Updated: Jul 29, 2020
If you saw our sample kit unboxing video and wanted more information and project examples, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for product details and photos that show you the many ways you can customize ALTO™ powder-coated graphics products for impressive, long-lasting installations.
ALTO™ has almost limitless applications for interior and exterior projects. As you explore our sample box, we wanted to offer some more information about each of the samples you’ve received.
A quick introduction to ALTO™: this is a dye-sublimated aluminum product that is durable, long-lasting, water and weather resistant and thanks to our proprietary process, incredibly resistant to fading even in harsh sunlight.
Murals and Facades
Inside or out, large-scale murals can transform the look of a space. ALTO™ murals are produced by using multiple panels which are easily installed on a z-clip system. We are experts in ensuring that panels line up perfectly on these large-scale projects, so even with multiple panels in a single-image mural, the look is seamless.
Clients have used ALTO™ panels for a variety of mural applications. It can be used to add a splash of color or to apply large-scale graphics or artworks to interior and exterior walls, and is especially effective for outdoor murals that need to last longer than painted murals, as would be the case in a historic area. We have seen ALTO™ used as the base material for powerful story-telling murals that illustrate local history.
It makes a great photo backdrop in interactive environments like museums and zoos, and has also been used for wall and floor decoration in highly branded environments like restaurants and theme parks as part of a complete visitor experience.
This material goes beyond murals- it also allows for a unique opportunity to get the look of natural materials like stone, wood, metal, ceramic or marble without the high cost and maintenance normally associated with these materials. Our graphics experts have a library of natural material graphics, including a huge variety of wood grains, stone textures and even Corten steel that can be applied to aluminum panels during the dye-sublimation process.
ALTO™ murals come in solid aluminum panels or a perforated option, which allows for interesting lighting effects when backlit, and can also be used to create shade and for climate control. We've seen it used to disguise vents, speakers, and other elements that need to be kept out of view.
Interpretive and Wayfinding Signage
ALTO™ is a material of choice for designers working in the wayfinding, experiential and environmental design, interpretive and exhibit design fields, primarily due to its durability in outdoor environments. Due to its extreme durability, ALTO™ signs and panels are chosen for sites with extreme weather conditions; examples can be found from Alaska to Florida, Hawaii to Northern Quebec.
The goal is to make sure that the designer’s vision is reproduced on a material that will stand the test of time no matter where it is located. ALTO™ was engineered to exceed the performance standards of traditional exterior materials like HPL and vinyl skins, because we believe signs shouldn’t have to be replaced every few years because they are peeling, damaged or faded. There are almost unlimited applications, but the most popular are signs and panels for:
Trailheads and Trails
Regulatory and Directional Signage
Parking Lot Signage
In the slide show below, you can see some of the sites that have used ALTO™ signs and panels:
National, State & Municipal Parks - Town of Aurora Trail Signage, Ontario
Traditional and Open-Air Museums- Nachusa Visitor's Center, Illinois
Theme Park Signage
Tourist Destinations- KnowNYC 34th Street Signs
Historic Sites: Town of Oakville Historic Downtown
Besides its durability, the benefit of using ALTO™ for wayfinding and interpretive panels is the level of clarity and detail offered by the dye-sublimation process. The resulting product is vividly colored, with legible text and perfectly reproduced photographs and graphics.
We’ve worked closely with experiential and environmental graphic designers to develop panels that go beyond the standard rectangle, creating self-supporting panels with curves, adding cut-outs for dynamic shapes, and adding unexpected elements like post caps with additional graphics and text.
Perforated ALTO™ Aluminum
There are some projects and applications that need something a little different from solid ALTO™ Aluminum. That’s where perforated ALTO™ comes in. We’ve done serious testing over the years to determine the ideal perforation size and distribution for our powder-coats and sublimation process, leading to simply beautiful results. Perforated ALTO™ has been used for mural applications, shade structures and sculptures. It is also an ideal solution for disguising vents, speakers, pipes or anything else that needs to be hidden.
One of the greatest features of Perforated ALTO™ is the effect created when the panels are backlit. Clients have used lighting with perforated panels and structures to create dynamic looks that completely transform at night.
To give you an idea of the edge options, we included two examples in the sample kit. The first is a small version of a map. It’s a completely custom shape that adds extraordinary character to the panel, taking the idea of an archival or wayfinding map to the next level. Having worked with artists and graphic designers for well over a decade, we have become specialists when it comes to custom shapes with perfectly finished edges.
One of the advantages of ALTO™ sublimation is the ability to get graphics to wrap over the edge of a panel, up to a 2” return. This is great for a seamless look on panels, one that offers so many more options than the plain black or white sides you see on traditional HPL panels.
Take a 2” panel return and look at it from another angle, and you get tabletops. All it takes is a base and all the advantages of ALTO™ are available in a whole new application. We’ve often done branded tabletops for themed restaurants, stadiums and zoos, but with wood grain and unlimited graphic options, these tabletops can be used in any situation.
Depending on the look a client is going for, we produce these in squares, rectangles and circles.
The powder-coated finish offers another advantage, one that is essential for this type of furniture- the tabletops are easy to clean and maintain, and are resistant to scratches, stains and vandalism.
¼” ALTO™ with Fold
While the standard 1/8” ALTO™ is sturdy enough for most applications, clients occasionally ask for different thickness. The sample we’re sharing is our ¼” ALTO™, which can be used for heavy-duty applications, but typically is requested for overall site consistency. For example, a site that has mainly HPL signs may need to replace an existing sign, and they order ¼” ALTO™ so the thickness matches the remaining signs.
Another feature of the sign is the fold. This element has multiple uses but is most often employed as a unique mounting option. Attached to a square post of wood or metal, it allows the graphic to be seen on multiple sides of a sign. As the graphic wraps seamlessly around the fold, it creates a smooth look however the panel is applied to its mount.
We also featured a curved cut in this sample to demonstrate how a panel can be a little more exciting than just a simple rectangle. This is a popular request in outdoor environments, where soft and smooth lines are needed to subtly compliment the natural beauty of a site.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the demand increase for a durable material that is also flexible enough to be curved, and aluminum fits the bill. The ability to manipulate aluminum into gentle curves has allowed our clients to design large, stable freestanding signs. On a smaller scale, curved ALTO™ panels have been used as sculptural lanterns, tubes and for interactive exhibits in museums and aquariums.
With the ability to sublimate any graphic or image onto the curved aluminum, we also see great opportunities for column coverings and similar architectural applications.