Apple didn’t always get the importance of design. Years before the first iPod, Jony Ive’s budding design team couldn’t get the budget to realize its vision. Exploring how the company went from commodity hardware to having the most iconic designs in the industry, Fast Company is offering up a six-part oral history of Apple’s rise from the people who were actually there. The series wraps up next week, but the first three installments cover OS X's "lickable" Quartz graphics, the conception of the Apple Store, and Steve Jobs' bizarre request that all the company's error messages be haikus.

Speaking about the early days before Jobs’ return in 1996, senior industrial designer Thomas Meyerhoffer says, "We wanted to put design forward as a competitive tool for Apple, but nobody really understood what design could do. There was a great urge from us in the design group to say: Apple is different, Apple has always been different."