The design and fabrication of conventional and unconventionally processed Ti-Nb base and Al5-compound-base, respectively, composite superconductors is discussed in a nine section review. The first two sections introduce the general properties of alloy and compound superconductors, and the design and processing requirements for the production of long lengths of stable low loss conductor. All aspects of flux jump stability, and the general requirements of cryogenic stabilization are addressed. Conductor design from an a.c.-loss standpoint; some basic formulae describing hysteretic and eddy current losses and the influences on a.c. loss of filament diameter, strand (conductor) diameter, twist pitch, and matrix resistivity are discussed. The basic techniques used in the fabrication of conventional multifilamentary conductors are described.