What Works Studio

We help our clients grow businesses, engage audiences, elevate brands and activate places. Our favorite tools are social media, storytelling, good design and remarkable live experiences.

We’re a small (but mighty) team of designers, social media entertainers, problem-solvers, organizers, journalists and event producers that develop and implement remarkable creative solutions.

Whether we’re chatting with fans as the voice of the international sensation Mr. Trash Wheel, cofounding and helping to implement America’s first large-scale light festival, Light City Baltimore, working with Give Corps to raise 5.8 million dollars in a single day on #GivingTuesday for the BmoreGivesMore campaign, or creating a fresh, results-driven student enrollment campaign and website for Green Street Academy – we’re known for pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and making it work.

Do you have an opportunity that requires a creative solution? Want to launch a campaign, product, business or event that people will never forget? Let’s talk. Coffee’s on us.

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Case Study: Light City Baltimore

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Light City Baltimore, an annual festival of light, music and innovation, was conceptualized and delivered to city leaders by the founders of What Works Studio, Brooke Hall and Justin Allen. The free, week-long annual festival consists of 29 large-scale light installations, over 100 music concerts and performances, and a series of ticketed innovation conferences, Light City U. The festival was developed to be a city-wide collaboration and a tool for economic development, civic engagement and tourism.

The journey to build Light City Baltimore began in 2010 with years of research into transformative events and their ability to create impact for communities. In 2013, Hall and Allen developed the Light City festival model and launched a multi-year, integrated marketing campaign that consisted of digital marketing, public relations, fundraising and grassroots advocacy. They produced the messaging and vision, the festival name and brand, print and digital marketing assets, a website, video, and along with collaborator Lindsey Davis, built an advisory committee that included early supporters and advisors: Adam Gross, Laurie Schwartz, Nancy Roberts, John Cammack, Danny Barnycz, Jan Baum, Gary Vikan, Michael Galizzo, Betsy Collie, Mike Cryor, Paul Wolman, Deric Emry, Casey Brent, Neil Meltzer and others. Together, they began the long process of figuring out the most effective way to execute the vision and achieve buy-in from city stakeholders and the creative community.

This early phase of the project culminated in gaining support from the Abell Foundation to hire world-renowned event producer, and creative director of Vivid Sydney, Ignatius Jones, to determine the feasibility of the Light City vision. During his stay, the Light City team conducted a series of meetings with local stakeholders that included presentations to BGE and Visit Baltimore, who later became the festival’s major founding sponsors. Ignatius Jones’ trip to Baltimore concluded with a reception at Four Seasons that brought together members of the community and resulted in remarkable interest in the Light City project.

Once the community was primed for the project, and the first two major sponsors were interested (which resulted in $2.75 million dollars of funding for the project over three years), Hall and Allen brought in trusted friends Jamie and Tom McDonald to lead the Steering Committee, close the deals and continue the fundraising efforts. In December 2014, Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts took on festival production and began festival implementation.

Since then, Hall and Allen have been dedicated members of the Light City Steering Committee and have worked closely with the producer to bring the festival to life. What Works Studio developed the Light City brand identity, designed, developed and managed the festival website, and designed the Light City mobile app (the app was generously developed by MindGrub Technologies). Brooke and Justin developed the concept, built the framework and, with the help of Intrinsic Events and others, implemented the four inaugural Light City U innovation conferences.

Visit LightCity.org

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible. 

Walt Disney




Your brand determines the public perception of your company. It is the single most important piece of any organization’s marketing efforts, which is why we have invested so much into perfecting our craft. Whether you need help updating your organization’s narrative, brand identity, voice, or logo we’ve got you covered. We focus on creating a brand that requires no explanation — your audience will love you for exactly who you are.



Consider us your digital stylists. We strive to ensure that every aspect of your visual identity is impeccable. Our designers create engaging websites, graphics, and print materials that empower companies to market with confidence.



In today’s market, reaching your audience means providing genuine, engaging, and relevant content in mediums that fit seamlessly into their routines. Our trusted team can generate content to fit your brand and engage your audience. Allow us to entertain your audience while you watch your following grow. We deliver relevant content that converts attention into action. We also provide social media management services so you can focus on what you do best.



We handle all aspects of event management including conceptualization, branding, promotions, advertising, project management and more. We produce events for clients who want to get face-to-face with their audience.



Captivating imagery can be the cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy. We produce photography and video with intention and reach — imagery that clarifies your brand message and resonates with your audience.



We specialize in designing websites that convert leads and look gorgeous in the process. We can optimize and maintain your existing site, create landing pages for your campaigns, or build you a new site from scratch. We can even provide assets, designs and training for your team. If you feel like your site could use an update, don’t hesitate — email us, and we’ll give you a free consultation.

Our Magazine

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What Weekly is our online magazine that highlights the most innovative aspects of Baltimore.  It’s a place for Baltimore to celebrate its good news.

Over the course of six years, we’ve published over 3,000 original stories about the amazing things happening in Baltimore, stories which have been read in over 200 countries around the world.

We’ve rallied a collective of artists, entrepreneurs, filmmakers, educators and writers that work together to produce media dedicated to telling the positive stories about Baltimore. We have built an active cultural community around the magazine by organizing and harnessing the power of many people who share the common goal of improving the city.

The Guardian said What Weekly is the “best blog for travelers… with their fingers on the pulse of all things hot and creative in Charm City.”

