Stomata are specialized epidermal structures that control the exchange of water and carbon dioxide between the plant and the atmosphere. The classical developmental mechanisms that define cell fate and tissue patterning - cell lineage, cell-cell interactions and signals from a distance - are employed to make stomata and to define their density and distribution within the epidermis. Recent work has shown that two genes that are involved in stomatal pattern may encode components of a classical cell-surface-receptor-mediated signaling cascade. Additional work has suggested that signals from the overlying cuticle and the underlying mesophyll also influence stomatal pattern. These findings highlight the need for models that explain how the signals that regulate stomatal development are integrated and how they act to regulate cell polarity, the cell cycle and, ultimately, cell fate.