Luminogenic materials with aggregation-induced emission (AIE) attributes have attracted much interest since the debut of the AIE concept in 2001. In this critical review, recent progress in the area of AIE research is summarized. Typical examples of AIE systems are discussed, from which their structure–property relationships are derived. Through mechanistic decipherment of the photophysical processes, structural design strategies for generating new AIE luminogens are developed. Technological, especially optoelectronic and biological, applications of the AIE systems are exemplified to illustrate how the novel AIE effect can be utilized for high-tech innovations (183 references).