A combination of NMR spectroscopy and theoretical methods Density functional theory including dispersion corrections (DFT-D) was used to study the structures of Lumogen and salicylaldazine. In the solid state, Lumogen exists as the dihydroxy tautomer 1a (an azine, CN–NC) as was already known from an X-ray determination. In a deuterated dimethyl sulfoxide solution, another tautomer is observed besides 1a; its structure corresponds to the hydroxy-oxo tautomer 1b (a hydrazone, CN–NH–Csp2). In what concerns salicylaldazine, we have observed only the dihydroxy tautomer 2a. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.