From multi-photon to single molecule, the past several decades have witnessed a revolution in fluorescent microscopy. These techniques have revealed the inner working of cells and tissue and have relied on symbiotic advances in advanced molecular probes, light emitting molecules and particles, and novel instrumentation. Following on these developments, researchers began to develop functional nanomaterials or materials that can response to their environment. One of the first such molecules reported electric fields, allowing neuron signaling to be observed. However, the optical signal generated by voltage reporters is often low, placing limitations on the measurements that can be performed. Thus, material scientists and chemists began to pursue the development of alternative systems. In parallel, the fields of organic solar cells and integrated photonics were actively pursuing the design of materials with similar active properties, thus forming a foundation for improved functional organic imaging agents. In this talk, I will discuss some of our recent work in developing functional imaging agents for multi-wavelength and multi-photon live-cell imaging, focusing on recent molecular designs performed using density functional theory as well as in vitro studies.