His elegant line and imaginative conceptions brought him many offers from the commercial world. Textile manufacturers and advertising agencies wanted his by-now famous style to sell their products. Although he disliked commercial work, it paid well, and in the 1940s and beyond Steinberg was contributing to the support of his parents and his sister’s family, first in Bucharest and then in France. His practice was to demand high fees for such work, the remuneration tempering his aversion. Thus he designed textiles for Patterson Fabrics, New York, also printed as wallpaper for the company’s affiliate, Piazza Prints; at least one other design was produced by Greeff Fabrics.
Commissions from advertising agencies arrived as early as 1943, when Steinberg had been in the US for barely a year. Many of the ads were published in The New Yorker, as well as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Fortune, Time, and other mass-market journals. Sometimes he added collage elements, rubber stamps, or reused or adapted earlier ink drawings;17 elsewhere, he created a new line drawing for an ad that often combined the line work with a photograph of the client’s product—alone or integrated into a Steinbergian conceit.