William Nickley

William Nickley

William Nickley

Assistant Professor


125C Hayes Hall
108 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OHIO 43210

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Office Hours

Autumn 2023 - Wednesdays, 2:30p–4:30p, and By Appointment

Areas of Expertise

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


  • MFA Design Research & Development, The Ohio State University (2020)
  • BSD Industrial Design, The Ohio State University (2010)
  • DAAD Fellow, Folkwang Hochschule, Essen, Germany (2009-10)

William Nickley is 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 LGBTQ+ 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.

Are you a design practitioner or educator who would like to be involved in our industrial design program as a guest lecturer, critique-provider, panelist? Take our 5-minute biannual survey (Autumn 2023)!

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)

CV, condensed

Publications - Presentations, Proceedings, Papers, Lectures & Workshops


  • Nickley, W. (2023, March 23). Artificial intelligence & industrial design [invited presentation]. Priority Designs, Columbus, Ohio. 
  • Nickley, W. (Ed.) (2023). 3D media for creatives: An Open-access living library. Ohio State Pressbooks.
  • 2022
  • McInroy, L. B., Scheadler, T. R., & Beer, O. W. J. (2022, November 10–13). Co-designing a virtual reality training program for affirmative practice with LGBTQ+ youth [Poster presentation]. 68th Annual Program Meeting of The Council of Social Work Education, Anaheim, CA.
  • Nickley, W. (2022, November 10). Critical I/O: Hybridity’s heart is human [invited presentation and panel discussion]. Blurred Lines 3.0, Industrial Designers Society of America, Columbus, OH, United States.
  • Gumus-Ciftci, H., Proulx, S., Nickley, W., & Beecher, M. A. (submitted 2022, April 11). If it’s broken, don’t just fix it: Exploring repair as design through a two-week charrette [Paper presentation]. Design for Adaptation Cumulus. Detroit.
  • 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.


  • Gümüş Çiftçi, H., Nickley, W., Proulx, S. (2021). Rekindling student connection and engagement: A covid-era design charrette. In Cruickshank, L. and Valentine, L. (Eds.) Safe Harbours, Proceedings of the 2021 EAD Conference.
  • Nickley, W., Gümüş Çiftçi, H., & Proulx, S. (2021). No distance too far: Adapting education + industry collaboration for COVID and beyond. In Paepcke-Hjeltness, V. & Cyamani, A. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 2021 IDSA International Design Conference & Education Symposium.
  • 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.


  • Mobilizing the Design Process for Economically Marginalized Youth at a Boys and Girls Club to Impact Self-efficacy and Self-advocacy. Paper presentation session presented at the 14th International Conference on Design Principles and Practices 2020, Brooklyn, NY.

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