An interactive computer-aided design technique has been developed which embodies design rules established from previous experience and experimental studies for the rapid design of powder preforms. Geometrical details of the part are first input along with a schematic sub-division into regions. Trial preform shapes are then input for each region and these are evaluated, using the preform design rules, for metal flow consistency, fracture and densification. Upon successful design, the overall preform is assembled and displayed on a graphics terminal or in the form of digital information for preform die fabrication. Application of this procedure is demonstrated through an actual component.