In a material hot forging process, rational preform design not only ensures that metal flows properly in die cavity and that final products have excellent quality, but also reduces tooling cost. In the present work, it is proved in theory that the differential equation of electric potential in the electrostatic field is similar to the differential equations of velocity potential function and velocity stream function in velocity field during the material forming process, with all three represented in the form of the Laplace equation. Moreover, the material flow in the plastic stage and the energy in electrostatic field all meet the least-energy principle. Therefore, according to the similarity criteria, an equi-potential line (EPL) method is proposed for the design of the preform shape in material hot forging. Different voltages are applied to the billet shape and the final product shape to generate a proper electrostatic field. One optimal equi-potential line is selected among the innumerable equi-potential lines as the basic shape of the preform shape and is processed into the preform shape following a three-step procedure. The preform design by the EPL method is compared with that by the traditional industrial method. The results show that the proposed method for preform design is feasible and reliable for practical applications.