The synthesis of well-defined macromolecular structures with controlled properties is critical for the production of advanced materials for biological and industrial applications. Inspired by nature's ability to create proteins with exquisite control, we focus on the applications of elastin and elastin-derived polymers for materials design. The elucidation of elastin biochemical, conformational and physical properties offers insight into the fabrication of novel biomaterials. As part of this review, we highlight some of the recent advances that permit the generation of customized elastin-based polymers. These developments provide an added level of control vital to the future construction of tailor-made supramolecular structures with emergent physical, mechanical and biological properties.