19. Hakim El Hattab
A 404 page designed for net magazine by Hakin El Hattab, this HTML5 experiment features creepy eyes that follow your cursor around the page with occasional blinking and narrowing of the iris. It's brilliantly executed and nicely interactive.
20. Tin Sanity
Tin Sanity features an incredible animation of a dancing cup and straw that screams its way across the page around the text: "You just got 404'd". The screaming is accentuated with a drumroll and funky bass soundtrack, all of which leaves an excellent impression.
The free ringtone-making service's 404 page features a beautifully rendered illustration of London, including the obligatory red bus and telephone box, as well as Big Ben's Tower, Sherlock Holmes and a hint of Tower Bridge. The site's worth a visit just for the brilliant artwork.
22. Bret Victor
Bret Victor's 404 page, inspired of course by René Magritte's iconic painting, The Treachery of Images, confronts the viewer with some challenging philosophical questions. If this is not a page, then what is it? What constitutes a 'page'? Is it a thing that can be truly said to exist? What is the 'this' that this apparent non-page is referring to? Is anything truly real? Makes you think, no?
23. Home Star Runner
Audio can be very effective when used in a 404 capacity. This error page for Home Star Runner, which features amusing characters, downloads and games, shouts "404'd" at you when you first arrive on the page. The hand-drawn illustration fits the rest of the site well in terms of style and theme.
Duoh is the collaborative partnership between illustrator Veerle Pieters and partner Geert Leyseele. Their business is based on strong design principles, so you'd expect a well-realised 404 page – and they don't disappoint. In characteristic bright colours and negative space, this page looks and feels in keeping with the rest of the site.
Link shortening service Bit.ly needs a special URL for its 404 page as bit.ly.com/404 has already been used as a shortened link. The page itself features a cute little creature bobbing up and down in an interactive sea, and responds to your mouse movements.
This letting agent website's 404 page features a strange interior shot with a sheep sitting on the lavatory. Creative and wacky at the same time, it's a great (if abstract) example of how to do it well.
DropBox has a very simple but effective 404 page featuring an Escher-esque impossible box. You can take this at face value, or see it as signifying the inside-out nature of having navigated to a non-existent page. It's a nice, simple hand-drawn illustration that gets the message across well.
Form-building tool Wufoo's 404 page is a simple, static affair that uses the branding effectively to convey the message. It's a good example of a clean approach to handling errors.
29. Mike Kus
Leading designer and illustrator Mike Kus's 404 page uses the classic Space Invaders characters as a motif for his 404 page. He has previously adopted a similarly retro animated GIF as the background graphic.
The last thing you want to find when you're looking for love is that it can't be found, but eHarmony's 404 page softens the blow with this adorable image and a suggestion that you sign up for its dating service. Or maybe it's suggesting that you should just get plastered? That works for us, too.
31. Walk with You
This simple illustrative design for a site promoting life coaching uses existing assets from the overall site design, including a waterfall, to convey the 404 message. Bold typography makes this page work well.
One of the best examples of a newspaper metaphor, Dave Barton's personal site manages to inject a little humour into its error message.
Starbucks, like Heinz, makes good use of its primary product to illustrate the 404 message. In this instance, the tell-tales signs of a missing coffee cup are used to tell the story.
Video game developer Blizzard takes an original approach to its 404 page that fits in with its general style, using broken glass as a metaphor for the broken link. What makes this example stand out is the clean design aesthetic beneath the glass.
The US's National Public Radio website's 404 page presents an amusing wiki-style list of missing people or things, from Amelia Earhart to your luggage.
The superb tips, tutorials and advice blog CSS-Tricks is loved by all in the web design community because despite its dry subject matter, it manages to exude enthusiasm, humour and personality. And this cheeky 404 page is an excellent example of that.