Two major mechanisms are involved in the formation of blood vasculature: vasculogenesis and angiogenesis. The former term describes the formation of a capillary-like network from either a dispersed or a monolayered population of endothelial cells, reproducible also in vitro by specific experimental assays. The latter term describes the sprouting of new vessels from an existing capillary or post-capillary venule. Similar mechanisms are also involved in the formation of the lymphatic system through a process generally called lymphangiogenesis. A number of mathematical approaches have been used to analyze these phenomena. In this paper, we review the different types of models, with special emphasis on their ability to reproduce different biological systems and to predict measurable quantities which describe the overall processes. Finally, we highlight the advantages specific to each of the different modelling approaches. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.