My TFT Monitor has Colour issues - How can I solve them?

I design websites on an Dell Inspiron 9400/E1705 laptop, I’ve recently found out that the monitor doesn’t actually display colours too well, specifically black levels - which isn’t great as a designer!

One of my recent problems was converting a PSD to HTML. The design has a solid black background, or so I thought. After comments from the person who created the design, I realised that what I thought was a solid black, infact had a watermark logo in grey/black on the background.

I realise that one person’s LCD will differ from another, but I do need a monitor which strikes a middle ground.

I visited and I opened up Catalyst Control Center on my laptop and I played around with the gamma and other settings. However I can never fully adhere to the tests on Lagom, but what I have now is better (or so I think!).

What I need to know is as a professional designer on a budget, what should I be doing next to get a setup that gives me colours that I can have more confidence in.

I see that many firms use Display Mate - I’ve only just come across this - should I be looking at using something like Display Mate? Is the weakness of my system in the laptop monitor? plug my laptop into a new monitor? or is the problem in the ATI Mobility Radeon? Will I have the problem whatever monitor I choose? Or is there a way to calibrate my existing monitor? Catalyst Control Center doesn’t seem to give me enough control to pass the tests at

I’ve also heard someone mention using the tools mentioned here and installing [URL=“”]these - doesn’t look too official!

What should I be doing next? Obviously I want to get the best results with the smallest financial outlay.

Would be really interested to hear other people’s recommendation for my next step. Thanks!

I think every designer should have good hardware calibration tools for these things! They’ll configure your system to give you ridiculously accurate representations of the intended colours.
A fair few photographers I’ve worked with used Spyder (, who do a range of suitable tools and the prices aren’t stupid either.

One big problem with laptop screens (with a lot of screens really, but often much more noticeable on laptops) is that the backlighting is very uneven.