Matthias Reinicke on designing for Canada's tough weather and why he chooses ALTO™

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

We are sharing a conversation with one of our clients, Matthias Reinicke of Lime Design, Inc. Matthias has worked with our product for several years and has come up with some of ALTO™’s most innovative applications for wayfinding and signage.


What are your main projects right now?

We are currently working on a variety of projects – from a book design about West Coast wood carvers, Victoria Symphony Season material, and interpretive signage for the Royal Canadian Air Force No. 11 Equipment Depot in Calgary.

Who are your main clients?

Many of our clients are institutions such as municipalities, regional districts, cultural and heritage organizations and some universities.

powder-coated graphics interpretive panel for trail wayfinding
Fort Saskatchewan trail wayfinding signage by Lime Design, Inc.

What is your favorite type of project to work on? Any dream projects?

Every project is a dream project. What inspires us and makes us get up every day are projects that challenge us and provide insight into new subject matters. There is a research component to every new job and you don’t know what is going to hit the desk the next day. That is the really exciting part for us.

[We] worked on a display for the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta presenting the work of the faculty. The greatest challenge was to find an overarching theme to bring all the different aspects of research together. We used the meter as measure of scale and within that we aligned the content based on dimension; from the micro cosmos to the macro cosmos. The result was a highly visual inspirational display that approached the theme from an unexpected viewpoint which sparked the curiosity of the viewer.

What are your biggest challenges at work in the moment, especially when working in tough environmental conditions?

Choice of material is crucial in developing signage because we want to offer the best material for a specific purpose. Durability requirements and budget limitations often need to be balanced. Interpretive signs need to last 20 - 30 years and we need to consider climate conditions when placing signs into the badlands of Alberta vs. on the west coast.

aluminum interpretve panel, powder-coated graphics, digital powder-coated graphics
Interpretive panels at Transfer Beach in Ladysmith, Vancouver Island, British Columbia by Lime Design, Inc. ALTO is used for the panels and the post caps.

What do you like about ALTO Powder-Coated Graphics?

ALTO™ seems to be more vibrant when it comes to the actual print. ALTO™ is very sturdy and its material strength can be advantageous when integrated into the construction of a node vs. being only the interpretive layer. So in terms of design we can get more creative.

nature interpretive panel, powder-coated graphics, digital powder-coated graphics
Fort Saskatchewan trail interpretive panels by Lime Design Inc.

How does using ALTO impact your design?

When we know that we are going to print on ALTO™ we anticipate a very vibrant print. So for wayfinding it is ideal.

Did ALTO help you overcome some of the challenges you have as a designer? Did it allow you to push limits?

We did a project for Brewsters near Banff a few years ago. They wanted to place interpretive signs about the history of Brewster boat cruises onto a boat launch ramp. The challenge was to not obstruct the beautiful view across the lake and mountain backdrop. We created signs made entirely from ALTO™ integrating the pedestal right into the design. That was challenging but a lot of fun to address that requirement.

powder-coated graphics interpretive panel for tourist placemaking in Brewster Lake
Exterior signage for Brewsters by Lime Design, Inc., Lake Minnewanka, Banff, Alberta.

When clients hire you for a project, what materials do they usually ask for?

Clients usually approach us with themes and preliminary research. Material discussions come into play when we discuss placement, available budget, longevity, exposure and installation capabilities.

If you think ALTO is a good choice, how do you present it to clients?

We often present a number of material samples to the client and when it comes to ALTO™, we point out its warranty and that it doesn’t fade and [the] ease of maintenance. With the salty air and humidity on the West Coast it seems like the ideal material. We make sure to inform the client about the different material options and come to a collaborative decision.


Lime Design Inc. has two lead designers: Matthias Reinicke specializes in interpretive signage, wayfinding and exhibit design. Lara Minja focuses on designing books, exhibit and collections catalogues, postage stamps and university recruitment materials.

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