Aim: This article reports on studies conducted in the same laboratory on interactions between patterned substrates with different pattern dimensions and chemistries, and various types of cells. Materials & methods: In order to compare the influence of various parameters, bone marrow stromal cells, retinal pigment epithelial cells, human corneal stromal cells (keratocytes), Saos-2 (human osteosarcoma cells), human microvascular endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells were tested on surfaces with different physical patterns and chemical properties. Results: It was observed that cell type and surface topography are more influential than surface chemistry in determining the alignment tendency of a cell on a substrate surface. Low walls (several microns high) could not confine cells into the microgrooves of the films but alignment was still possible if the cells had a natural alignment property. Conclusion: This information is very useful in designing tissue engineering scaffolds and in the long-term success of implants.