This tutorial review presents an overview of strategies for the synthesis and fabrication of organic nanomaterials, specifically those with potential for use in medical applications. Examples include liposomes, micelles, polymer-drug conjugates and dendrimers. Methods of driving shape via"bottom-up" synthetic approaches and thermodynamics and kinetics are discussed. Furthermore, methods of driving shape via"top-down" physical and engineering techniques are also explored. Finally, a novel method (referred to as PRINT) used to produce nanoparticles that are shape-specific, can contain any cargo, and can be easily modified is examined along with its potential future role in nanomedicine.