The relative contributions associated with the fracturing fluid dissipation and formation fracture toughness mediated energies play a pivotal role in the design and potential optimization of hydraulic fracture evolution in multi-layered reservoirs. A critique of the salient hydraulic fracture process controllable and uncontrollable parameters is presented. The roles of fracturing fluid rheology, flow rate, reservoir elastic properties, fracture toughness values, and in situ stress contrasts are highlighted by evaluating fracture propagation in isotropic models with pre-defined fracture geometries as well as a symmetric three—layered elliptic crack model. Model validation is conducted by comparison of selected numerical results from these simplified models with previously reported model responses. Application of the formulated concepts is illustrated in terms of hydraulic fracture configuration evolution.