x 4.64 x 52.5 cm

Angle of view – 178 degrees

Screen Size – 24 inches

Refresh rate – 60HZ

Best budget monitor for architecture students and young designers

- ASUS VS248HR Monitor

Resolution –  1920x1080 LED display

Aspect Ratio  4:3

Dimensions – 20.55 x 57.32 x 41.23 cm

Angle of view – 170 degrees

Screen Size – 24 inches

Refresh rate – 60HZ

But to investigate this in more detail and research into how to choose the best monitor for you, continue reading... 

Physical size

When selecting the right sized monitor its important to stay within individual budget constraints and being wary of the available desk space you have.

For architects and designers however, when it comes to size the bigger the better. You will rarely buy a computer monitor that is too large and wish you went smaller.

Screen resolution

The resolution of a screen refers to the dimensions of the screen in pixels, which when combined with a physical display size (the aspect ratio), the more pixels you have the sharper it will be.

Ideally to get the best experience out of your monitor you need to aim for a 4K display, these are not cheap however. So if this is not an option, do not go lower a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is most commonly 1,920 x 1,080 (FHD, or full HD). Full HD screens have an aspect ratio of 16:9

Screen size

Screen sizes are measured on the length of the screens diagonal dimension, and much like the above, buy the largest size your budget allows with a minimum aspect ratio of 16:9.

Refresh rate / frequency

The refresh rate of a screen is shown by the number of "Hz" it has. This number demonstrates the frame rate of the monitor by showing how many times it will refresh per second.

The higher the number the smoother interface will be.

As a starting point, you should be looking at a minimum refresh rate of 60Hz. However, as specifications and costs increase the refresh rates go up to 120Hz, 144Hz and even 200Hz at the very high end. 

These will provide a noticeably smoother performance, but do require a powerful graphics card in order to be used to their full potential, and so be careful that you dont also need to upgrade this.

Viewing angle

Viewing angle refers to how readable the screen is when you look at it side on and how consistent the colours are. Most monitors tend to have a 178-degree viewing angle (VA), but cheaper options may be lower. This becomes particularly relevant when more that one person may be looking at the screen, for example if the monitor will be used for presentations or for watching movies on.

Connections and features

Be sure to check and locate the monitors connection ports, the input connections on the display need to be compatible with the output connections on your computer or laptop. If not you’ll need to buy an adapter.

A lot of monitors now come with USB ports, these can be super useful for plugging in external hardrives and memory sticks without having to duck under your desk to your desktop tower.

The length of the power and input cables is worth mentioning, especially if your monitor will not be sat next to your computer. There's nothing worse that having to locate your monitor in a place where it reaches rather than where you want it.

If you have multiple displays, you may firstly require an adapter but could also need to connect to a different input type, for example Apples Thunderbolt monitor requires an HDMI input which may affect the capabilities on each display.

Screen stand

Screen stands come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and whilst most stands are more that capable of doing their job, a lot of them are quite ugly. So considering that you will be looking at it on a daily basis, its important to not overlook this area of a monitor design and choose one that you like.

In terms of its performance and if you have the choice, always choose a monitor setup with an adjustable stand that allows you to alter the height and rotation of the screen. 

Its also very beneficial to have an adjustable tilting screen function to change its angle.

General appearance  

As with the screen stand, architects and designers like well designed objects, so choose one that you find attractive, which for many is synonymous with "thin bezels." You'll be spending a lot of time in front of it.

Number of screens

Lots of architects and designers like to extend their workspace with a second (and sometime a third) screen. The advantages to this when using 2D and 3D modelling software are that with two screens, one can be completely devoted to your workspace and the other the tool bars and menus.

It is a luxury to have, but one that can improve your day to day working environment.

Ideally when choosing a second screen or buying two together, they want to both be the same in size and resolution. This enables you work comfortably on either one without worrying about image and colour differentiations, which is particularly relevant during image production and editing.

The Best Monitors for Architects, Architecture Students & Designers continued...

- Samsung U28E590D Monitor

Resolution –  3840x2160 LCD

Aspect Ratio  16:9

Dimensions – 66.09 x 66.17 x 1.84 cm

Angle of view – 170 degrees

Screen Size – 28 inches

Refresh rate – 60HZ


- LG 27UD88 Monitor

Resolution –  3840x2160 LCD

Aspect Ratio  16:9

Dimensions – 66.09 x 66.17 x 1.84 cm

Angle of view – 170 degrees

Screen Size – 28 inches

Refresh rate – 60HZ


- BenQ GL2580H Monitor

Resolution –  1920 x 1080 LCD

Aspect Ratio  16:9

Dimensions – 55.8 x 17.5 x 42.6 cm

Angle of view – 170 degrees

Screen Size – 24.5 inches

Refresh rate – 83HZ


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