A novel hybrid method is proposed in the paper, which is an assistant tool for product designers to estimate springback in sheet metal forming process at the preliminary design stage. In the hybrid method, the forming results are obtained firstly by an inverse finite element approach (IA) with a membrance element. The thickness strain and stress can be calculated according to the approximate curvature radius of the discrete meshes. Then, a rotation-free shell element is employed, with only three displacements at the corner nodes of the element, to calculate the springback. To verify the accuracy and efficiency of the hybrid method, the numerical results of the hybrid method on two benchmark tests are compared with experimental results.