The process of work hardening in aluminum alloys is important from the viewpoint of formability and the prediction of the properties of highly deformed products. However the complexity of the strengthening mechanisms in these materials means that one must carefully consider the interaction of dislocations with the detailed elements of the microstructure and the related influence of the elements on dislocation accumulation and dynamic recovery. In addition, it is necessary to consider the influence of the work hardening process at various levels of plastic strain. This permits the possibility of designing microstructure for tailored plastic response, e.g. not simply designed for yield strength but also considering uniform elongation, spring-back, ductility etc. This presentation will explore the concept of identifying the various interactions which govern the evolution of the work hardening and their possible role in alloy design.