By: Jason Valladares

Andre Vaillant poses with some draft sketches of the Harvey & Vern’s soda logo. Vaillant is a graduate of Algonquin’s graphic design program.

Ottawa-based Kichesippi Beer has chosen the art work of a former Algonquin graphic design student for its new line of all-natural sodas.

André Vaillant, 25, will have his design wrapped around every bottle of Harvey and Vern’s, which is slated to hit the shelves around April 2013.

“We were looking for a new grad that would be aligned with our (products),”said Paul Meek, co-owner of Kichesippi Beer, which, is located in Ottawa’s west end.

“We asked for a referral for somebody in the graphics department and the head of the department said we should give Andre a call and that he would be a great reference for us in terms of someone who was into beer and the beer world.”

While studying at Algonquin, Vaillant designed three beer labels for already existing beer companies in Ontario. Shortly after graduation, one of Vaillant’s professors’ suggested he contact Meek as he was about to launch a beer company.

“I was super stoked,” Vaillant said, reflecting on the opportunity to work with Meek. At the time he received notice, Vaillant was working with Kapture, a small design firm located in Gatineau, Que.

“I started working with Meek through Kapture and we helped develop his beer company’s look, as well his first brands (logos) that came out ‘1855’ and ‘Natural Blonde’,” said Vaillant.

Vaillant said he had put about 15 to 20 hours into designing the Harvey and Vern’s logo which, oddly enough, was partly conjured up when taking a breather while indoor rock climbing.

When asked where he gets his inspiration from, Vaillant said it depends on the product he’s working on. In regard to Harvey and Vern’s, Vaillant said Meek “wanted to go back and really take a retro look to it.”

Vaillant said he pulled inspiration from “logos of the time”, as well as the “classic Las Vegas billboard styles, really flashy kind of looks.

“I wanted to keep things as authentic as possible, kind of in the same vein as Paul does his business where they want to use all-natural ingredients, use the authentic pop-top bottles, all those classic things,” Vaillant said.

The first flavours of the soda to tickle customer taste buds mid-spring will be a clear-coloured cream soda and ginger beer brewed with natural ginseng and ginger.

“When you step into the workplace, it’s a lot bigger of a challenge and I wasn’t necessarily ready for it,” Vaillant said. “The time I spent in the student placement was instrumental.” Vaillant recommends students to have confidence in their work and not to be afraid to “go out on a limb and make the first move.”

Vaillant is currently involved in freelance work and his designs can be found