Derived brackets as introduced and studied by Kosmann-Schwarzbach and Voronov are a powerful tool for describing and understanding infinitesimal symmetry actions relevant in physics. Roytenberg and Weinstein showed that this continues to hold for the categorified symmetries arising in Hitchin's generalized geometry. After reviewing some well-established examples, we prove that derived brackets also underlie the symmetries of Double Field Theory and heterotic Double Field Theory. This leads to a common framework for large classes of symmetries, which suggests that derived bracket constructions can function as a guiding principle in the description of infinitesimal actions of symmetries in physics. As a new result, we present sufficient conditions on a bracket to give rise to a Lie 2-algebra of symmetries via antisymmetrized derived brackets.