Gene delivery vectors based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) are highly promising due to several desirable features of this parent virus, including a lack of pathogenicity, efficient infection of dividing and non-dividing cells, and sustained maintenance of the viral genome. However, several problems should be addressed to enhance the utility of AAV vectors, particularly those based on AAV2, the best characterized AAV serotype. First, altering viral tropism would be advantageous for broadening its utility in various tissue or cell types. In response to this need, vector pseudotyping, mosaic capsids, and targeting ligand insertion into the capsid have shown promise for altering AAV specificity. In addition, library selection and directed evolution have recently emerged as promising approaches to modulate AAV tropism despite limited knowledge of viral structure-function relationships. Second, pre-existing immunity to AAV must be addressed for successful clinical application of AAV vectors. Shielding polymers, site-directed mutagenesis, and alternative AAV serotypes have shown success in avoiding immune neutralization. Furthermore, directed evolution of the AAV capsid is a high throughput approach that has yielded vectors with substantial resistance to neutralizing antibodies. Molecular engineering and directed evolution of AAV vectors therefore offer promise for generating designer gene delivery vectors with enhanced properties.