Nature has been successful at producing sophisticated hierarchical architectures with precise control over both the placement and orientation of anisotropic reinforcements for enhanced properties. Such hierarchical biomaterials serve as models for what has yet to be achieved with controlled placement and alignment of reinforcing particles in synthetic composite systems. During common processing methods of synthetic polymer nanocomposites (PNCs), anisotropic or non-spherical particles (rods, tubes, and plates) tend to align in the direction of material flow. Therefore, in thin films, the external forces align these nanoparticles (NPs) parallel to substrate and free surface. Consequently, in-plane versus out-of-plane properties will differ. This talk will explore the concepts surrounding the creation of PNCs and more specifically discuss how we can develop a class of these materials that have better control over the orientation of non-spherical NPs.