After training as a process engraver, Erich Schöls studied visual communication at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd.
As a member of Doublespace Inc. in New York City he was already concentrating on digital information design in 1990. From 1993–2000 he was partner and managing director of Wekemann+Schöls GmbH in Stuttgart, from which he subsequently founded artismedia GmbH.
After teaching at various design schools in Germany and abroad, he was appointed professor at the Faculty of Design in Würzburg in 2000, since when he has headed the area of interactive media. He was vice dean from 2001–12 and head of the master programme from 2014–19. He was appointed dean of the Faculty of Design in 2019.
In 2011 he co-founded the In-Institut IDIS (Institute of Design and Information Systems) with the Faculty of Computer Science and Business Information Systems, and has been its director since 2012.
Since 2004 Schöls has headed the Steinbeis Research Center Design and Systems, which he established to explore the application of interdisciplinary research and development in the area of digital information and communications media
Erich Schöls regularly lectures in Germany and abroad.