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).
So why is it great?
- It’s interactive. You can continue along their bizarre rabbit hole by tapping the spacebar to cycle through their sill videos.
- 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.
- 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
This one reinforces the simple idea of “oops.” It doesn’t greatly reinforce the Airbnb brand, but it’s fun and unexpected.
Slack’s 404 error page is a fun, slightly interactive experience. It’s got a nice left-to-right scroll. Enjoy.
I just love this page. I love music. I love vinyl. I love creative micro branding. Boom – win.
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.
What can I say? A surprised Mickey Mouse is just what I expected and they delivered. A+
This is a cute little graphic that plays on their logo. Playful design and subtle reinforcement of the asana logo.
I mean, what’s not to love about donuts? And what’s not to love about donut puns? Am I right?
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.
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.
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.
As I mentioned previously, I love a good Star Wars reference. This one, in particular, gave me a good laugh.
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!
This 404 error page has a fun little GIF portraying an empty wasteland with tumbleweeds.
The Useless Web Index
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
This brand is all about creativity, fun, and imagination. This 404 error page has all that. And, my son loves their puzzles.
So sad. So silly. This page seems pretty simple at first, but just move your cursor across the waterline and see what happens.
This page does exactly what you need it to do – provide links to useful content. BUT, the coffee stain is the perfect little touch.
I’m noticing a trend here. Star Wars + 404 error page = success. I’ve found the secret to Internet success folks!
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.
I found this Dutch company on Dribbble a while back. I love their 404 page. It’s just great.
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.
Gotta love a totally interactive 404 Error Page. Special thanks to Aaron Simmonds for finding this gem!
They just went for it here on this page. Fun, quirky copy. Branding of the mascot/logo/icon.
I just like this page. It’s a minimalist design and fits very well with their brand.
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.
I was so incredibly surprised by this one. I mean… come on Coca-Cola. I was expecting something akin to their Happiness Factory commercial.
Seriously? Adobe is LITERALLY the backbone of the creative world and their 404 error page is so lame. This needs to be fixed – pronto.
The page just says, 404 File Not Found. Seriously?!
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.
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.
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.