A protein complex composed of MYB and bHLH transcription factors associated with a WD40 repeat protein initiates multiple cellular differentiation pathways in a range of plants. Recent reports have provided the first coherent models of the network of interactions that lead to diverse cell fates through the activity of this protein complex. The resulting flexibility in plant morphology is likely to have played a major role in angiosperm evolution and success. The complex appears to have arisen in the land plant lineage, although its component parts are considerably more ancient. Here, we review the evolutionary history of the MYB-bHLH-WD40 protein complex and its role in generating plant epidermal cellular diversity.