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What Works Studio

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Are We?

What Works Studio is an award-winning creative agency whose projects have resulted in billions of impressions globally and over $100 Million in economic impact locally.

What Works Studio.

What Works Studio is a mission-driven, award-winning creative agency that uses a unique blend of outside-of-the-box creativity and beautiful design to tell compelling stories and inspire people. We are passionate about building communities by fueling movements and bringing people together.


We’re the team that created the Light City festival, What Weekly Magazine, and the famous Mr. Trash Wheel. We love to launch large-scale initiatives that attract international attention, transform brands, and create opportunities for our clients, partners, and friends that drive transformation and have a lasting impact .


What Works Studio offers graphic design, social media management, digital campaigns, brand development, event production, photography and video, and website design that is genuine, engaging, and relevant. The team at What Works Studio includes social media entertainers, problem-solvers, organizers, designers, developers, journalists, and creative strategists who are uniquely talented at crafting narratives and identities. We work with cultural institutions, nonprofits, and socially-responsible companies that we believe are having a positive impact in their community.

Who We

What Works Studio is led by Brooke Hall Allen and Justin Allen.

Why We Do It.

We have a penchant for dreaming big and empowering people to reach their highest potential. We created the Light City festival, which drew 525,000 people in its first year, Mr. Trash Wheel, who became a beloved internet celebrity and global icon for ocean conservancy, and What Weekly Magazine, which brought together hundreds of contributors and featured thousands of inspiring stories. 

Rave Reviews.

"Don't know many other people who manifest dreams like you and Justin!"

Diana Gross, Director of Learning and Innovation, Johns Hopkins University

"Astonishing vision."

Mary Duston Lidinsky

"Allen and Hall deserve the Key to the City! Total heroes in Baltimore. Light City was a wonderful event with great potential for the future. Two artists brought more joy (and probably more money) into the city than the Grand Prix debacle that cost millions in upfront inve stment."

Charm City Momma, The Baltimore Sun

"Brooke led our team through the creative process, developed a beautiful logo that truly reflected our values, and delivered – on time and on budget – a beautiful website. To this day, new visitors to the site compliment her work on a regular basis."

Olga Maltseva, Warnock Foundation

"Brooke Hall Allen is not only an exemplary designer, businesswoman, and marketer, but a role model for social responsibility and community involvement in the business community."

Olga Maltseva, Warnock Foundation

"I stumbled upon your website accidentally, and thought, gee these guys are incredible. So all I wanted to say was, great work, incredible and inspiring!"

Jesse Rowe, Live.com

"Genius crew."

Heather Fields, GiveCorps

"I deeply appreciate and applaud the efforts of the Light City team to positively raise the profile of our city. I personally appreciate the profound commitment the two of you have made."

Jack Elsby

"Communications gurus!"

Doreen Bolger, Director, Baltimore Museum of Art

"Brilliant logo."

Christopher Regan, THA Advisory

"What Weekly is one of the great ideas to come out of Baltimore in the last few years."

Peter Davis

"Best party of the year!"

Aaron Henkin, Producer WYPR

"It’s impossible, until it’s not. I have never seen, anywhere, a transformation of vision into reality that was such a stretch. And so fast. You two did it! And perhaps never, has our town needed what you have made real, more."

Gary Vikan, Director, The Walters Art Museum

"Just wanted to send over a lot of love and encouragement. Light City's news shone all the way to London, here in my adopted city to make me smile, and say HOORAY, FINALLY some brilliant Baltimore sunshine."

Rick Armiger

"Baltimore will forever be changed because you had vision and dedication."

Mike Galiazzo, Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland

"Genius in concept and flawless in execution."

Elizabeth J. Himelfarb Hurwitz

"You and Justin gave an extraordinary gift to our city and I was just happy to be part of the moment in time."

Sarah Hemminger, Cofounder and CEO of Thread, Inc.

"You are amazing. I am so proud of what you and Justin have done and continue to do for our great City."

Jennifer Meyer, Vice President, Global Customer Operations at ZeroFOX

"You have done important and such inspiring work. Thank you for bringing Light City to fruition!"

Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood

"The website is amazing! You guys nailed it and I love, love, love it!"

S. Smith, G.B. Smith Photography

"Your work is amazing!"

Amy Webb, Author and Founder of Future Today Institute

"Thank you for being the genesis of Light City. This event will change Baltimore forever."

Kimberly Warren and John Cammack

"We are really impressed with how organized you are. I've worked with 4-5 social media content strategy firms, and What Works trumps them all in terms of process and organization."

Ben Smith, Homewood Interiors

“The enthusiasm of Brooke Hall, founder of Light City, is infectious."

Charu Suri, Travel Pulse

“If you are from Baltimore, this next paragraph can only be about Brooke Hall and Justin Allen, founders of Light City Baltimore. What a debt we owe these two. We should parade them through town and give them the keys to this city, for they are just two regular people who have reminded us that in Baltimore this is what two people can do. This is citizenship at its finest. Two people believed in an idea that could better their city. They badgered everyone they could to make it happen. They are Baltimore’s best.”

Jen Ronald, The Baltimore Sun

"Light City U’s Creative Innovation Conference [which was developed, programmed and hosted by Brooke Hall and Justin Allen was] one of the best conferences I’ve ever attended (and I’ve attended a LOT of conferences).”

M. Kendall Ludwig

"I appreciated their vision, their passion, and the overall concept of bringing the community together.”

Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO of BGE

"You’re talking about two people who had an idea before its time."

John Cammack, Managing Partner of Cammack Associates LLC

"They have their fingers on the pulse of all things hot and creative in Charm City.”

The Guardian

"Your work was one of the reasons we were acquired and joined a national network of industry leaders. Our capacity to do phenomenal work has increased exponentially."

BJ Sing, CEO of EventEQ

"A rare combination of strategic thinker and creative executor… all of this has worked to shorten our sales cycle, which of course has led to better sales. I highly recommend What Works Studio."

Derek Gordon, Yield Software

"This new logo is fantastic! There was clearly both brilliance and God-driven inspiration behind it."

John Frisch, CEO, Miles and Stockbridge & Chairman, Well for the Journey

"Brooke is awesome, often called 'my secret weapon.'"

Mike Mann Founder of Phone.com

"I am starting to cry it looks so good."

David Eisele, CEO at Davelle Clothiers

"Brooke has boundless creative energy. She works tirelessly for clients, leveraging her deep media relationships, truly fine writing skills and strategic, big picture thinking to generate great results."

Steve Surdez

“Hall and Allen can never be accused of thinking small... They traffic in big ideas."

Baltimore Magazine

"So impressed with What Works Studio."

Amy Webb, Author and Founder of Future Today Institute

"What Works Studio is great example of how a business can be not only profitable but impactful."

Olga Brillman, Executive Director, Warnock Foundation

"Both Mr. Trash Wheel and Light City are two of the greatest stories to come out of Baltimore in recent years and neither would have been possible without What Works."

Adam Lindquist, Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore

"What Works Studio leverages the passion for community that is so prolific in Baltimore City, demonstrating that extraordinary change and growth often start with the dedication of just a few committed individuals."

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Former Mayor of Baltimore City

"No one knows or leverages 21st Century new media better."

Peter Davis


Innovator of the Year

The Daily Record


Creative Group of the Year

Baltimore Innovation Week


25 Women to Watch

The Baltimore Sun


Top 40 Under 40

Baltimore Business Journal


Downtown Baltimore Award

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore


Baltimore Transformer Award

Strong City Baltimore


Silo Breaker Award



Best of Baltimore: Light City

Baltimore Magazine


Best of Baltimore: What Weekly

Baltimore Magazine


Brava Top Female CEO

Smart CEO Magazine


Social Innovation Award

Baltimore Social Innovation Journal

Who We Work With.

We seek to work with organizations that are aligned with our values and employ socially-responsible practices. Our ideal client is working to empower and enrich their customers and their community. It’s important to us that our clients are running ethical businesses or nonprofits that have a net positive impact on the world.

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Our Work

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