It is time to retire my old MacBook Pro which served me well for over 5 years, since I dont require portability I am leaning towards buying an iMac 27 with 5K display. I work as a web designer and my question is:

  • How will a Retina display affect a website design workflow?

I found this interesting article but I am interested in your personal experience and opinions.

  • 5
    Personally I am of the opinion of "use something like you expect most users to have" - and that isnt 5k! Nov 10, 2015 at 9:29
  • Hi Wojtek, welcome to GDSE and thanks for your question. If you want to know more about the site, please see the help center or ping one of us in the Graphic Design Chat once your reputation is sufficient (20). Keep contributing and enjoy the site!
    – Vincent
    Nov 10, 2015 at 13:08
  • What does the article say? Please include a synopsis--that way, your question is still of value if the link breaks at a later time.
    – Vincent
    Nov 10, 2015 at 13:08
  • You could go either way. I would use the Retina. You can always test on your old Macbook if you wanted. I use an older Macbook and have no problem using it. Nov 10, 2015 at 16:36
  • You might want to read a few more articles on this: google.com/…
    – go-junta
    Nov 10, 2015 at 21:29

2 Answers 2


Retina displays are definitely suitable for web design. There are some things you should understand when using them though.

  • Typically, Apple’s “Retina” branding is applied when a display is 220 pixels per inch (PPI) or higher.
  • 220PPI+ displays are common, especially on mobile devices.
  • One CSS pixel (px) is equal to two display pixels on Retina Macs. CSS pixels are an abstracted unit of measurement. They relate to the pixels on the display, but they are not always mapped 1:1.
  • One macOS point = one CSS pixel (except when zoomed etc).
  • The 5K iMac’s screen uses the Display P3 colour space. This might actually be the biggest hurdle when using a new iMac. You’ll have to be careful on how your design tools of choice are set up, and there will be some situations where colours appear oversaturated — currently that happens in Chrome, Sketch and software that doesn’t handle colour management well (I expect these issues to be fixed eventually).

Designs will look small, and you need to work with 144ppi if you would like to get 100% view like in your non-retina screen. With 5k retina you'll get the most smooth design ever, nothing is comparable to it! I recommend you to use Sketch App for web/app design because it doesn't have the 72ppi issue

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.