New York Magazine said What Weekly was “rated the city’s best new magazine” when they heard that Baltimore Magazine kept giving us ‘Best Of’ awards.

Want to see WhatWeekly.com?

Yes, Please

Happy Clients

Over 93 extremely satisfied clients.

  • David Eisele, Davelle Clothiers

    “I am starting to cry it looks so good.” 

    David Eisele, Davelle Clothiers
  • Chic Dambach

    “A terrific job!”

    Chic Dambach
  • Peter Hoffberger

    “Creative Genius”

    Peter Hoffberger
  • Peter Davis

    “No one knows or leverages 21st new media better”

    Peter Davis

  • David Eisele, Davelle Clothiers

    “I am starting to cry it looks so good.” 

    David Eisele, Davelle Clothiers
  • Chic Dambach

    “A terrific job!”

    Chic Dambach
  • Peter Hoffberger

    “Creative Genius”

    Peter Hoffberger
  • Peter Davis

    “No one knows or leverages 21st new media better”

    Peter Davis


Live Baltimore
University of Maryland
Warnock Foundation

Some Fun Facts

Between running our marketing agency and our online magazine, one thing's for sure: We like to have a real good time. We love what we do and it shows.


Dollars raised in one day


 Unique readers a month


 Clients Worked With


 Award Winning Magazine


Our work speaks for itself. Here are some of our favorite projects.

Light City Baltimore

Light City Baltimore

What Works Studio not only performs client work, but they also develop their own projects, products and publications.

What is Light City Baltimore? Light City, a spectacular celebration of light, music and ideas – and the first ever large-scale light festival in the United States. Every year, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor would be the stage where visitors from around the world are entertained and inspired by state-of-the-art light displays, live music, performances, conferences, workshops, family friendly programming, and some of the most exciting interactive technology found anywhere.

Who came up with this idea?  Brooke Hall and Justin Allen of What Works Studio are the visionary founders of Light City Baltimore, an annual festival designed to be a catalyst that positions Baltimore as a global hub for art and innovation.

How did they push it forward? Inspired by the transformative power of events, Brooke and Justin launched an effort in 2012 to bring the Light City festival to life. Accomplishments during this time include winning grants and awards, developing marketing materials to communicate the vision, being featured in the media on multiple occasions, finding funding for and executing a festival feasibility study with world renowned event expert and creative director of VIVID Sydney, Ignatius Jones, and generating interest from major potential sponsors. After applying and presenting to a jury, Light City Baltimore was selected by the Mayor of Baltimore to be the city’s only application for the Bloomberg Public Art Challenge.

Why build Light City? Light City is designed to showcase the energy and assets of our city – and to create resources for our education, social innovation, technology, and cultural sectors. Light City will build community, benefit Baltimore economically, help companies recruit talent, and will work to rebrand Baltimore as a global center for business, and a hub for cultural and intellectual pursuits.

Similar festivals in Europe and Asia draw millions of visitors annually and we believe that Baltimore is the perfect city to host its own. Many of us who call Baltimore home have experienced a recent surge in enthusiasm. We feel as though the city is nearing a turning point and that the right catalyst could propel Baltimore into a new era, one in which citizens begin to believe that real and lasting change is possible.

Categories:  Leadership, Fundraising, Concept, vision, strategy, pitching, presentations, print design, copywriting, video, website, event and campaigns.

Light City in Technical.ly Baltimore
Light City in The Baltimore Sun
Light City on CBS Local News
Light City in Baltimore Business Journal
Light City in MD Daily Record
Light City on ABC2 News
Light City in the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal
Light City on WYPR
Light City in What Weekly
Light City on Twitter
Light City on Facebook

Visit The Website
Warnock Foundation

Warnock Foundation

Client: Warnock Foundation

Categories: Identity, Website

Biggest Win: Developed a brand, logo and website for a new foundation.

The Story: The newly formed Warnock Foundation hired What Works Studio to help them launch the organization, which included a brand platform, logo, business cards, stationery and website. What Works Studio collaborated with Make Things Studio on the website.


Launch the website
Bmore Gives More

Bmore Gives More

Client: GiveCorps

Categories: Campaign, Content, Print, Website, Social Media, Strategy

Biggest Win: Helped raise $5.7 Million for Baltimore nonprofits in a single day.

Biggest Challenges: Rush job – we signed on only 2 months before The Big Day, #GivingTuesday. The campaign had many moving parts and was constantly adjusting based on feedback from a large group of collaborators.

The Story: GiveCorps hired What Works Studio to help them strategize and implement an extraordinary challenge for Baltimore: To raise $5 Million for local nonprofits in 24 hours.

We blew way past our goal and reached $5.7 Million. The national #GivingTuesday movement served as a spring board for GiveCorps to develop the locally focused Bmore Gives More campaign. What Works Studio handled creative direction, social media, graphic design and production of physical material. MGH created the logo and handled PR Work. Everyone got to work closely with foundations, non-profits and other charitable organizations, garnering national attention and support by celebrities and the mayor of Baltimore.

What Works Key Activities and Deliverables: Content marketing strategy and implementation, which included email, social media activity, downloadable toolkits, PowerPoint presentations, infographics, and shareable graphics. Development and design of bmoregivesmore.com website during all 3 distinct phases. Creative direction and design of physical merchandise and art for live events such as rubber bracelets, t-shirts, postcards, banners, step in repeat backdrop, and stickers. Assisted with Ambassador Program, Selfless Selfies meme, and live events.


Launch the website



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