Today Jean Klündt passed on a great article link from the AIGA (the American Institute of Graphic Artists) website. The article is titled, "The True Partnership: How to Get Great Design Solutions".
The article explains the three types of client/designer relationships:
In very clear language, the author also explains how from a client's standpoint, the ONLY way to get great concepts and design from the design firm is to engage them as a Partner.
I encourage every designer, design student or corporate client to read this article and take its recommendations to heart. I think even art directors can learn how to more effectively work with their designers by following the guidelines in this article.