Vivid Signs wise to newest technologies

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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When Jay Shinn decided he wanted a career change, he looked for a sign, literally. A year ago he opened Vivid Signs, Inc. in the Auburn Airport Business Park. “I departed the previous company and wanted to go into my own company,” he said. “I was with a Nevada City company called Grass Valley Group. … I like dealing with customers and managing activities, so this seemed like a good fit for me.” Shinn, who now resides in Nevada County, grew up in Auburn and attended Rock Creek, E.V. Cain and Placer High. He brings a background in computer graphics to the new business “We have one employee and she does all the signs,” he said. “We’re very diverse. We do large digital printing. W can do material routing, engraving and welding.” Welding is an important asset because “a lot of times large signs need to be fabricated from different pieces of metal,” he said. “All of our signs are custom, anywhere from banners to monument signs.” He also produces lobby signs, vehicle letters and wraps, custom over-store electrical LED signs and dimensional letters, he said in a press release. “Vivid Signs deploys the latest technology and equipment, including in-house CNC computerized material engraving and routing, large-format, high-resolution digital printing and combining special skills such as metal fabrication and material forming,” he said. The company can also create ADA signage such as Braille lettering. Shinn singles out diversity and customer service as two things that stand out about his shop. “We can make any type of sign someone is looking for, and we do the majority of the work in-house,” he said. The business is also licensed to do sign installations. That includes overhead installations, installing a monument sign that needs to be dug into the ground or one that needs safety considerations. “I really like dealing with customers and helping them solve their problems in terms of signage,” Shinn said. “My background (includes) dealing with other businesses around the world. I have been to a lot of places in South America, Europe and Asia. Hopefully I’ll be able to translate that knowledge and skill to local businesses here.” One recent customer was Lincoln resident Toby Allenbrand, who contacted Shinn to replace a sign for his daughter’s preschool. “We submitted six or seven requests for quotes,” he said. “He responded within an hour. He did some of the design work, laid in out and sent someone to install it. It turned out just as he said it would.” One of the changes Shinn is seeing in the business is the move toward energy savings and environmentally friendly products. “One of the shifts that is occurring is going from neon lighting or fluorescent to LED,” he said. “LEDs are so much more efficient and it is certainly a green product so it uses little energy. The savings with using an LED light are significant and the lifecycle so much longer than even fluorescents.” Although the upfront cost for LED signage is a little more, customers save in the long run. LED lighting is also the biggest innovation. “It’s a fairly traditional business, however technology is changing and one thing that is changing is the printers,” Shinn said. “To produce a high quality sign, the graphics must be able to be displayed much easier and at much higher quality.” The business makes more than signs. “We can take a picture — graduation, birth of a child, wedding — and put that on canvas so it looks like an artist’s rendering,” Shinn said. “It gives it much more appeal than printing it on glossy paper and putting it in the frame.” Working with the canvas also allows for making signs as much as 100 feet long. That’s particularly useful for banners. In the spring Shinn’s company did some work for the Amgen Tour of California. “We made a big billboard banner (that’s located on Interstate) 80,” he said. “That was done with our printer so we were able to create a 24-feet-by-10-feet (sign).” Reach Gloria Young at -------------------- Vivid Signs, Inc. Where: 12852 Earhart Ave. Airport Business Park Open: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Phone: (530) 885-2525 Website: