Philip Westfall, August 17, 2022
Creative 404 pages are all rave these days.
Seems like web designers are constantly trying to one-up each other by making better and better versions of what used to be a generic error message.
A simple search on Google, Pinterest or Dribbble will bring up thousands of examples to help get your creative juices flowing.
...But wait, beautiful aesthetics are only half the battle!
The one thing that really sets a 404 page apart from the rest is the way it ties into your brand, products, services, and direct calls-to-action that re-engage your visitors so they continue exploring your site.
The following brands did a great job of producing custom 404 pages that check all the boxes.
Marvel puts their superheroes front and centre on their 404 page. They did a great job at tying the error message back to a specific character. Added bonus, the page has subtle animations, and can be refreshed to view other characters. Genius.
So simple, yet so smart. 20th Century Fox leverages scenes from their movies to poke fun at the dreaded 404 page, as they do with this scene from ‘Young Frankenstein’.
Why not showcase your product in action? Specialized uses one of their riders to explain their 404 page. Everybody makes mistakes, why not showcase one on your custom page?
The popular video game producer, Blizzard, designed a 404 page for visitors lost in a blizzard! You're greeted by a friendly murloc to help bring you back home. Cute!
Mailchimp's 404 is a great example of simple design and great copy. You don't need much to make a statement!
Netflix has a simple 404 design with a clever nod to the hit TV show 'Lost in Space'. We expect nothing less from the most popular streaming service on the web!
An interactive 404 page is a great way to engage visitor's with your product and generate new leads! My Codeless Website's 404 page greets it's visitors with a friendly message from Ralph, and includes their search to find out what tools were used to build a specific website. Pretty cool!
The animated film giant has one of the most on-brand 404 pages online today. Sadness from their hit movie ‘Inside Out’ is used to explain the error message using concepts straight from the movie. Also, props for a beautiful design with lots of white-space!
Yes, even website builders need a 404 page! The Pagecloud 404 page aligns brand, product, and context together as one. You're on a broken page, why not create one instead?
You can’t help but feel bad for airbnb’s animated girl who drops her ice cream in this 404 page. You don’t want to leave right away, that wouldn’t be nice! Instead why not click on a help link instead?
9GAG is known for funny videos, images, and gifs. They use a clear call-to-action to download the app to find what you're looking for.
The popular freelance illustrator, whose creations have been used by giants like McDonald's, adds one of his friendly burgers holding a sorry flag to his clever 404 page. Bonus? The subtle call-to-action, sending visitors to check out his other illustration work.
IMDb is one of the largest sources of movies, TV and celebrities. Their 404 page pulls several quotes from popular movies that have been altered to fit the context. Hit refresh and you’ll see a new quote with a strategic link to more information about the film.
Orange Coat’s 404 page has a clever flowchart to guide the “Happy Internet Traveler” to the information they were looking for. All you need to do is answer their YES/NO questions and you’ll be on your way. Bonus: their URL even ends with /dear-happy-internet-traveler - much friendlier than /error, right?
LEGO’s 404 page is another example that shows how your page can be: attractive, efficient and on brand without having to be overcomplicated. A picture, a line of text and a button to send users home. That’s it that’s all - and it still makes you smile every time you see it.
If you’re feeling inspired, why not learn how to create your own 404 page today? It’s easier than you think!