The rapid recognition of intravenously injected colloidal carriers, such as liposomes and polymeric nanospheres from the blood by Kupffer cells, has initiated a surge of development for "Kupffer cell-evading" or long-circulating particles. Such carriers have applications in vascular drug delivery and release, site-specific targeting (passive as well as active targeting), as well as transfusion medicine. In this article we have critically reviewed and assessed the rational approaches in the design as well as the biological performance of such constructs. For engineering and design of long-circulating carriers, we have taken a lead from nature. Here, we have explored the surface mechanisms, which affords red blood cells long-circulatory lives and the ability of specific microorganisms to evade macrophage recognition. Our analysis is then centered where such strategies have been translated and fabricated to design a wide range of particulate carriers (e.g., nanospheres, liposomes, micelles, oil-in-water emulsions) with prolonged circulation and/or target specificity. With regard to the targeting issues, attention is particularly focused on the importance of physiological barriers and disease states.