A novel test method for the characterisation of flexible forming processes is proposed and applied to four flexible forming processes: Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF), conventional spinning, the English wheel and power hammer. The proposed method is developed in analogy with time-domain control engineering, where a system is characterised by its impulse response. The spatial impulse response is used to characterise the change in workpiece deformation created by a process, but has also been applied with a strain spectrogram, as a novel way to characterise a process and the physical effect it has on the workpiece. Physical and numerical trials to study the effects of process and material parameters on spatial impulse response lead to three main conclusions. Incremental sheet forming is particularly sensitive to process parameters. The English wheel and power hammer are strongly similar and largely insensitive to both process and material parameters. Spinning develops in two stages and is sensitive to most process parameters, but insensitive to prior deformation. Finally, the proposed method could be applied to modelling, classification of existing and novel processes, product-process matching and closed-loop control of flexible forming processes.