We report a new lithographic procedure that enables the patterning of as-received semiconducting polymers and small molecules at the near micron level without causing discernible degradation of the patterned material. The method involves a minimum of processing steps, requires no modification of the active layer, and is compatible with both rigid and flexible substrates. The technique makes use of an intermediate resist layer between the substrate and the active layer, i.e. underneath the active layer, and involves the simultaneous patterning of the resist and active layers in a single expose/develop step. The technique has been successfully applied to the fabrication of flexible ITO-free light-emitting diodes and photodiodes, yielding peak quantum efficiencies of 8.8 cd A-1 and 57% respectively comparable to similar devices fabricated on ITO-coated glass. It is also readily extendible to the patterning on a single substrate of multiple devices incorporating different component materials, e.g. the red, green and blue pixels of a colour display. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.