CN Centre Identity

What Does a Train Company Have to Do With Entertainment?

Civic properties frequently offer up naming rights to their facilities. In this case, CN (Canada’s National Railway) was granted naming rights to Prince George’s Multiplex. CN wanted to apply its brand throughout the arena and associated collateral in a definitive, yet graceful, fashion. This was no simple task, however, as varying visual systems would need to be aligned and all creative had to be approved by a number of different stakeholders, including CN, the Multiplex, and the City of Prince George. more

Listening and Learning

Liaising with multiple groups was challenging, but crucial to the project’s success. From the start, we concentrated on bringing together those who use and run the facility, to ensure that all relevant parties had their say. 

What resulted was collaboration with a group that felt genuinely invested in, and excited, by the experiences had in the space. It was also during these sessions that we identified some of the concepts that would later feature prominently in the new CN Centre identity. 

A Multi-Faceted Implementation

Through flowing line drawings that play off of the iconic CN logo, our creative concept came alive to represent the many different groups that use (and revel in) the facility, complemented by the tagline, “We’ll move you.” With the system in place, we determined how to apply it to many different practical uses (from signage systems and banners, to waste receptacles to security tags) in a way that was cohesive, yet visually powerful. Lastly, we documented its use in a brand standards manual that details application of the system. 


When CN acquired the naming rights to the Prince George Multiplex, we helped them integrate the two identities. One of the first steps was a simple form that paired the iconic CN mark with a smashLAB designed typeface (named after the city in which the CN Centre is located).

CN Centre logo
CN Centre business cards

Paired with the “we’ll move you” tagline, the logo works in single color settings, or in two-tone ones like we find here. These same tones are found in collateral items like the business cards, pictured to the right.

The line found in the CN mark was extended and brought to life in the CN Centre identity. It spins, groups, and contorts to represent singers, lacrosse players, skaters, conference attendees, hockey players, circus performers, figure skaters, and a number of other figures to be found at the facility.

CN Centre banner artwork
CN Centre banners

Festive banners designed to adorn the exterior of the building help convey the fun to be had there, while bringing color and excitement to the setting. It’s worth noting that the lines always terminate at the same point, allowing these illustrations to be linked together easily.

CN Centre directory
CN Centre wayfinding markers
CN Centre section markers
CN Centre door signage

An involved signage system helps bring life to the facility. Pictured (from top left, clockwise): entry wayfinding signage for the perimeter of the building; section markers; door signage; section signage for inside the arena (specifically, in the stands).

A ~100 page brand standards manual helps current, and future, management and staff quickly orient themselves in the brand system. Containing all the key messaging, color codes, sourcing information, digital files, and other applied information, it’s a rather handy document.

Staff uniforms take into account the need to be able to easily identify Security, Food Services, First-Aid, Traffic, and other staff within the building. Practical items like headwear, tool belts, functional pants, and so on, are sourced and detailed in the documentation, allowing for easy procurement.

Access passes and lanyards for facility management and staff are designed for internal preparation, use, and administration. Each utilizes a holographic logo and bar code to help mitigate counterfeiting and misrepresentation.


  • Consulting, analysis, and planning
  • Stakeholder involvement workshops
  • Brand strategy and corporate identity system
  • Creative concept and design direction
  • Brand assets (tagline, word mark, uniforms, etc.)
  • Signage (building, wayfinding, and informational)

Key Benefits

  • Effectively marries the needs of three distinct groups
  • Lends consistency to the organization's presentation
  • Clarifies internal wayfinding and event notices
  • Helps CN illustrate its interest in the community
  • Afforded all core stakeholders a place in the process


  • Brand identity and tagline
  • Exhaustive brand standards documentation
  • Sketches and custom line drawings
  • Wayfinding and display signage
  • Uniforms and brand collateral


"smashLAB prepared a brand and an image for the CN Centre that has been very, very successful. We have used smashLAB's ideas throughout our facility in signage, colours, and uniforms. Plus, I regularly receive admiring comments from my colleagues in the sports and entertainment business who feel our brand is imaginative, classy, and compelling."