Background: Assessing and communicating software engineering research can be challenging. Design science is recognized as an appropriate research paradigm for applied research but is seldom referred to in software engineering. Applying the design science lens to software engineering research may improve the assessment and communication of research contributions. Aim: The aim of this study is 1) to understand whether the design science lens helps summarize and assess software engineering research contributions, and 2) to characterize different types of design science contributions in the software engineering literature. Method: In previous research, we developed a visual abstract template, summarizing the core constructs of the design science paradigm. In this study, we use this template in a review of a set of 38 top software engineering publications to extract and analyze their design science contributions. Results: We identified five clusters of papers, classifying them according to their alignment with the design science paradigm. Conclusions: The design science lens helps emphasize the theoretical contribution of research output---in terms of technological rules---and reflect on the practical relevance, novelty, and rigor of the rules proposed by the research.