Recent developments on the optimization of passive damping for vibration reduction in sandwich structures are presented in this paper, showing the importance of appropriate finite element models associated with gradient based optimizers for computationally efficient damping maximization programs. A new finite element model for anisotropic laminated plate structures with viscoelastic core and laminated anisotropic face layers has been formulated, using a mixed layerwise approach. The complex modulus approach is used for the viscoelastic material behavior, and the dynamic problem is solved in the frequency domain. Constrained optimization is conducted for the maximization of modal loss factors, using gradient based optimization associated with the developed model, and single and multiobjective optimization based on genetic algorithms using an alternative ABAQUS finite element model. The model has been applied successfully and comparative optimal design applications in sandwich structures are presented and discussed.