Our developmental environment significantly affects myriad aspects of our biology, including key life history traits, morphology, physiology, and our susceptibility to disease. This environmentally-induced variation in phenotype is known as plasticity. In many cases, plasticity results from alterations in the rate of synthesis of important developmental hormones. However, while developmental processes like organ growth are sensitive to environmental conditions, others like patterning – the process that generates distinct cell identities – remain robust to perturbation. This is particularly surprising given that the same hormones that regulate organ growth also regulate organ patterning. In this review, we revisit the current approaches that address how organs coordinate their growth and pattern, and outline our hypotheses for understanding how organs achieve correct pattern across a range of sizes.