The paper will present the methodology used to design optimized die coatings employed in material forming processes in an effort to extend the life and effect efficient operation of the dies. An optimized die coating 'architecture' requires that the coating system be essentially non-wetting with the material (metal, glass, polymer) being formed in the die, coupled with good wear and oxidation resistance Other factors, such as delaying the onset of thermal fatigue cracking (heat checking), and an acceptably low coefficient of friction. And, possibly, self-lubricating, also need to be considered based on the processing and forming conditions that include both liquid and solid materials. Many different die coatings have and are being used with different levels of success. This paper presents the current understanding that has been gained in laboratory testing, in-plant trials, and modeling in an effort to generate a fundamental understanding of how such optimized die coating systems may be designed for specific forming operations and conditions, with examples based on dies used in aluminum pressure die casting, glass molding, and metal forming operations.