Reinforced concrete deep beams have useful applications in tall buildings and foundations. Over the past two decades, numerous design models for deep beams were suggested. However even the latest design manuals still offer little insight into the design of deep beams in particular when complexities exist in the beams like web openings. A method commonly suggested for the design of deep beams with openings is the strut-and-tie model which is primarily used to represent the actual load transfer mechanism in a structural concrete member under ultimate load. In the present study, the development of the strut-and-tie model is transformed to the topology optimization problem of continuum structures. During the optimization process, both the stress and displacement constraints are satisfied and the performance of progressive topologies is evaluated. The influences on the strut-and-tie model in relation to different size, location and number of openings, as well as different loading and support conditions in deep beams are examined in some detail. In all, eleven deep beams with web openings are optimized and compared in nine groups. The optimal strut-and-tie models achieved are also compared with published experimental crack patterns. Numerical results have shown to confirm the experimental observations and to efficiently represent the load transfer mechanism in concrete deep beams with openings under ultimate load.