Kinetic control over the assembly pathways towards novel metastable functional materials or far-from-equilibrium systems has been much less studied compared to the thermodynamic equilibrium self-assembly. Herein, we report the distinct morphological transformation between nanocoils and nanoribbons in the self-assembly of unsymmetric perylene diimide (PDI) molecules. We demonstrate that the morphological transformation of the kinetically trapped assemblies into the thermodynamically stable forms proceeds via two distinct mechanisms, i.e., a direct structural rearrangement (molecule 1 or 2) and a fragmentation-recombination mechanism (molecule 4), respectively. The subtle interplay of the steric hindrance of the bulky substituents and the flexibility of the linker structure between the bulky moiety and the perylene core was demonstrated to enable the effective modulation of the energetic landscape of the assemblies and thus modulation of the assembly pathways. Herein, our work presents a new approach to control the self-assembly pathways and thereby can be used to achieve novel far-from-equilibrium systems.