In Brief: RIP Michael Cronan, State Mottos Redesigned, Hot Knights, Portlandia Returns

(Courtesy ECM Records)

• The art of the album cover lives on at Munich-based ECM Records.

• Time for a new calendar. You can’t go wrong with this giant bubble-wrap version.

• San Francisco-based graphic designer Michael Cronan has died at the age of 61.

The New York Observer rings in the new year with a list of “eerily prescient, stupefyingly accurate predictions for 2013,” such as “Christian Marclay‘s The Clock is released as a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt as the minute hand” and “Just as you feared: Instagram makes millions off your sepia-toned photo of a dog crossing his paws.” (But did they see the new editor coming?) Treat yourself to 130 more Observations of the future here.

• Shuffle up and deal with Ryan MyersCMYK Helveticards, yours for $10.

• “Mountaineers are always free” (keep telling yourself that, West Virginia!) and 49 other state mottos get graphical updates in “50 and 50,” an exhibition now on view at New York’s Ace Hotel. Maayan Pearl got New Jersey!

• Illustrator Quentin Blake and industrial designer Kenneth Grange have been knighted. Also among the 1,223 people named in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for 2013 are artist Tracey Emin (awarded a CBE), Tate deputy director Alexander Charles Beard (CBE), and fashion designer Stella McCartney (OBE).

• Spoiler alert–Portlandia is back!