The effect of crystallographic orientation on the microstructural evolution in f.c.c. metals with medium to high stacking fault energy is analyzed. This analysis is based on a literature review of the behaviour of single crystals and polycrystals supplemented with an experimental study of cold-rolled pure aluminium. It is generally observed that all crystallites subdivide during deformation into cell blocks and cells bounded by rotation dislocation boundaries. In general the boundaries have a macroscopic orientation with respect to the geometry of the specimen. A crystallographic analysis shows that dependent on the crystallographic orientation of the crystal the subdividing boundaries may be nearly parallel to slip planes or they may have a non-crystallographic orientation. This difference is discussed on the basis of an analysis of potential slip planes identified by a Schmid factor analysis.