Winter 2023 - 53

BEHIND THE SCENES
In 2020, Share left her former job and committed to Amber
Share Design full time due to high customer demand. Since
then, she has released dozens of new designs and debuted
her book, " Subpar Parks: America's Most Extraordinary
National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors, " a New
York Times Bestseller.
At Subpar Parks' founding, the product offerings were
stickers, postcards and prints. While those remain the main
merchandise categories, Share has also released puzzles,
calendars and greeting cards, as well as an annual planner.
Subpar Parks products are available at ambersharedesign.
com, and Share recently embarked on a wholesaling journey.
To create her designs, Share draws everything on her iPad
using an app called Procreate. She said some designs are much
more time consuming than others, namely the puzzle she
created, featuring prints of all 63 national parks.
Share has visited about a third of the parks in person. When
The designs find humor in negative online reviews
of national parks while promoting their beauty.
W
ho would've thought one-star reviews could help
promote national parks?
Amber Share, owner of Amber Share Design &
Illustration, did just that. Her brand, Subpar Parks, pokes fun
at the negative online reviews visitors leave national parks
and actually uses them to share more about the parks' beauty
and offerings.
Share began Subpar Parks in 2019 as she was looking for
a project with enough structure that she'd be illustrating
regularly. Being an avid outdoors-lover, creating the brand was
a fitting next step.
" I'm out in parks as much as I can be, so it felt like a really
natural project for me to draw all of the national parks, "
Share said. " But I wanted something that I could add to it
that would be maybe kind of funny or just show a little of my
personality, too. I ended up stumbling upon some one-star
reviews somebody had shared, and it was just like a lightning
bolt - I was like, 'Oh, that's what I want to do.' "
Share's bright, crisp designs portray the beauty of national
parks with a funny phrase derived from a real one-star review.
Examples include: " Goes on Forever " (Blue Ridge Parkway);
" OK If You Like Cactus " (Saguaro National Park); " Fleeting
Glimpse of One Bear " (Katmai National Park & Preserve); and
" Too Many Mountains, Trees, Snow, Etc. " (North Cascades
National Park).
she's designing a product based on one of those parks, she
draws on her own experiences and photos. When illustrating a
park she has yet to visit, Share finds the " iconic " landmarks and
implements her own interpretation and design style.
" The puzzle was a huge undertaking because it was figuring
out how to arrange 63 park posters, which is such an odd
number of have, into rows that look nice and also would make
a good and challenging puzzle, " Share said.
Share's overall goal is to provide a laugh and entertainment
for people who love and appreciate the national parks.
Additionally, she plays a role as an educator, teaching people
about the various national, state and international parks that
they may have not heard of.
" It's been really fun to share little snippets and facts about
those parks, " Share said. " I've had so many people tell me, 'I
added this park to my list of places I have to visit because I
learned about it on your account.' "
She added: " People are actually learning and getting more
excited about parks through this project. I think it's really cool
that I can turn those negative reviews on their head and help
people fall even more in love with parks. "
In addition to bringing awareness to the nation's parks,
Share said she hopes customers find some humor in her
designs and go easier on themselves in their personal lives
when they face critique.
" If a national park can get a one-star review, you don't have
a prayer of pleasing everybody, " Share said with a laugh. " A
lot of them are protected because they are incredibly unique
or beautiful or have something really important that the world
needs to keep. I mean, these places are objectively kind of the
best the planet has to offer - and there are still people that
do not like it. "
GIFTSHOPMAG.COM 53
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Winter 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Winter 2023

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Winter 2023 - 2
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