Designed by Thomas Thiemich, Alto is a no-nonsense typeface that avoids quirky details in favour of down-to-earth usability. Its neutral design is well attuned to the needs of day-to-day designing without adding too much flavour. It is indeed precisely this balance that Thiemich set out to achieve.
Sketched out in 2005, Alto was first used for the design of the 2006-7 semester planner for the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, proving itself as an excellent choice for the display of complex information. Also in 2005, Alto featured in the Type an sich exhibition 'Fred Smeijers and a new generation of type designers' organized by the 'Catapult' design group in Antwerp, Belgium.
With its various design features, including 'true' italics (rather than sloped romans), Alto is by no means a 'grotesque'. It joins a group of contemporary 'humanist' sanserifs notable for their large font families, whose best-known members include FF Meta (Erik Spiekermann) and FF Thesis (Lucas de Groot).
Alto consists of nine weights - Thin, ExtraLight, Light, Normal, SemiBold, Bold, ExtraBold, Black and ExtraBlack - of roman and italic designs. The pro character set (PRO) includes small caps; lining, old style and small cap figures (each in tabular and proportional widths); fractions; comprehensive superiors, inferiors, nominators and denominators; case sensitive punctuation sets; mathematical and monetary symbols; arrows; standard and discretionary ligatures; and
a complete range of accents covering all (Latin script based) Western,
Central and East European languages.
Alto is additionally built around four widths - normal, condensed, extra condensed, and monospaced - making it OurType's largest sanserif font family to date.
Alto supports 111 different languages such as Spanish, English, Portuguese, German and French in Latin scripts. (Please note that not all languages are available for all formats.)