Coding of biological information is not confined to nucleic acids and proteins. Endowed with the highest level of structural versatility among biomolecules, the glycan chains of cellular glycoconjugates are well-suited to generate molecular messages/signals in a minimum of space. The sequence and shape of oligosaccharides as well as spatial aspects of multivalent presentation are assumed to underlie the natural specificity/selectivity that cellular glycans have for endogenous lectins. In order to eventually unravel structure-activity profiles cyclic scaffolds have been used as platforms to produce glycoclusters and afford valuable tools. Using adhesion/growth-regulatory galectins and the pan-galectin ligand lactose as a model, emerging insights into the potential of cyclodextrins, cyclic peptides, calixarenes and glycophanes for this purpose are presented herein. The systematic testing of lectin panels with spatially defined ligand presentations can be considered as a biomimetic means to help clarify the mechanisms, which lead to the exquisite accuracy at which endogenous lectins select their physiological counterreceptors from the complexity of the cellular glycome.