Before tackling the technical issues of a 404 error page on your website, try to think of an imaginative idea that can turn a WWW mistake into an artistic, cleaver, interesting and entertaining 404 error page consistent with your art work, media, signature style or brand identity.
My 404 page uses a custom made OOPS! Flower Pin (shown above). My OOPS! Flower Pin was preceded by an earlier idea, the Goof Off Flower (left).
The images for your 404 page can be anything you want it to be, but for artists and makers, the images can and should be consistent with the style of your website and your art or craft. Seems to me it is a bonus for your website if the viewer experiences something special, even in the midst of a technical error. Finding original content is a sure winner on the web. And the content for this 404 page isn't a permanent commitment. You can change your images anytime you want.
Below are a couple of presentations found on the Internet with lots of great 404 page ideas. Following that are more 404 examples from art museums that successfully use the artwork in their collections to present memorable 404 error pages.
The presentation below has even more 404 pages (but most of them are boring and represent a functional corporate solution). Don't let your 404 page look average. Quickly Scroll through the whole presentation as the Lego 404 page (about three quarters of the way through) is fabulous...so keep looking.
As a creative artist and maker, your 404 Page can also reflect your creativity.
The Randolph Rogers "The Lost Pleiad" statue is perfect for a 404 error page. It is just wonderful how this marble statue from 1874 is given an unanticipated new context in the 21st century.
The MIA 404 error page also included a Google search box so that the viewer can refine their search without leaving the site, however it would have been better to squeeze all of these features including the statue credits above the fold (perhaps left or right justifying the image). Then the text and search box would fit on the other side.
While this is a cute picture and captures the motif for a 404 error page, it is a 404 fiasco, a huge website blunder. Why? Because this has no specific identity for the museum and worse, no navigation back to the website. It leaves the viewer stranded with nowhere to go. This is a big mistake.
Your 404 page should always:
OOPS 404 Error Series and Related Posts: