The field of organic photovoltaics has advanced a great deal over the last decade, with device efficiencies now exceeding 11%. A large part of this success can be attributed to the development of donor polymer materials, from their humble beginnings as homopolymers to the highly tuned push-pull copolymer and terpolymer materials that are now being reported on a regular basis. Through the careful use of chemical modification, it has been possible to design and synthesize a wide variety of donor polymers, allowing optimization of both the optoelectronic and structural properties of the materials. In doing so, more favourable active layer blends have been achieved and therefore significant improvements in device performance have been observed. Herein we discuss how the chemical design of donor polymers for organic photovoltaics has led to the emergence of high-performance materials.