Design and synthesis of efficient drug delivery systems are of vital importance for medicine and healthcare. Materials innovation and nanotechnology have synergistically fueled the advancement of drug delivery. Innovation in material chemistry allows the generation of biodegradable, biocompatible, environment-responsive, and targeted delivery systems. Nanotechnology enables control over size, shape and multi-functionality of particulate drug delivery systems. In this review, we focus on the materials innovation and processing of drug delivery systems and how these advances have shaped the past and may influence the future of drug delivery.