Wilhelm Oehl was born in Speyer, in the Rhinland Palatine region of Germany. Early in his career, he completed a three-year apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker at Emanuel Hook, Furniture Design, and received a Diploma in Furniture Construction from the Handwerkskammer Mannheim in 1992. He was responsible for the development and production management of the "Trapezium'" series of chairs and marketing at the trade fairs in Cologne, Frankfurt, and Milan. In 1990, Oehl was part of the design and manufacturing team of the 125th Anniversary Exhibition for BASF, the chemical conglomerate, in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
Oehl attended the Art Center (Europe) in La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland, in 1992 and 1993 before transferring to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and graduating in Industrial Design with honors in 1994. In 1995, Oehl joined Eight Inc. in San Francisco and became a partner in 1998. At Eight Inc., Oehl is involved in a wide range of product, retail, interior, and exhibition design projects, many of which have received international design awards and have been published in Asia, Europe, and the United States. Eight Inc. designs for some of the most successful and best loved brands in the world including Apple, Nokia, Citibank, and Virgin Atlantic Airways. Oehl taught industrial design at the San Francisco Academy of Art College and speaks on the subject at international design forums. In addition, Oehl actively supports the arts and is on the committee for Digital Art at the San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art.