The DSO badge is a gold cross patée with a surface of white enamel, edged with gold. The centre consists of a laurel wreath, green enamelled, enclosing a gold Imperial crown. The Royal monogram is placed on the under-surface. The badge is suspended by a red ribbon having a blue edge, which is bordered on top and bottom by a gold bar, ornamented with laurel leaves.
The DSO ranks immediately after the Order of the Companion of Honour, and Companions of the DSO take precedence after Commanders of the British Empire (CBE).