Inspiration is Just Around the Block

I live about a mile from downtown so I love walking to Morning Times any chance I get. Walk after walk, I’ve noticed more public art, galleries and craft shops taking over downtown. Passing a mural and peaking into a shop, I get a jolt of inspiration and an appreciation for my city that puts me in the perfect mood to get work done.

Here’s a look at my walk downtown. Follow along if you’d like to save some money on parking and be inspired along the way!

1. Park at CAM (this is where the good stuff starts). The block of West and Martin Streets is packed with three murals and, of course, Raleigh’s Contemporary Art Museum.

MC Escher Murals

These M.C. Escher quotes always bring me back to a childhood state of mind. From a design standpoint, it makes me question the conventions and standards I work under every day. How can I challenge myself to make something new? How can I create a new interaction pattern, a new web experience, or explain a new concept? Escher’s imagination helps opens up that sense of exploration.

West Street Mural

I’ll be honest, I have no idea what this mural is about but it looks pretty awesome. It inspires me to let go of all constraints and just create.

West Street Mural

With a more close-up view, I start to recognize pieces of the image. It’s cool to see this old, abandoned building transformed into a canvas.


BEST Mural

The BEST Mural (that’s actually it’s name) at the Dillon Supply Co. shows me the power of collaboration and diversity. Design is a team sport!

CAM Raleigh

There’s always something new to see at CAM Raleigh. Sometimes the exhibits seem out of this world (it’s contemporary art after all) but they never disappoint.

2. Continue walking down Martin Street. You’ll run into the Visual Art Exchange and DesignBox, two great galleries featuring lots of local artists.

3. Turn left onto Salisbury. Thanks to the Raleigh Murals Project, you’ll see awesome typography on the preserved Brigg’s hardware sign and the never ending fire escapes of the Luke Buchanan mural.

I see the same whimsy and wonder from the M.C. Escher quotes in the Luke Buchanan mural. The continuous steps, ladders and fire escapes follow the shape of the building and reference the surrounding apartment buildings. I’m inspired to make the best use of space in my designs and keep climbing up the ladder.

4. Next up, on Hargett Street, is my favorite shop in Raleigh: Deco. I go into this store almost every time I pass it. I love seeing the design culture of Raleigh take shape with endless Raleigh and North Carolina themed trinkets, posters and t-shirts.


Well designed gifts, packaging, cards and posters fill every inch of this store. All with a Raleigh theme, you’ll leave loving your city and it’s design culture. Places like Deco, VAE, and the Flight Pop-Up shop make you think “Hey, I can make that!” and then give you the resources to do it.

Deco Raleigh

Look at all this Raleigh inspiration! Try not to buy all of it at once.










5. Keep walking down Hargett St. and you’ve reached Morning Times! Time to channel that inspo into a masterpiece.



Chelsea Brown

About the Author: Chelsea Brown is a UX/UI Designer on the marketing team at Republic Wireless. She looks at each project as an opportunity to tell a story and enhance the reader’s experience through design. On her days off, she enjoys running, Jane Austen novels and day trips to the beach.

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By Chelsea Brown
Published February 11, 2016