Failure analysis of laminated composite plates for different mechanical, thermo mechanical and hygro-thermo mechanical loads for different ply thicknesses, stacking sequences, fiber orientation angles and composite material systems is presented in the paper. A comparative study of different failure theories is also presented in the paper. The effect of fiber orientation angles on the first ply failure load is also studied. A hybrid composite laminate is developed based on the first ply failure load which minimizes weight and cost. The last ply failure load based on fully discounted method is calculated for different stacking sequences. An optimum composite material system and laminate layup is studied for a targeted strength ratio which minimizes weight.