404 Error Pages: 40+ Killer Ideas to Improve Your Brand

A few days ago, I was wandering around the Internet and ran across one of my favorite blogs from a great email marketing company called Emma. And, because I am who I am, I was looking around their site to see if I could find what platform it was built on. Typically I just use BuiltWith, but I was bored and curious. Long story short: I ran across the most fabulous 404 error page I have ever seen. Ever. See that 404 page here (screenshot below).

Emma Email Marketing 404 Error Page

So why is it great?

  1. It’s interactive. You can continue along their bizarre rabbit hole by tapping the spacebar to cycle through their sill videos.
  2. It’s a perfect example of micro branding. It utilizes a relatively empty piece of real estate and provides a beautiful piece of insight into their brand.
  3. It’s just fun. At the end of my time on their site, I probably spent more time playing around on the 404 page (including refreshing and trying to find more videos) that I did reading their blog. In fact, I would love to know the time-on-page data for this wonderful page.

Let’s look at some more awesome 404 error pages

After finding this page from Emma, I began a search to find other great examples of this branding tactic where companies spend the time to create a unique experience on a page that is typically pretty lame. If I’ve missed any of your favorites, then be sure to leave a comment below and let me know!

MailChimp

MailChimp 404 Error Page

Gotta love a great Star Wars reference. Not only did they make a Yoda-colored MailChimp mascot, but they really went for it with the smoke machine and the awesome set. Kudos MailChimp.


Drift

Drift 404 Error Page

I make no excuses for being a Drift fanboy. So, when I checked out the 404 page from Drift, I was very happy. They didn’t disappoint. Kudos Drift.


Amazon

Amazon.com 404 Error Page

Okay, pet lovers. This one’s for you! When you hit an error page, you get to randomly meet one new member of the “Dogs of Amazon.” Then, when you click on the link, you get to see them all. Pretty cool, Amazon.


Lyft

Lyft 404 Error Page

This one is simple, but fun. When the page loads, you really get the feeling that you’ve taken a wrong turn: creepy blinking Lyft mustache, letters falling off a sign, etc. Fun page.


Airbnb

Airbnb 404 Error Page

This one reinforces the simple idea of “oops.” It doesn’t greatly reinforce the Airbnb brand, but it’s fun and unexpected.


Slack

Slack 404 Error Page

Slack’s 404 error page is a fun, slightly interactive experience. It’s got a nice left-to-right scroll. Enjoy.


Spotify

Spotify 404 Error Page

I just love this page. I love music. I love vinyl. I love creative micro branding. Boom – win.


Unsplash

Unsplash 404 Error Page

Arguably one of the best free stock photo sites around, Unsplash doesn’t disappoint with this page. Their 404 error page cycles though a great collection of videos featuring frustrated people having bad days.


Disney

Disney 404 Error Page

What can I say? A surprised Mickey Mouse is just what I expected and they delivered. A+


Asana

Asana 404 error page

This is a cute little graphic that plays on their logo. Playful design and subtle reinforcement of the asana logo.


Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons 404 Error Page

I mean, what’s not to love about donuts? And what’s not to love about donut puns? Am I right?


Lego

Lego 404 Error Page

Gotta love the Lego mayhem that surrounds their world when the plug is pulled. This 404 error page is the perfect example of the new direction that the Lego brand has taken in recent years.


Android

Android 404 error page

I had a feeling that Android would have a great 404 page and they didn’t disappoint. This page has a fun game, so enjoy looking for moved or missing pages over at android.com.


Kayak

Kayak.com 404 error page

I was expecting something similar to what I found on this 404 error page and I wasn’t disappointed. Thumbs up. Simple, but effective and right on point with the Kayak brand.

Fandango

Fandango 404 error page

As I mentioned previously, I love a good Star Wars reference. This one, in particular, gave me a good laugh.


Tile

Tile App 404 error page

This page is so simple and straightforward, but the tagline is so amazingly perfect. As a Tile user myself, I got a good laugh out of this page. Very clever!


Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters 404 Error Page

This 404 error page has a fun little GIF portraying an empty wasteland with tumbleweeds.


The Useless Web Index

The Useless Web Index 404 error page

This site is already ridiculous, so it only stands to reason that their 404 error page is filled with meerkats who appear to be searching for something – your requested page perhaps?


Melissa & Doug

Melissa Doug 404 error page

This brand is all about creativity, fun, and imagination. This 404 error page has all that. And, my son loves their puzzles.


Bitly

Bitly 404 error page

So sad. So silly. This page seems pretty simple at first, but just move your cursor across the waterline and see what happens.


Starbucks

Starbucks 404 error page

This page does exactly what you need it to do – provide links to useful content. BUT, the coffee stain is the perfect little touch.


GitHub

GitHub 404 error page

I’m noticing a trend here. Star Wars + 404 error page = success. I’ve found the secret to Internet success folks!


Moz

Moz 404 error page

This is a PERFECT example of micro branding. Moz’s icon is Roger, the little robot. This 404 page is fun, useful, and reinforces the Moz brand.


STG

STG 404 error page

I found this Dutch company on Dribbble a while back. I love their 404 page. It’s just great.


Sock Fancy

Sock Fancy 404 error page

Not only do I love this brand, but I love their product. They’re clever. They’re witty. They have a very clear brand voice.


GameSpot

gamespot 404 error page

Gotta love a totally interactive 404 Error Page. Special thanks to Aaron Simmonds for finding this gem!


Hootsuite

Hootsuite 404 error page

They just went for it here on this page. Fun, quirky copy. Branding of the mascot/logo/icon.


Domo

Domo 404 error page

I just like this page. It’s a minimalist design and fits very well with their brand.


 

 

 


Honorable Mentions

Publix – Clever copy from one of my favorite grocery chains with a very well-developed brand.

Skype – Funny copy.

Litmus – Cute graphic.

Minecraft – Clever use of the game characters.

American Eagle – I mean, it has a dog.

Squarespace – Lovely design. The photo does all the work, but I like the aesthetics.

Harry’s – Simple. Effective.

SEMRush – Sad browser is sad.

HubSpot – It’s cheesy, but it works.

Dribbble – Plays off the basketball branding.

CoSchedule – Dogs on vacation. lol

Email on Acid – With a mention of gnomes AND shenanigans, this had to make the list.

Etsy – I was expecting a creative page and they didn’t disappoint. I like the illustration.

Jenn McGroary – Fun 404 page from a fellow web designer

 


“I Expected Better” Awards

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum from the brands above, we have a few companies I wanted to mention because of how badly they handled their 404 error pages. In fact, I was incredibly surprised by these brands.

Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola 404 error page

I was so incredibly surprised by this one. I mean… come on Coca-Cola. I was expecting something akin to their Happiness Factory commercial.


Adobe

Adobe 404 Error Page

Seriously? Adobe is LITERALLY the backbone of the creative world and their 404 error page is so lame. This needs to be fixed – pronto.


Verizon

The page just says, 404 File Not Found. Seriously?!

Warby Parker

This page doesn’t do anything wrong, but I am just disappointed. From the brand that brought us an amazing website experience to shop for glasses and email marketing campaigns that just rock, I truly expected more.

Optimizely

As much as it pains me to add Optimizely here, they really missed the mark here. And this if from the company so obsessed with personalization that it updated the homepage when I last visited at 12:10 am and said, “Still awake?” I was really expecting great things before I started this blog. Bummer.

Wrapping Up

If I missed a 404 error page from a brand you like, then be sure to let me know in the comments. I hope these great examples spark the creativity within your own brand and allow you to make a difference in your own marketing on a micro-level.

Now go forth and be productive.

  • frydmancom

    Great post – enjoyed looking at some fun ideas. Reminds me to add them as a page template in each site instead of leaving the default WP 404 which is just ugly.

  • jason

    Ahhhh, good point. Think I’ll be doing the same. I am landing on the idea of a short video clip. Those take it to the next level and wouldn’t take a ton of work. But, in the long run, it makes a huge impact. Cheers.

  • Jason Marlowe

    Ahhhh, good point. Think I’ll be doing the same. I am landing on the idea of a short video clip. Those take it to the next level and wouldn’t take a ton of work. But, in the long run, it makes a huge impact. Cheers.

  • Jason

    Hey Jason, try a couple of Canadian ones Telus and Tim Hortons are cool http://www.telus.com/jasonmarlowe/ and http://timhortons.com/ca/en/inex.php , Canadian Tire, not so much 🙁 http://www.canadiantire.ca/exn.html

  • Jason Marlowe

    Thanks for the share, Jason. And great name btw. Haha

    Definitely adding Tim Hortons to the list. I live in Atlanta, but we usually end up at a Tim Hortons when we are visiting family in Buffalo. Cheers.

  • Thank you for adding us to your list of 404 error pages 😊

  • Jason Marlowe

    No, thank you for the meerkats. Haha. Do you have any connection to Shutterstock? They have a similar 404 error page.

  • No. But we got the video for our 404 page from shutterstock.
    Can you post the 404 page from shutterstock plz! Thx 🙂

  • Jason Marlowe

    It’s technically not their 404 page – that is pretty generic. I believe it’s when they have server issues that the meerkats pop up like they’re looking for the problem.

  • Haha … great idea 😂

  • Aaron Simmonds

    Gamespot has a great 404. love a bit of retro gaming https://www.gamespot.com/articles/temp-news-slug/1100-404/

  • Jason Marlowe

    Well, now I DEFINITELY have to add this one to the list. Thanks @aaronsimmonds:disqus!!!