Nicholas Paredes is an experience designer, strategist, educator, and entrepreneur. He creates high-performing teams that deliver innovative experiences to market using design thinking, lean-agile, and business design methodologies. Nicholas joined IIT Institute of Design (ID) as an Adjunct Faculty member in 2020, where he was tasked with creating and teaching an introductory class to support new masters students as they begin their design journeys. The result is Introduction to Design Practice, where students identify topics of interest in design and project the future of design using Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, and Political (STEEP) factors. The class combines design history with futures studies and prepares students to create strategies, develop design themes, and articulate engaging stories.

Nicholas has a master of design degree from Northwestern University and attended the Basel School of Design. He served as a Visiting Professor with the Centro de Estudios Superiores de Diseño de Monterrey (CEDIM) Innovation Programs (2017–2020) and as a lecturer at the University of Chicago (2017–2018).

Industry Experience

Nicholas has been Principal Designer at Nicholas Paredes Design for more than thirty years, his award-winning work extending across multiple disciplines and business sectors. He is currently Principal Experience Strategist/Team Lead at American Family Insurance (AFI), where he focuses on strategic initiatives (2020–present). His roles at AFI include guiding a new customer-focused design organization within Marketing, leading the Design Experience team. Nicholas also is managing director at BLDG 20, a design incubator that creates innovative products, services, and business opportunities (2019–present).

Nicholas grew his first design office, Simple Interface, from freelance work to over a dozen designers working on multi-year projects primarily for education clients (1995–2005). Eventually he refocused on the developing mobile device market, founding Modoku and quickly becoming a leader in designing and building mobile apps (2009–2012). Along the way, he served as a consultant with Grainger (2011–14) and Walgreens (2010–11). His accomplishments include the launch of Walgreens’ first Webby Award-winning mobile apps and the establishment of design teams to support projects for AFI, BMW, Esurance, and others. He also served as a mentor for Design for America (2016–2020). His presentations include “Connected Experiences” at the IDSA Midwest Design Conference (2016), and he has hosted the Connected Experiences Meetup in Chicago.