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William Nickley

William Nickley

William Nickley

Assistant Professor


125C Hayes Hall
108 North Oval Mall
Columbus OH 43210

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Professional Website

Office Hours

Spring 2024 - Mondays, 2:30p–4p, and by appointment

Areas of Expertise

  • Industrial Design
  • Social Design
  • Co-design
  • Design and youth development
  • Person-centered design
  • Design and Identity
  • Design technology


  • MFA, Design, The Ohio State University (2020)
  • BSD, Industrial Design, The Ohio State University (2010)

Condensed CV and Bio [pdf] Google Scholar Research Gate

William Nickley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Design at The Ohio State University. He holds an MFA in Design and a BSD in Industrial Design from The Ohio State University. He researches social design practice as a member of the Ohio State DESIS Lab and teaches courses in the industrial design major. 

Before joining the faculty of Ohio State's Department of Design in 2020, William spent a decade practicing industrial design in consultancy, in-house and freelance settings, specializing in the development of consumer goods. His work has earned several patents and numerous design and industry awards.

William's research lies at the intersection of social design, design methods, and community-engaged design. He is currently employing co-design to include LGBTQIA+ youth in an interdisciplinary research effort to develop training simulations for healthcare providers to improve their affirmative care practice (part of a $2.7 million grant funded by the Ohio Dept. of Medicaid). He also explores youth design-based making in out-of-school settings, drawing on conceptual frameworks from Positive Youth Development to understand how design and technology can empower youth to enact positive and lasting change; this includes a grant-funded project with Columbus City Schools, as well as engagement with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Ohio.

William is co-founding board member of Local Tech Heroes, a nonprofit engaging underserved communities in the central Ohio region through design. He serves on the departmental Diversity & Belonging, Studios for Art & Design Research, and Industrial Design Area committees, as well as the Arts & Sciences faculty senate. He serves as faculty advisor to the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Ohio State student chapter. He was elected to serve on IDSA's Education Council as the Central District's Representative for 2024.

Active Community and University Service and Leadership

  • Founding Board Member, Local Tech Heroes (501c3), Columbus, OH
  • Central District Representative, Education Council, Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
  • Faculty Advisor, Student Chapter, Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)

Currently Teaching

Spring 2024

  • Design 3451 | Design Media for Industrial Design II (aka "emerging media")

Autumn 2023

  • Design 4101 | Intermediate Industrial Design I (aka "Winter Market")
  • Design 5101 | Advanced Industrial Design I (aka Design Capstone)

Selected Publications

  • Proulx, S., & Nickley, W. (2023) Sparking creative prowess through a peculiar design challenge: a mocktail design charrette. In De Sainz Molestina, D., Galluzzo, L., Rizzo, F., & Spallazzo, D. (Eds.), IASDR 2023: Life-Changing Design, 9-13 October, Politecnico di Milano. https://doi.org/10.21606/iasdr.2023.781
  • Proulx, S. & Nickley, W. A. (2023). Sparking creative prowess through a peculiar design challenge: A mocktail design charrette [Poster]. IASDR 2023. Politecnico di Milano. https://www.iasdr2023.polimi.it/
  • Proulx, S., Gauthier, P., & Nickley, W. A. (2023). Differential moral framing. Changing perspectives to uncover opportunities [interactive workshop]. IASDR 2023. Politecnico di Milano. https://www.iasdr2023.polimi.it/
  • Proulx, S., Gauthier, P., & Nickley, W. (2023, October 4–5). Differential moral framing; Facilitating ideation and coordination of diverse perspectives on what is worth doing [Workshop]. 2023 Engagement Scholarship Consortium Conference, East Lansing, MI. https://engagementscholarship.org/meetings/esc-2023/
  • Nickley, W. (Ed.) (2023). 3D media for creatives: An Open-access living library. Ohio State Pressbooks.
  • Nickley, W., Snyder, C., McInroy, L. B., Sanders, E. B.-N., Scheadler, T. (2022, June 25–July 3). Affirmation excursion: Moving beyond surveys to make space for your stakeholders’ identities [Conference workshop]. DRS 2022, Universidad del País Vasco. Bilbao.
  • Nickley, W., McInroy, L. B., Sanders, E. B.-N., Snyder, C., Scheadler, T. (2022, June 20–22). Toward affirmative co-design: Accounting for intersectionality in LGBTQ+ youth identity & lived experience [Paper presentation]. 8th International Forum of Design as a Process: Disrupting Geographies in the Design World. Bologña.
  • Nickley, W. (2022, May 9). Tokens: An experimental making project to foster dialogue for racial justice [invited workshop]. Department of Design Faculty Retreat, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, United States.
  • Gumus Ciftci, H., Beecher, M.A., Proulx, S., & Nickley, W. (2022). If it’s broken, don’t just fix it: Exploring repair as design through a two-week design charrette. Cumulus Conference 2022. Design for Adaptation Proceedings. Detroit.
  • Nickley, W. (2021). Practices of making: Exploring design-based making within Positive Youth Development. In M. Botta, & S. Junginger (Eds.), Design as common good: Framing design through pluralism and social values (pp.1086–1106). SUPSI, HSLU, swissdesignnetwork.

Selected Exhibitions

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